Chip Kelly is as unconventional as they come.
Conventional wisdom says that if you have the opportunity to rest your starters this late in the season in advance of a possible playoff run, you rest said starters.
Kelly has done next to nothing by the book in his first season as a head coach at the NFL level and if you believe what he told the media Monday at the Novacare Complex, that isn't about to begin now.
With two regular seasons remaining the Eagles playoff picture has come into crystal clear focus. If the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon, then the Eagles game at 8:20pm against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field is rendered meaningless because Kelly and company would still have to beat the Cowboys head to head in the season finale just to win the division.
So, how in that case would Kelly approach the Bears game?
Business as usual, says the first-year head coach.
"We're going to cancel the game," Kelly joked. “We've got to play. We’re not in a situation where we’ve got to rest anybody. We’ve got to play and get back on the winning track. We've got to be ready to play winning football.”
As much as the Eagles, especially the veterans, would find value in having effectively two bye weeks in a five-week stretch before what is effectively a playoff game against the Cowboys on December 29th, it is an impossible scenario to prepare for.
Further, the Eagles are coming off of their worst loss of the season, a 48-30 disappointment in Minnesota against a Vikings team without Adrian Peterson and their top three cornerbacks, so trying to re-fire the engine certainly is a valuable and legitimate reason to play the game as planned.
“I think our philosophy has been it's on the line every time you play,” he said. “It's not really what goes on outside. It's we need to get better as a football team. Everybody needs to play.”
The bottom line is that Kelly is focused on his team and not whether or not the Cowboys are able to find their footing and bounce back against the Redskins following a disheartening loss of their own to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
“I don't care what goes on with Dallas, to be honest with you,” he said. “We lost to the Vikings and that's not a good feeling. My whole philosophy is I'm worried about what we can control. We didn't play well enough [Sunday].
“It doesn't matter,” he said. “We know the score. We have phones and televisions and all that other stuff. But am I going to be glued to the set? No.
“I mean, it is what it is. Whatever happens in that game doesn't affect us. We still have to go out and play the Chicago Bears. I don't think we're going to have a victory party [if the Cowboys lose]. We have to play.”
The flip side to all of this is that if Kirk Cousins and the Redskins do beat the Cowboys then the Eagles can have the division wrapped up three days before Christmas.
That early success is due in part to Kelly's unconventional ways of doing business.
So why stop now?