Philly's Inferno

A sports fan’s opinion through the lens of Philadelphia’s seventh circle of hell.

The Nick of The Irish

Note: I’d like to thank everyone for visiting the site and reading.  I apologize for not posting as often here, but you can read more Philly’s Inferno content from Jerome’s Friend (James Keane) on Bleeding Green Nation.  This article will be published there later today. Enjoy!

Despite what his current TD to interception ratio may tell us, we know that Nick Foles isn’t perfect.  We desperately want him to be because we are like the skinny soldier guy from Braveheart who looks at William Wallace in disbelief and says, “William Wallace is seven feet tall.”  We look at the stats and have an idea of how Nick Foles is supposed to play in Chip Kelly’s offense.  Then we look at the man and we see the laboring gallop, the game against Dallas, and the interception-that-wasn’t to Patrick Peterson and say, “That’s not Nick Foles.  Nick Foles is supposed to be a Chip Kelly quarterback.”  Then Foles turns to us and says in his best Scottish accent, “Yes, I’ve heard, and if he were here today, he’d consume the English with fireballs from his eyes, and lightning bolts from his arse…  I am Nick Foles!”  And then we watch him throw another touchdown.

So if we know that Foles isn’t perfect, how do we explain this incredible streak?  How do we explain the nineteen touchdowns and 233 consecutive throws without an interception?  Is he really that good?  Or, as the Peterson play seems to suggest, “is there some other, more extraterrestrial explanation” (I wrote that in my best Ancient Aliens voice).  Has Foles just been really lucky?

Well, I don’t buy this idea of luck.  I especially don’t think it exists in football, but that may just be based on what my definition of luck is.  To me, luck is akin to superstition, magic, fate, or God.  It’s something to which we give credit in the absence of any logical explanation.  In football, we seem to attribute luck to the bounce of the ball, a gust of wind, a referee’s call, a fumble recovery, or any event that results in unexpected good (or bad) fortune (like an interception called back because of a ticky-tack penalty).  In reality, those unexpected instances of fortune are simply products of the game.

A few years ago (2007), Brian Burke from Advanced NFL Stats did some nice research on how much “luck” impacts the game.  But his definition of luck is more concrete.  Burke calls luck a random process, one in which the outcomes have an equal chance of occurring and cannot be controlled.  And what he found is pretty interesting.  Look at his chart below.

NFL_Luck_Skill_Brian_Burke

The perfect bell-curve blue line represents the win distribution for teams in an NFL where every game is decided by a virtual coin-flip, where every team has a 50% chance of winning each game.  The red line represents the win distribution for teams in an NFL dictated purely by “skill”, where the better teams always win.  The yellow line represents the actual win distribution from 2002-2006.  You can almost see how the interplay between “skill” and “luck” produces actual results.  Burke concluded that “the actual observed distribution of win-loss records in the NFL is indistinguishable from a league in which 52.5% of the games are decided at random and not by the comparative strength of each opponent.”

We can try to apply this to Nick Foles’ streak.  In college, Foles averaged 42 pass attempts per interception.  His current streak stands at 233, equivalent to flipping a coin six times when all six flips result in heads.  You can attempt to do this yourself and chances are it will happen once in 64 attempts, or 1.56% of the time.  So if more than half of NFL outcomes are a result of random processes, does that mean more than half of what Nick Foles has accomplished is also the result of this kind of “luck”?  Is Foles in the middle of a virtual coin-flipping hot streak?

I’m not so sure.  In order to explain, I’d like to modify Burke’s definition of luck a bit.  Instead of random process, I’d like to use chaotic process.  The game of football is indeed chaotic.  Every point in the game is sensitive to, and represents, a new set of initial conditions.  These conditions include everything we can possibly think of: each team’s scheme, system, strategy, play call, coaching, how players respond at the line of scrimmage, officiating, wind, sun, skill, talent, injuries, confidence, etc.  It’s not even the sum/product of all of these conditions that results in any one particular outcome.  All of these conditions react with each other in independent ways.  It’s purely chaotic.  And yet, from chaos comes order.  So it’s not necessarily luck or random process that is acting on skill in Burke’s win distribution graph; it’s chaos.

