As the Eagles assistants met the media for the first time this week, the overall theme appeared to be one of resisting labels.
Yesterday we noted how defensive coordinator Billy Davis refused to label the D a 3-4 or 4-3 preferring instead to call it a "multiple" defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was much the same thing. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said that whatever you want to call the offense, they're really not teaching fundamentals that are so much different than what they've done his whole career.
"I like to say when we, as coaches, look at plays there's a lot of things that are familiar. Some people call it navy suits. Some people call it blue," Shurmur said. "When I look at it, there's a lot of things that we're going to do that we hope are exciting, but right now we're just teaching the offense and the basics and the fundamentals and try to get the guys up and running."
When Shurmur was brought in, the general consensus was that he would work with Kelly to install an NFL style West Coast based passing offense to go with Kelly's already run based system. You'll remember that a lack of NFL passing concepts is what concerned Ron Jaworski about Chip Kelly's offense in the NFL.
Shurmur says you're not going to get the Eagles offense by looking at Oregon.
"We hope that you're seeing an offense that's extremely effective running the ball and throwing the ball. That's what we're hoping to do," Shurmur said. "I think, again, people are trying to paint this that what Chip did in college and say, 'It's this and they'll do that.' I don't think that's the case. They were very effective at running the football. It was a no-huddle-based offense. It was also a very effective passing offense. We'll see."
Perhaps the biggest issue that Shurmur and Kelly will face on the offensive side of the ball this year will be who gets the start at QB? He says he's hoping that the choice will be obvious when the season begins.
"What we'd like to hope is it's going to be very obvious who the starter is," Shurmur said. "Again, we've got a lot of training sessions left. We've got a full preseason, four preseason games. I think as we go through it and we add more and more to what we're doing; we're hopeful it'll be obvious to everyone who the starter is."
On a team where the job is truly up for grabs this does seem to be the most sensible way to do it. Last year, the Seattle Seahawks traded for Matt Flynn, drafted Russell Wilson and basically just let the two battle it out all summer. Wilson came out on top and the team obviously benefitted as a result.
The Eagles QB competition is a bit different given that there's the veteran Michael Vick in the mix. But Nick Foles & Matt Barkley make for a similarly intriguing pair of young guys like there were in Seattle.