While news broke Wednesday afternoon over Chip Kelly becoming the 21st head coach in Philadelphia Eagles history, the Giants linebacker was wrapping up a workout at the Timex Performance Center. Paysinger, coming off his second season in the NFL, was a three-year starter at Oregon, where Kelly left behind a 46-7 record in four years as the head coach.
“This is the next step,” Paysinger said. “He’s a great competitor, so he wants to know if his schemes can work at the highest level. And I’m just happy he has a chance because he’s one of the hottest coaches in the game right now. The fact that he’s coming to the NFL, just congratulations to him. He’s a really good coach.”
Paysinger cut his teeth in college against Kelly and his up-tempo offense (Kelly was the offensive coordinator two seasons beginning in 2007) and will once again prepare for it at least twice a year for the foreseeable future. In college, Paysinger said there was only one unit that could confine the Ducks offense. That, of course, was the Ducks defense.
“Our defense, when I was at Oregon, we were the only team that shut them down. We knew how to shut them down,” said Paysinger, who would occasionally receive Oregon care packages from Kelly along with other alumni in the NFL. “Playing with that offense was amazing. It was tiring because they’d score in one minute and give up the ball and the defense was still trying to catch their breath. So that just added to the cardio of the game. He has an exciting game plan. It’s always fun to watch. If he gets the right players, he’ll be dangerous and unfortunately he’s in our division, so I have to get ready for him.”
Since the Giants’ season ended, Paysinger has been in the facility taking care of the natural bumps and bruises that pile up over the course of a 16-game schedule before he gets into the bulk of his offseason training in a few weeks. In between, he said he will travel back home to Los Angeles. Then the focus turns to 2013.
Paysinger is coming off a season in which he saw increased action on defense down the stretch. But his real impact remained on coverage units, where he finished second in the NFL in special teams tackles (20). He came up one short of Washington’s Lorenzo Alexander, who made the Pro Bowl this year as a special-teamer.
“I actually tweeted him a picture [when] I saw the final standings,” Paysinger said with a laugh.
“There was one tackle that he had in the last game where he kind of like flew over the guy and the other guy tackled him and technically they gave him that tackle. I was like, that was the defining tackle. It was funny, but it was a good accomplishment. That was something I set for myself, a goal I set for myself early in the year, to be one of the best special teamers in the league. I feel like I accomplished that this year.”
But after winning the Super Bowl as an undrafted rookie, Paysinger had to begin his offseason early this time around.
“The biggest thing I learned my second year is, truthfully, you cannot rely on past success,” Paysinger said. “I felt like we as a team kept trying to recreate the chemistry that we had for the Super Bowl run, and it was kind of like chasing a ghost. And that’s something going into this year that we can’t do or else we’ll have the same ending as we did this year.”