What does this mean for Nick Foles?  It means he’s operating within a complex system (like Chip Kelly’s offense) that is trying to best another complex system (the opposing defense).  It means that he could have a 50% chance of throwing an interception, not with his next pass attempt, but within his next 42.  It means he’s not lucky, but that his performance is a product of the game and the decent number of conditions he, and his team, can control.  It means he can consume the Detroit Lions with fireballs from his eyes and lightning bolts from his arse, despite what luck, magic, and fate may dictate.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty damn excited about that.

A Deeper Look at Projecting the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2013 Season

Last week, on vacation, there was a moment when I stood at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and started to think about the Philadelphia Eagles (note to wife: I thought about you more!).  It seemed to me a nice metaphor for this new Eagles team and the upcoming season.  As the team heads into the season’s first preseason game, we’re not yet knee-deep in Chip Kelly’s tenure.  I don’t even know if we’re ankle deep.  Instead, we’re probably still toeing the water, testing the temperature, not knowing exactly what lies beneath the deeper waters ahead.  But it’s really hard to not get caught in the beauty of the view, or get excited about moving forward.

If you discount torn anterior cruciate ligaments and racial slurs, there is still a lot of excitement.  My own excitement for this Eagles’ season was fueled by the Eagles chapter in the 2013 Football Outsiders Almanac (it serves as a great companion to BGN’s Eagles Almanac… pick up both).  According to their one million(!) simulation runs, the Eagles have a 10% chance of achieving 0-4 wins, a 35% chance of achieving 5-7 wins, a 42% chance of achieving 8-10 wins, and a 13% chance of 11 or more wins.  These simulations are based on Football Outsiders’ native Defense-Adjusted Values Over Average (DVOA) statistic, as well as values assigning weight to factors such as home-field advantage, weather, dome, coaching, and other variables, applied to each game of the 2013 seasons (again, one million times!).  I will forever be an optimist, someone who views the glass as half full, but even I find it hard to accept that the Eagles have almost an 80% chance of getting between 5 and 10 wins, or a less than 10% chance of equaling their 2012 win total.

Much of any optimism obviously stems from the presence of Chip Kelly, NFL revolutionary.  However, new coaches in the NFL do not necessarily have the positive impact we expect to see, especially during their first season.  According to a Football Freakonomics study, there are three primary reasons for this:

  1. Regression to the mean: teams that have done very badly for a long time are more likely to win a bit more in the future, whether they get a new coach or not. Sadly, the opposite is also true for winning teams.
  2. Most former NFL Coaches of the Year are eventually fired. Did they suddenly forget how to coach? Did their brilliant strategies evaporate? Or, more likely, was their former winning a consequence of a lot of factors that went well beyond coaching?
  3. It is hard in general to satisfactorily measure leadership – whether we’re talking about a football coach, a CEO, or the President of the United States – but a variety of empirical research shows that an institution’s top man or woman is seldom as influential as we think. It’s a natural inclination to pin a lot of blame (or, occasionally, glory) on the figurehead. But just as the President doesn’t actually have much control over the economy, a football coach has limited control over his team’s outcome.

If Chip Kelly’s impact on the Eagles’ success during his first season may be minimized, what exactly could the season look like?  I conducted my own simulation to find out.  Unlike Football Outsiders (FO), the basis for my model is Pythagorean expectation.  The correlation for FO’s DVOA to wins for the following year is .374 while the correlation for Pythagorean wins (expectation) to wins for the following year is .324, just as adequately significant.

My model takes the Pythagorean wins for the Eagles and their opponent each week, randomizes those values within the standard error value (2.6 wins), and applies a random “external factor” value to each team.  I included the external factor value to randomly, and aggregately, account for things like luck, home field advantage, day vs. night games, win/loss streaks, weather, game planning, the impact of a certain new head coach, etc. (This is similar to, but probably different from what FO has done.)  I ran the simulation 1,000 times (sorry, couldn’t do a million!), so the external factor value changes for each team in each simulated game, each simulated season.  For each game, the products of the modified Pythagorean wins (based on standard error) and external factor value for each team are compared, and the team with the higher product is awarded a win.

S215_WP1

Over 1,000 simulations, the Eagles reached five wins 21.7% of the time, six wins 20% of the time, seven wins 15.7% of the time, and four wins 14.7% of the time.  Further, we can look at the areas under the curve to determine the likelihood the Eagles will fall within a range of wins:

S215_WP2

According to this graph, the Eagles have a 56.9% chance of reaching 4 to 6 wins, a 50.8% chance of reaching 5 to 7 wins, a 36.5% chance of reaching 6 to 8 wins, and a 21.7% chance of falling within the 7 to 9 win range.  More importantly, in my model, the odds that the Eagles will achieve 5 to 10 wins drops to 61% from Football Outsiders’ 77%.  To me, this seems to be a more likely result (but I’m admittedly biased).

