Pat Shurmur expects Chip Kelly to call Eagles plays

Posted: February 12, 2013

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, known to quip more than his predecessor, Andy Reid, wasn't exactly forthright. But he was amusing when talking about how the team's play-calling duties will work between him and new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

"I will call all the good plays, and Pat will call the bad ones," Kelly said on Monday during a news conference to introduce the new coaching staff.

Shurmur was more revealing.

"Things haven't been totally talked about [between us], but the inspiration for this offense is his, and I would anticipate he would be the play-caller," Shurmur said.

The 47-year-old Shurmur said he was just happy to be back in familiar territory. Shurmur was an Eagles assistant for 10 years under Andy Reid. He coached the tight ends from 1999 to 2001 and the quarterbacks from 2002 to 2008.

After that, Shurmur was the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator for two seasons before serving as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns the last two seasons.

The Browns went 9-23 in Shurmur's two seasons, including 5-11 this past season, and it was far from an ideal situation. First, the struggling Browns have had just one winning season since 2003. Second, the Browns were in turmoil the last two seasons.

"I would say my tenure there was a little less than traditional, with the first year a lockout and the second year [learning] during the summer the team was for sale and was sold," Shurmur said.

The Browns began 0-5 this past season but won five of their last 11, including three in a row during one stretch. Five of their 11 losses were by a touchdown or less, including an opening 17-16 defeat to the Eagles.

"The Cleveland Browns definitely weren't at a point where they wanted to be, but we felt like we were definitely making progress," Shurmur said. "The guys there, I am proud of the fact that they fought though a tough year."

The big question with Shurmur's hiring was whether his West Coast offense roots will blend in well with Kelly's wide-open spread attack.

"We learned offense maybe a little different way," Shurmur said. "We both understand the important thing is score points and win football games."

Kelly and Shurmur didn't know one another well, and thus their interview process was carried out over two days.

Since he was coming from the University of Oregon, Kelly said he wanted his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator - he hired Billy Davis - to have NFL experience.

He said it was also a major bonus that Shurmur had so much previous experience with the Eagles, and the new head coach said he likes having a former head coach on his staff off which to bounce ideas.

"There are so many bonuses aside from his football knowledge, and after meeting with him and getting on board with him [it's] just outstanding," Kelly said. "His personality, his mind-set, was kind of a slam dunk for me after getting to visit with him."

When asked if he had other job opportunities after leaving Cleveland, Shurmur replied, "They were playing out."

He then quickly added, "But I jumped at this one."

And he did it, he said, for the simplest of reasons.

"I wanted to go back to work quickly, and I wanted to help somebody win football games," he said. "And I wanted to do it with somebody I would work for that I felt good enough about, and that is why I did it here."


Contact Marc Narducci at  mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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