Kelly has eyes set on playoffs
PHILADELPHIA — Chip Kelly had a slip. Freudian, it appears. During his media availability Thursday morning, Kelly, the most successful rookie Eagles head coach since realignment intimated his team would be back in the playoffs.
The lofty expectations popped out in response to a question about who would be the next man up at outside linebacker if veteran Connor Barwin was shaken up.
“We don’t do anything like that,” Kelly said. “I’ll mention it today and probably 16 times during the year and during the playoffs is we have a training session today, we have a training session tomorrow, we have a training session Saturday so that’s when we’ll kind of sit down and kind of figure everything out.”
Consider “during the playoffs” a sign the Eagles figure to be around for the duration. It’s no secret the Eagles are heavily favored to win the NFC East. That would get them into the tournament.
Last year Kelly guided the Eagles to a 10-6 record and a division pennant. The New Orleans Saints ousted the Birds from the playoffs.
There is reason to be optimistic at One NovaCare Way.
Nick Foles looks like he’s ready to build on a Pro Bowl season. Defending NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy’s biggest worry is making his coach happy.
Then there’s former Saints running back Darren Sproles, who ignited the fantasy football side of Kelly.
“I don’t know if you guys play Fantasy Leagues but if someone said ‘hey, you get a chance to get Darren Sproles,’ I’m in,” Kelly said. “It
ball game of the season.
“I asked him to address the team,” said Paul Strus, Dan’s longtime special teams coach who is serving in his absence as head coach. Strus is one of several O’Hara football coaches of past and present who came to the team’s training camp and signed on to help in a season dedicated to Dan.
“Things that we do as a team, a lot of it reflects what Danny always did, like the (pre-game) prayer,” Strus said. “I told the kids his mantra was faith, family and football. Faith in our religion, faith in our teammates and our family. It’s not just our parents and siblings, it’s our teammates, too.
“It’s always going to be emotional. This is Danny’s team still.”
Thankfully, it’s still in familiar hands.
Jim Algeo, left, talks with Cardinal O’Hara’s interim head coach Paul Strus at practice last month. The longtime head coach at Lansdale Catholic, Algeo is assisting Strus after the death of head coach Danny Algeo.