PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It would be hard to call Chip Kelly’s debut season as an NFL head coach anything but a resounding success.
The Eagles went from a team that finished 4-12 in 2012, to 10-6, with an NFC East title, and a home playoff game in 2013. They had the leading passer in the NFL, the leading rusher, and wide receivers who had career best years.
Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin was impressed with the job Kelly did.
I loved playing in Philadelphia. I’m very excited to be a part of this organization with Chip [Kelly] leading the way. I think he’s very smart,” Barwin told 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on Thursday. “I think he handled himself, throughout the whole year—we obviously had some low times, some high times, but he was a steady hand the entire season. For being, I guess, a rookie head coach I was impressed the whole time and I’m excited about next year and what’s to come.”
The Eagles season ended on a field goal, when the Saints drove in the final seconds to set up a 31 yard attempt from Shayne Graham that went through the uprights. It was painful for fans to watch, and painful for Barwin to be a part of.
“I don’t want to get all emotional on you guys, but it’s just sad man. You expected to keep playing. The playoffs are tough because I lost in the divisional round the last two years, but you just don’t expect it to happen,” Barwin said. “Your whole life you’re ready to play a football game the next weekend. I was just hoping to God, he would mess that up for the Saints, but he didn’t. He nailed it. You just have to deal with it.”
Still, Barwin is excited for what’s to come in Philadelphia.
“Well I wish we would have played a little bit better in a couple of games at the end of the year, but I’m really happy with the group we have on defense,” he said. “I like who we have, I like our coaches, I like what I think we are going to be capable of doing. I think the season you can only ask to improve and I think every week we did do that little by little, so you have to be happy with that. So going into the offseason I’m excited about our personnel. I think the majority of our guys are going to back. Obviously they’re going to go ahead and add a couple that I think will help us. So moving forward, I’m just excited about the guys we have on defense.”