At any rate, based on their schedule and Pythagorean expectation, the Eagles do seem likely to improve in 2013. In the end, projecting wins is really irrelevant.  Which result you choose to believe is up to you.  At this point though, it may be better to just toe the water, walk coolly forward, and admire the view in front of us.

Here is a summary of how the Eagles performed in my simulations against each 2013 opponent:

S215_WP3

Explaining the Eagles’ High Performance Mindset

“What the hell is that?” This was my reaction when I saw the photos of the Eagles video schedule from Jimmy Kempski and Sheil Kapadia.  On the screen in green, after “Lunch” and before “Special Teams Meeting”, was listed “High Performance Mindset Meeting.”  It sounds bad ass, and it turns out it was.  Chip Kelly (and I’m thinking Sports Science Coordinator Shaun Huls had a hand in this too) brought in a guest speaker, Navy SEAL officer Coleman Ruiz, to talk about his mindset when on the battlefield and how it could apply to the football field.  But what exactly could Ruiz have talked about.  Well, I’d like to venture a guess…

First, let’s get back to Shaun Huls.  If you have not read Jenny Vrentas’ profile on Huls, please do. It’s required reading.  According to Vrentas, Huls spent five years training Navy SEALs in a military base in Virginia Beach and was the first strength coach hired to work in a human performance program at Special Warfare Group 2.  Not only did Huls train and coach, but he participated in typical SEAL exercises in order to fully understand the strains on the human body, both mental and physical.  I think it may have been here where Huls was introduced to something called “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness”.

Much as it is with any kind of technology, the military is often where new science is first applied.  Ever since Martin Seligman’s inception of positive psychology, there has been a revolution in studying how to enhance the function of our brain and our behaviors in order to maximize well-being and performance.  Books have been written (The Oxford Handbook of Happiness) and business and self-help courses have been created (Michael Bernard’s “High Performance Mindset”) in order to capitalize on this new field of research.  But the military is where the benefits, or at least the early returns, can be seen.  (Note: Seligman’s Positive Psychology Center has a webpage devoted to this, what he labels as Army Resilience Training.)

The military’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program has a Performance Enhancement track, which is “based on four decades of scientific research and recognized best practices in the field of sport and performance psychology. The tenets underlying excellence in human performance are applicable to all professional occupations. The mental and emotional skills required to excel on the athletic field are similar to the skills underlying excellence on the battlefield, in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home. Given this understanding of human performance, [CSF] tailors the delivery of the program to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of Army organizations and populations.”

Here is what CSF looks like:

CSF

Mental Skills Foundation
Identify the mental skills that underlie performance and understand the psychology of performance excellence.

Building Confidence
Develop effective thinking skills to create energy, optimism, and enthusiasm and help manage internal obstacles that hinder performance excellence

Attention Control
Employ methods to take control of your attention, improve your ability to attend fully and concentrate amidst distractions.

Energy Management
Use self-regulation skills to effectively modulate and restore energy in order to thrive under pressure.

Goal Setting
Develop a concrete, step-by-step plan for achieving a personally meaningful goal and maintaining the motivation necessary to be successful.

Integrating Imagery
Mentally rehearse successful performances to program the mind and body to perform automatically and without hesitation.

Looking at this program through the lens of the NFL, we can get a clearer picture of what Chip Kelly and Shaun Huls want this football team to look like: a Philadelphia Eagles team that can be mentally tougher and more fundamentally sound than any Eagles team in a long time.  To this end, I don’t expect Tuesday’s “High Performance Mindset Meeting” to be limited to just one session.  I expect it to be an attitude and practice that pervades training camp, the season, and hopefully, the organization as a whole.

An Argument against Fumble Recoveries and Luck

Throughout time immemorial humanity has attributed unexplainable phenomena to magic, God, superstition, or luck. Applications to the insanities that occur in football are no different.  Footballs veer ever so slightly left of the upright. There are obstructed views. Blown calls. All of these things and more we commonly attribute to the quirks of fate, or, luck. That is, until we fully understand what’s actually going on.

I think we do this when trying to understand fumble recoveries.  Check out this series of articles by Brent over at EaglesRewind.com:

What’s the Deal with Fumbles? (Should we worry about Bryce Brown?)

