— Whether this strange, new, puzzling mix of assistant coaches under Chip Kelly winds up being the staff that takes the Philadelphia Eagles where they've never been is still obviously open to serious debate.
What cannot be argued is how well this hybrid group gets along already, despite a good many working together for the first time in their first NFL jobs under a boss who's also never been in the NFL.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis sure as heck never worked for Kelly before, and he joined a defensive staff that had been assembled before he was hired, which was only after Kelly was shot down in his request to interview a Super Bowl assistant coach he refused to identify.
Yet Davis talked on Monday as if he were meant to be here all along. He claimed he couldn't have been happier about his helpers having been selected without his input.
"I think it's a positive," he said. "I don't think I could have put together this staff. I really mean that. These guys fit together. We've had two or three meetings already, and boy, I'll tell you what: there are no egos. And I know it's early on and the bullets aren't flying, but we've got all kinds of backgrounds like, `hey, this will work for me, this will work here, this is what we're teaching people, this is what we're not.' This is where we are right now, and it's so early.
"Coach [John] Lovett [defensive backs] just got here this morning, so that's how early in this process we are, so I'm very excited about the guys we have coaching in this room and how it's going to play out. I don't think I've been on a staff that has this much experience."
For Kelly, assembling a staff with the same kinds of backgrounds was unimportant. In fact, he did his best to avoid it, because he wants to learn as much as them.
"Just because we didn't grow up in the same systems from a football standpoint doesn't mean we don't think alike," Kelly said. "That's the unique thing is us trying to put this together.
"I want to be challenged. I think we want to be challenged as a group. You want a guy to say we did it this way, and it makes you think of a different way to do it. It's the ability to create what is the best identity for this football team moving forward. Not, `this is how I did it at Oregon, and this is how we're going to do it here. ' That's not what I wanted."
What Kelly did want were coordinators with previous NFL experience. Doesn't matter that offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who's spent nearly his whole career teaching and coaching the West Coast offense, was just fired as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, or that Davis failed in each of his two jobs as defensive coordinator.
He doesn't see Davis failing in Philadelphia because of how well he fits in with everyone else and how much help he'll have and how little ego will get in the way.
"I think sometimes coaches get labeled," Kelly said. "You have no idea really what goes on. And sometimes it's kind of like being the quarterback, because the quarterback gets probably too much credit and too much blame. It's the same thing for the defensive coordinator: too much credit, too much blame. I know when I talk to him in terms of him being a teacher and understanding the game of football, he's outstanding."
The quantity combined with the quality is what sticks out for inside linebackers coach Rick Minter.
"Chip was granted the permission by [Eagles owner] Mr. [Jeff] Lurie to hire basically a large staff," Minter said. "We've got eight guys on defense, and we're going to use every one of these eight guys. ... So there's brainpower, there's workmanship hours, there's prep time, there's pracice time, there's teaching time.
"Coach Kelly is going to be a guy that everything he does is fast. So when you think about it on those terms, we're grateful to have two linebacker coaches, two secondary coaches, two front coaches. Because if our time gets cut to the point of, `guys, you've got to go fast, you've got to go fast,' then I'm specifically coaching a couple of guys and I can zero in on those guys and my eyes ... can be right there on two players."
Kelly even hired Navy SEAL trainer Shaun Huls to to be their "sports science coordinator," whatever the hell that is.
Kelly tried to explain.
"He'll assist Josh [Hingst] in the weight room ... in terms of implementing individual plans for our players, but also trying to stay on the cutting edge of what the new technology is out there not only to monitor our players working out but in recovery."
Lurie wanted innovation when he started this quest for a new head coach on new year's eve.
For better or worse, this is exactly what he received: a coach who thinks outside the box not just on gamedays, but with every action he takes as a professional.