pftWhen Chip Kelly introduced his coaching staff yesterday, the biggest crowd flocked to defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who was asked the fairly basic question of whether he’d run a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense. “I’m not caught up with labels,” Kelly said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Because I don’t think it’s going to be a ladies-and-gentlemen defense. I think it’s hopefully going to be a defense that creates a lot of turnovers and gets the ball back to our offense.” And while it certainly appears to be leaning toward a three-man front, no one will say so. “I know it’s a vague answer,” Davis said. “Everybody wants to know: Is it 3-4 or is it 4-3? I wouldn’t be a very good coach if I just said it was 3-4. It’s who we have and what we can do with that.”

csn“I think it’s important that you use more than one running back,” Shurmur said. “It’s a long season, and a guy can run out of gas quickly. If you have guys who are different, you can use them in different ways, and you try to play to their strengths. I think that’s important. I’ve always believed there’s a place on the roster for two good running backs. You have your starter, but the other guy needs to play so they can all get through the season.” “If you’re able to run the ball and score points, that’s ideal,” Shurmur said. “You also want to be explosive and efficient throwing the football. Whatever we have to do to score points and win games.”

What if — Philly media members — the new coaches legitimately don’t know what offense and defense they’ll run yet? Yes, it sounds crazy for a team to not understand specifically how it will line up to play offense and defense seven months before the season starts without having yet drafted anybody or signed a single free agent. Yes, they should already be certain of their strategy and share all of that information very publicly with you. It’s all very understandable why you’re upset. Just hear me out.

Perhaps the Charlie Kelly-led Birds know they have a couple of years before they can make this roster what it needs to be — whatever that is. What they want may even change in that time. The ideal strategy and personnel needed to dominate the NFL in 2013 may be different than that necessary to dominate in 2015. That’s how quickly the league evolves. Three years ago everybody was doing the Wildcat, nobody knew about the Pistol, and the Patriots didn’t have a dominant tight end. Things change.

Also, it might be worth considering that the coaching staff isn’t yet positive how things will shake out because the quarterback position is still in flux. Yes, Michael Vick is back on the team with a MAXIMUM contract of $10 million, but if those incentives are for a quarterback who starts every game — Mike won’t come close to that paper. The quarterback come Week 8 may not even currently be on the roster.

Prodding the new coaches for specifics on their offensive and defensive strategies is only doing your job, but it’s no surprise they can’t yet nail down precisely how it will work. Besides, if they had plans set before understanding exactly who they’re working with, it would be a clear sign of coaches unable to adapt to their personnel.