What we know of Chip Kelly is what we knew of Chip Kelly

AKIRA SUWA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chip Kelly is not telling us - and won't tell us - anything we don't already know about him.
AKIRA SUWA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chip Kelly is not telling us - and won't tell us - anything we don't already know about him.
Posted: June 07, 2013

ONE OBLIGATION as head coach at the University of Oregon used to be a big weekly midweek luncheon attended by some of the football program's most ardent alumni and supporters. It required a trip of about 1 1/2 hours each way, some handshakes, a little speech, a brief Q-and-A.

I say used to be, because Chip Kelly put an end to it during his tenure there. Instead, he attended the luncheon via videophone, gaining 3 hours of planning, film viewing. What he didn't gain was any goodwill from those ardent supporters, but if we have learned anything about the man thus far, it is that Chip Kelly is not too keen on Dale Carnegie.

Bill Belichick, yes. A list of head coaches too lengthy to list and too varied in their approaches to cite a trend, for sure. Chip Kelly loves to talk football and will rapid-fire lengthy answers when questioned about scheme, methods and philosophy. But he also issues short dismissive darts to questions he deems obvious or oblique, and it really doesn't matter whether a pretty young woman or a guy whose clothes seem three sizes too big is asking them.

He is an equal-opportunity smart-ass. If Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells could have had a baby together in their days coaching the Giants, it probably would have looked and sounded a lot like Kelly.

He got away with it in Oregon because he won and he won and he won. He has gotten away with it thus far here because he and his approach are brand-new, he sounds or looks nothing like Andy Reid, and because he has yet to lose a game.

There are also no popular veterans on this team whose fans could be polarized. After keeping a stiff upper lip during a session with a cluster of reporters yesterday, Michael Vick more or less begged for a resolution to the quarterback competition before training camp begins in an individual conversation with Comcast SportsNet's Geoff Mosher.

Here's what Vick said to the cluster: "It's tough. I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete. But it's hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn't, but that's just what I have to deal with, and I'm going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise."

Here's what he said minutes later to Mosher: "Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won't have to answer that question, so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day."

Given his age and the contract hit he took in the offseason, it's understandable that Vick, 32, prefers a coronation over a competition. But it ain't going to happen. Kelly has been steadfast on insisting he would use all the time available in his new job to slot his roster, and his even-handed practices thus far seem a testament to that resolve.

"In college, we had more practices in the spring than you do in the NFL," he said after the final practice of minicamp yesterday at the NovaCare Complex. "We had 13 opportunities and [were] a lot more limited. And none of them in full pads. In college, you can be in full pads 12 of the 15 days. So sometimes in college, you get more opportunities to do evaluations, and that's why I know we get a lot of questions about the depth chart, but it would be unfair for anybody to make a depth chart when we don't have any pads on."

Which makes the past few weeks little more than a test of NovaCare's outdoor speaker system (needs a few more tweeters), and an observation of Kelly's renowned fast-paced sessions.

Every now and then, you think you may see something, but maybe not. Yesterday, moments after taking a snap, Vick saw space on the left side and took off immediately, looking like the spontaneous guy from years ago and not the tentative one conditioned to go through his progressions over the last few years.

Situated perhaps 20 yards behind Vick, Kelly sprinted forward, called his name a few times until he got his attention, then said, "Good job."

Of course, Vick was also the only quarterback I saw throw a pass into the men on the line of scrimmage wearing stationary giant fly swatters.

So maybe we should hold off on that starting quarterback announcement. Or any announcement, really. Because after the first few weeks of Camp Kelly, all we really know about him is what we already knew about him, or at least had heard. That he will do what he wants, when he wants and how he wants.

Regardless of how it was done before he got here, or whose nose gets out of joint.

Today on PhillyDailyNews.com : Michael Vick doesn't like sharing.


Email: donnels@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @samdonnellon

Columns: ph.ly/Donnellon

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