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'Winning is the deodorant' for Chip Kelly's bumpy offseason with the Eagles

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The Eagles are Chip Kelly's team now, despite plenty of criticism inside and outside the organization. With the roster made over in his vision, can he take the team from consistent winners to perpetual champions?

PHILADELPHIA -- A varied view of Chip Kelly exists across the Eagles locker room. Some players say their former teammates who called Kelly racist is evidence of the "smoke in here." Other players call those charges drivel. Some still disagree with him supporting and keeping receiver Riley Cooper after Cooper's racially charged, videotaped fiasco at a concert two summers ago. Others see that as part of the positive, forgiving nature of a man who is often viewed as a no-nonsense, tightly wrapped and warped coach.

But every one of them is clear about this: Chip Kelly gets to do it all the way Chip Kelly wants to do it because Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie says so.

Kelly is a coach with a hammer. He has his players' attention. They know the deal: He gets the first say and he gets the last one.

In the NFL, he has recreated what he mastered at the college level as Oregon's head coach. That is no small feat. Neither is the fact that he won a division title in his first NFL season and 20 games in his first two NFL seasons.

These are the things for Chip to overcome. Winning is the deodorant.-Brian Dawkins, former Eagles safety

He features the hybrid, quick-paced offense; the analytical and computer-driven game metrics; the advanced views on player nutrition and health. He is intelligent more than quirky, competitive as much as blunt -- a visionary, a modern day chemist/philosopher/coach, in Lurie's eyes.

Thus, Lurie has granted him power to shape the front office, the roster, the style of play and the team's identity. This is how Lurie believes the Eagles will leap from consistent winners to perpetual champions.

"He wants it a certain way, his way," former Eagles star safety Brian Dawkins said. "He wants to create his own culture. He doesn't want guys that are going to speak out more than the leadership does. It's a big year, his third year. It's more his guys. It got a little messy to get it here and yet he still won 10 games two years in a row.

"The racist thing has not been a good thing. The huge players like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy being gone has been an adjustment for many people here. These are the things for Chip to overcome. Winning is the deodorant."

Eagles celebrate

Photo via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring points, lots of them, is the formula.

Kelly's Eagles did that again last Sunday in preseason action against the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles scored 36 points in a blink, even without starting quarterback Sam Bradford. In Kelly's first season they finished fourth league-wide in scoring average per game (27.6) and second in yards gained per game (417.3). Last season they finished third in scoring (29.6 points per game) behind only Green Bay (30.4) and Denver (30.1).

His offensive concepts are artistic, cutting edge and stimulating.

They left the Colts looking perplexed in the 36-10 finish.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said: "It's extremely difficult. You open the preseason with this football team and from a defensive perspective the scheme is tough. You guys saw the same thing I saw. We gave up too many yards there."

A total of 412.

"Guys can't wait for Chicago to come in and get back to a conventional style of football," Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said of the Eagles game being over and the Bears being next. "You have to give Philly credit. They have a lot of weapons and they keep you on your heels."

Quarterback Tim Tebow entered late and completed half of his 12 passes for 69 yards and ran for a 7-yard touchdown. Kelly's inclusion and tutelage of Tebow says plenty about Kelly's offensive confidence and skill.

"It's an offense that makes you hesitate as a defender," Tebow said of Kelly's tactics. "And as a defender, whenever you hesitate you are not as good as you want to be."

Kelly is taking a measured approach with running back DeMarco Murray and Bradford in hopes of keeping them fresh and healthy. He said these preseason games matter in terms of learning things "you just don't know until you play." The Colts game will provide great teaching film for his coaches and players, as will practices against the Baltimore Ravens this week before the teams play at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night.

He likes his team's depth. He said it is creating welcome urgency.

"We've got a lot of depth here and there's a lot of guys fighting for spots," Kelly said. "I think everybody is aware of that. There's no excuses when you're playing in a game. This is live, this is real, this is going."

He told the group of reporters who peppered him with questions about not playing Murray or Bradford against the Colts: "Write what you want to write, I really don't care."

What Kelly cares about is the Eagles playing in his image, in his style and in him controlling every inch of everything he can control to point his team toward championships. Anyone can argue with the methods but no one can argue with his conviction.

Eagles second-year running back Kenjon Barner played for Kelly at Oregon. Barner scored on a 9-yard run and on a 92-yard punt return against the Colts. His view of Kelly is clear.

"There is competition here, especially in our room," Barner said of the Eagles running backs who include Murray, shifty veteran Darren Sproles and newcomer Ryan Mathews, in from the San Diego Chargers. "Sproles has the great experience, Murray led the league in rushing last year and Mathews was a first-round pick in San Diego. You have to find a way to fit in. It's stacked. But I believe if you perform and you fit in here, you have a chance.

"Because coach is a man who I grew up with as a kid in college. I have that advantage -- of him knowing me and my parents -- in knowing and in understanding him. He wants you to buy into his culture and what that culture is. He is no-nonsense and that means many things in many different ways."

It means playing fast. Scoring points. Listening more than talking. Executing more than offering excuses. Following the undisputed leader.

Kelly style.

"Offense wins in this league," Mathews said. "The tempo here is different. The atmosphere is different. We're going, going, going all of the time. It's how Chip Kelly likes it. He is building something really good. He knows what he wants here. He has brought a different edge to the league. It is really noticeable."