Staying or going? No. Chip Kelly discusses perception vs. reality


After saying Monday he didn't need to address the team about rumors of his potential departure, and then addressing that very topic to his Eagles players on Tuesday, Chip Kelly said Wednesday that the team meeting wasn't about reassuring his guys that he's here to stay.

The point of the meeting, Kelly said, was to illustrate the difference between perception and reality.

And the perception that Kelly will leave the Eagles for another college or pro job is not reality, so it made for a perfect example, the coach said. Asked Wednesday why it was important for him to tell the team he's staying put, Kelly said:

"I didn't (tell them that). I was actually having a talk with them about the difference between perception and reality and I used that as one example of the difference between perception and reality. But I didn't have a team meeting to say, 'Let me tell you what's going on with me.' That was just an example.

"I've never been leaving and it has been reported, so that's my point. It is the difference between perception and reality. ... It wasn't a team meeting to address anything because, again, for me to have a team meeting to address anything would be inefficient."

(That last comment drew laughs from reporters because it came after Kelly was questioned about perhaps being too quick or too efficient with his practices and meetings and whether that was a reason for Malcolm Jenkins' "accountability" comments earlier this week.)

Kelly's done this before — discuss the difference between perception and reality. During the summer, he explained that while it doesn't affect him, it does sometimes affect his players when reports surface that make them question their standing in the organization. Because Kelly is also in charge of personnel, it then falls on him to at times reinforce to the player that he is wanted by the Eagles, all because of information that's trickled out that he himself had nothing to do with.

"A lot of reports are put in the media," Kelly said. "Mychal Kendricks — (the perception) that we don't like Mychal Kendricks and that he doesn't fit our prototype of what we are looking for in a linebacker. And all of the sudden, we re-sign Mychal Kendricks. What is reported is the perception. What the reality is is we think Mychal is a great fit in terms of what we do. So there's a litany of them."

There's a lot of noise pro teams have to cancel out, especially when they're struggling. Focus on the Eagles is always intense, so when they beat Dallas in Dallas the city was buzzing, and when they dropped three in a row to last-place teams to fall to 4-7 assumptions were made that Kelly would go back to college and the defensive coordinator might be fired. Maybe one or both of those things does eventually happen, but it's highly unlikely it will happen this season. But words like "resign" and "fire" generate interest, so you see them tossed around all over the place and thus the perception grows.

"The problem is I think a lot of people can get sidetracked with what the perceptions are, and we have to really focus on the reality," Kelly said. "And the reality for us is the New England Patriots, and let's dig into this, get after it and prepare for playing a really good football team."

The defense can't stop anybody lately and now it visits Tom Brady, who's 51-4 in his last 55 games in Foxboro. Might be prudent for Kelly to prepare his Eagles for the reality of 4-8.

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