Fumble Luck… Again

Forced Fumbles Skill and Give/Take Recovery Rates

He has expertly provided a strong case (which supports the work of several others) that fumble recoveries are a function of chance.  Despite his evidence, and despite my own research, I still find it hard to believe.  I’ve performed dozens of regressions (at least 60, both linear and logistic) comparing this statistic to that, from this year to that, hoping to find some relationship that explains the seemingly random nature of fumble recoveries.  Do they correlate to yards?  No.  Do they correlate to wins?  No.  The overall strength of a defense?  Sacks?  All no. I am usually the first to say, “Well if the numbers say it, then it must be true.”  And these numbers indeed suggest fumble recoveries are a function of luck.  So what’s my beef?

Maybe it’s philosophical.  Primarily, I’m a believer that there is no such thing as luck or chance.  I believe we make our own luck, be it good or bad.  And fumbles, be they accidental or forced, and recoveries, by the offense or defense, must be a product of concentration and skill rather than the whims of chance.  But, for the life of me, I just can’t accept the latter.

I think fumble recoveries are the product of the type of fumble.  Fumbled snaps (lack of concentration on the part of the center or quarterback) are more likely to be recovered by the quarterback, right? At that point there are fewer defenders around the ball.  Fumbles by running backs (lack of concentration and technique on the part of the quarterback or running back) are likely to be recovered by the offense if it occurred on the offense’s side of the line of scrimmage, and likely to be recovered by the defense if the fumble (forced or not) occurred on the defense’s side of the line of scrimmage.  I would think that’s what the odds would say. Right?

As it turns out, I think they do.  Luckily for me, Chase Stuart over at FootballPerspective.com categorized the types of fumbles and the types of recoveries for the 2000-2011 seasons.  Here is his chart:

Fumble Recovery Rates - FootballPerspective

His chart tells us how each type of fumble was either recovered by the defense (DEF), offense (OFF), the fumbler (RBF), or whether the ball went out of bounds (OOB).  At first glance, note the prevalence of the red (DEF) color.  For the first four bars, all quarterback related, fumbles are most likely recovered by the offense.  This makes sense, since the fumble most likely occurred on the offense’s side of the line of scrimmage and should most likely be recovered by an offensive player.  The exception is sacks, which also seems to make sense (to me anyway).

The last two bars illustrate events that most likely occur on the defense’s side of the line of scrimmage. During these fumbles, the number of defensive players surrounding the ball in the defensive zone (swarming?) probably outnumbers the number of offensive players.  Again, this seems to make sense.  (Note: this is my interpretation of the data, not necessarily Stuart’s.)

So what can this tell us about luck?  My hard stance: when a football veers just left of the upright, it’s because of a poor snap, hold, or kick; when there is an obstructed view, someone is out of position; a blown call is a result of poor judgment.  Lastly, a fumble recovery is a product of the type of fumble, the location of which is a function of some player’s concentration and skill (or in some cases, lack thereof). Is all of this definitive proof that fumble recoveries are not a product of chance?  Probably not, but it’s still a valid argument.  Measured in the aggregate, fumbles and fumble recoveries appear to be random products of luck.  But when broken down and dissected, when we calibrate the microscope a bit deeper, we can see things a little differently, and perhaps clearly.

Dictating the Pace – Illustrating How Playing Fast Offers an Advantage in the NFL

I previously examined how Chip Kelly’s desire to play fast can be advantageous for the Philadelphia Eagles. Here is an interactive Viz to further illustrate.  Click on the image to interact.

Dictating the Pace Viz

Dictating the Pace – Examining How Playing Fast Offers the Philadelphia Eagles an Advantage

Update: Click here for the interactive graphic (Viz) illustrating the advantages of playing fast in the NFL.

***

There once was a man from Nantucket
When young he held a football and chucked it.
When older, Football had him
So one day he chose, on a whim
To tell Football Convention to suck it.

