"Habits Reflect The Mission"

Al Messerschmidt

Coach Kelly's biggest new Chipism is "Habits Reflect the Mission," Jeff McLane tells us. But that doesn't answer the question, "what is the mission?"

Jeff McLane has a must-read article at the Inquirer today with several players talking about Coach Kelly's biggest new Chipism (since "Touchdown, first down, stay down"). Players are told over and over that "Habits reflect the mission."

This is solidly in line with Chip's other philosophies, which I detail in my book "The Tao of Chip Kelly." Kelly is a huge believer in action over words, and he mocks teams that have high-minded slogans that don't show up in games or practices.

In 2011, he said "If a coach tells me that respect is an important part of his program, I should see it in practice. If I go to practice and I see a player who takes a cheap shot at another player and no one corrects him, that program has no respect in it."

But this new mantra begs an obvious question: What mission? Exactly which mission are the Eagles' habits supposed to reflect?

At Oregon, Kelly's goal was simple, just four words: "Fast. Play Hard. Finish." And as Chip said, you could watch his team for five minutes and figure that out.

As far as I know, Chip has not publicly stated his vision for the Eagles. I queried their media office, but haven't heard back.

It seems clear that Coach Kelly is emphasizing size more in his NFL job than he did with the Ducks. Why? Because big guys beat up little guys (my favorite new Chipism) and because he can. The Ducks have never been able to compete with the likes of USC, Stanford and the SEC for NFL-type football bodies, and probably never will.

But the Eagles can. The NFL's draft, free agency and salary cap gives teams very effective parity. Chip has elevated his bigger existing players (6'6" Nick Foles, 6'3" Riley Cooper) and picked up even bigger new guys (6'8" Clifton Geathers, 6'5" Zach Ertz, 6'4" Connor Barwin).

Given that, my guess is that Kelly's mission for the Eagles is "Big. Fast. What are you going to do about it?" But maybe the mission is even simpler than that: just win the Super Bowl.

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