The connection between Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick garnered public interest last year when The Boston Globe published a story explaining how the college coach influenced New England's no huddle offense. Three months later, Kelly left the Ducks and NCAA football to take the helm in Philadelphia.
He and Belichick are again being paired in the same sentences, as the Patriots and Eagles work out together this week in advance of Friday's preseason game.
Though a good relationship between coaches never hurts in joint practices, Belichick noted in Tuesday's press conference that it's not a prerequisite.
"To be honest with you, one of the most important things is just working it into your schedule. We play the Eagles first, so this is a natural fit. It’s not that far, not that much travel. We’re either going to have to go out there and let us try to run Philadelphia plays against ourselves or line up against the Eagles and let them run them.
"I think it’s a more efficient way and it’s a good way for us to get some extra work in, and good, quality work."
Belichick didn't shrug off all Kelly questions. He made a point to praise the coach's efforts at Oregon (the Ducks won three consecutive conference titles in his four-year tenure) before ending with an overall vote of confidence.
"I’ve had several conversations with him since he’s taken over here in Philadelphia – owners meetings, Combine, phone conversations, things like that. I just think he’s a really solid coach and a solid guy. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and I think he does a great job with his team."
What didn't interest Belichick was speculation on whether or not Kelly's success will translate to the NFL. He kept the conversation respectful but vague as to what challenges New England may face on Friday.
"Well, we’re going to find out. Of course, what he did at Oregon, that was one thing. We’ll see how it all plays out here, but he’s a very innovative, creative guy. He's got a great mind, he’s smart and I think he'll take advantage of whatever resources he can. We’ll see what that is.
"I’m sure he’ll give us plenty of trouble."