***

By now, we know the story.  When Chip Kelly presided over the University of New Hampshire football program (he’s not from Nantucket, but close enough), he struck a friendship with Bill O’Brien, who coached at Brown.  The two men have shared meals, drinks, laughs, and maybe a secret handshake or two, but more importantly, they talked a lot about football.  It was this connection that brought Kelly, the Oregon coach, to Foxboro to see O’Brien, the New England Offensive Coordinator, who then introduced Kelly to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Fast forward to the 2012 NFL season, Week 5, in a game littered with Chip Kelly’s fingerprints.  A blistering-quick no huddle offense paced the New England Patriots to a 31-21 victory over the visiting Denver Broncos.  The Patriots ran 89 offensive plays, second most in franchise history, and set a franchise mark in first downs with 35. According to Boston Globe writer Greg Bedard, this one game serves as a fine example of the impact Kelly has had on Belichick and the Patriots’ offense.  It also serves as a good case study for what the Philadelphia Eagles expect to become.  In that regard, much has been written about how Chip Kelly, either through his offense or coaching technique or whatever, will change the NFL and revolutionize the game of football.  Revolutionize, he won’t.  However, more simply and rather elegantly, Kelly will be executing a strategy.  But is it a strategy that will work?

There are some who claim that a byproduct of running a faster paced offense is a defensive unit that will spend more time on the football field.  By this logic, a team that wishes to play fast offensively will also need to employ a defensive unit that is deeper and/or better conditioned than the average NFL defense.  However, while still a nice luxury, this may not be the case.  During the New England Patriots win over the Denver Broncos last season, the Patriots’ 89 offensive plays encompassed 36 minutes of time, leaving the Patriots defense on the field for 24 minutes (against Peyton Manning). Granted, all games are not equal, and it would be unfair to transpose this one game onto what the Eagles hope to accomplish over time.  Yet, if we compare the number of offensive plays to defensive plays in games during the 2009-2011 seasons, we see a mild and statistically significant relationship.  As the number of offensive plays increases, the number of defensive plays decreases.  This could indicate that poorer defenses facilitate more offensive plays.  Or it could not (a poorer defense could allow an offense to score using less plays, who knows).  At any rate, it appears, at least historically, that the Eagles’ defense may benefit from a faster paced offense that runs more plays than average.  (Obviously, this point becomes moot if their defense routinely executes “three-and-outs”.)

PI_TP_1

When using total offensive plays to measure the speed of an offense (that is, how fast the offense operates and executes), we can glean how successful the “play fast” strategy has been.  From 2009 to 2011, teams that run more offensive plays than their opponents win 58% of the time.  Over a sixteen game season, this translates to a 9-7 record; not exactly indicative of a full-proof strategy (again, it could also illustrate that all defenses are not created equal).  But this is a case where a descriptive statistic does not tell the whole the story.

In order to really maximize the effect a high number of offensive plays has on the outcome of a game, let’s assume (based on above) that Chip Kelly just isn’t just interested in executing a shitload of offensive plays; he’s equally interested in executing a shitload more than his opponent.  Unfortunately, according to linear regression, this strategy does not necessarily equate to scoring more points than an opponent.  From 2009 to 2011, there is only a slight positive relationship (if any at all) between team offensive play differential and point differential per game.

PI_TP_2

Logistic regression, on the other hand, tells us something else.  Using this model, we can determine historically to what degree running more offensive plays than an opponent has helped win games, and project the impact going forward.  And, as it turns out, different degrees of offensive play differential has indeed had an impact on game outcomes.  From 2009 to 2011, teams had a 50% chance of winning when their offensive plays are equal (actually, this behavior favors the home team… more proof of Home field Advantage?).  For each additional offensive play above 50%, a team gives itself a 2.65% better chance of winning.  For every ten plays above 50%, a team gives itself a 35.1% better chance of winning; every twenty plays, a 49% chance of winning.

PI_TP_3PI_TP_4

We can retroactively apply these models to the New England/Denver game, where the Patriots ran 23 more plays than the Broncos (89-66).  According to the 2009 to 2011 linear and logistic models, this translated to the Pats having a 65% chance of winning the game (70% at home) by 8.2 points (they won by ten, 31-21).

Moving into the future and shifting back to the Philadelphia Eagles, let’s assume that Chip Kelly would like to average 20 more offensive plays than his opponents.  This would translate to a 63% chance of winning (68% at home, 57% away), by an average of six points (seven at home, five away).  Applying this strategy (if executed) over a 16 game season, the result could be a 10-6 record.  However, I think it might be safer to conclude that a team which averages ten more offensive plays than its opponents can attain one more win than if offensive plays were equal; a team that averages twenty more offensive plays can attain two more wins, and so on.  Despite their 89 play effort against Denver, the 2012 New England Patriots averaged nine more offensive plays than their opponents, so one of their twelve wins can be attributed to this differential.

Based on these results, it does not appear to me that a revolution is on the horizon. However, Chip Kelly will be implementing a strategy, and a sound one at that.  History tells us if Kelly’s offense averages eighty plays per game (twenty more than his opponents) his defense will be on the field for six plays less per game than the league’s season average and his team will have a 49% better chance of winning each game.  In this regard, playing fast does seem to offer an advantage. Yes, intentionally increasing offensive plays has not been the typical NFL convention.  But in the end, Chipper doesn’t really care about that, does he.

Philadelphia Eagles Must Re-Establish Home Field Advantage

Originally published June 4, 2013 on HighPhive.com.

Really, this headline could apply to any team in Philadelphia.  Hell, any team in the country.  But if Doug Collins, the recently re-allocated former 76ers head coach, did one thing right, it was to instill his desire to establish a presence on home court.  “We don’t lose two in a row at home,” he said.  While this mantra focused a bit on the negative (why not simply say, “We will win at home”), the message was received.  The 76ers were not a team that played well anywhere, but improvement needed to start at the Wells Fargo Center, and it did.  Chip Kelly inherits a Philadelphia Eagles team in a similar situation.  His Eagles have not played well, and in order to turn things around, Kelly needs to re-establish a strong home presence.

I recently examined the factors that contribute to home field advantage (HFA) in the NFL and found that HFA is impacted by team success, offensive efficiency (which includes penalties), and turnovers.  These factors can affect the home crowd, and the home crowd, in turn, can have an effect on these factors. (Note: this is a recommended read if you want more detail about the results discussed here.)  Read more…

What Contributes to Home Field Advantage in the NFL?

Originally posted on Philly's Inferno:

Note: If you would like to jump to the interactive NFL Home Field Advantage infographic, click here.

I will never forget “Fourth and 26”. It was early in the morning when we arrived. The parking lots at Lincoln Financial Field were already filling up and it was brutally cold. My friends and I dressed for it – I wore twelve layers – and we brought plenty of food to grill and plenty of beer to drink. The beer we had to drink quickly, because at eight degrees a layer of ice formed on the surface. More than once I tilted a half- full can to take a sip and nothing followed. It was a cruel joke. Regardless, the twelve layers and amount of beer I drank made taking a leak a torturous endeavor. But in reality, there was no better place I would rather have been than that frozen…

View original 1,599 more words

The Science Behind Chip Kelly’s Use of Music

Originally published May 16, 2013 on HighPhive.com.

I was one of many Eagles’ fans following the Twitter updates during the team’s OTA Monday.  And I was probably one of the many getting annoyed by the flood of tweets regarding Chip Kelly’s music playlist (more football please!).  But as seems to be the case more often than not with Coach Kelly, there is a reason for everything.   Afterwards, Kelly was asked about including various rock and pop anthems on the practice field.  He answered, “There’s some science behind it…” He didn’t have the time to elaborate, but there are indeed football and non-football reasons for it, and I think they go hand-in-hand.

First, let me preface this by saying that my undergraduate degree is in Psychology, so this kind of stuff – understanding how and why we do what we do, think how we think – fascinates me.  I was able to dig around and found an article by Associate Professor of Education Mary Ann Davies (Northern Arizona University) titled “Learning… The Beat Goes On”, in which Davies summarizes research on how, and how well, music aids our learning and retention of knowledge.  The article was from the journal Childhood Education (Spring, 2000) but was written to encompass education in general.  Reading it within the context of football is really interesting.  Read more…

Hey Jeffrey Lurie, Bring in Brian Dawkins

Originally published May 10, 2013 on HighPhive.com.

When Chip Kelly provided the names of his coaching staff, I was one of many Eagles’ fans hoping Brian Dawkins would be one of them. At one point it even seemed likely, especially after Kelly paid Dawkins a visit at an event Dawkins hosted at Chickie & Pete’s in late January. Alas, it was not so, and I now think Dawkins, while perhaps open to coaching in the NFL one day, is more devoted to his family and would not necessarily want to spend the amount of time away from his wife and children that coaching requires. However, I have a proposal…

Jeffrey Lurie has demonstrated an ability to think outside the box. He also seems to have surrounded himself with like-minded individuals, especially recently. In the spirit of Chip Kelly’s hiring of Shaun Huls as Sports Science Coordinator, I propose Lurie create a new front office position for Dawkins: Director of Leadership and Impact. Here’s why: Read more…

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