Three Chip Kelly Leftovers

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Before I head to the NovaCare Complex, here are three Chip Kelly leftovers we’ve been meaning to get to.

1. A popular theme last summer regarding the Eagles was: How will Kelly adjust to the NFL game?

Considering Kelly was making the leap from college to the pros with four total years of head coaching experience, the question was a valid one. He has said on multiple occasions that he didn’t enter the NFL with any preconceived notions or expectations. Now that Kelly’s been in Philadelphia for a year, he was asked what the biggest difference was from college.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “I don’t think it’s as big a difference as people think it is. There’s subtle things, but it’s still the game. It’s still 11 on 11. We all have no say. It’s all dictated by television. It was the same way in college as it is in the NFL – when we’re gonna play or when a game’s gonna be scheduled. I don’t think that it’s that drastic.” Read more »

Eagles Roster Breakdown: The 90-Man Rating System

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Back for the second straight year, it’s the 90-man Eagles roster rating system.

Allow this to serve as your training camp primer. The idea is simple. Below you will find every player placed into one of five categories.

Tier 5: These are the longshots. If any of these players land on the 53-man roster, consider it an upset. They will have really opened up some eyes during the summer.

Tier 4: These are the fringe or bubble guys. Don’t count them out, but they’ll very much be fighting for roster spots over the next several weeks.

Tier 3: These are your backups. They might not play a lot this season, but going into camp, they look like pretty good bets to make the team.

Tier 2: These players will be expected to contribute significantly. They’re either starters or true rotational players.

Tier 1: These are your difference-makers. They’ll be the guys responsible for determining how many games the Eagles win in 2014 and what direction the franchise is headed in going forward.

It’s not rocket science (or even sports science, for that matter). So let’s get started, beginning with the bottom of the roster. Note that certain players require longer write-ups than others. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: O-Line Training Camp Preview

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacksoutside linebackersrunning backsinside linebackers, cornerbacks, wide receivers and safeties. Now it’s on to the offensive line.

The pressing question: How much will the Lane Johnson suspension hurt the Eagles?

Let’s put it this way. In terms of devastation level, losing LeSean McCoy would be a 10. Losing Patrick Chung last year would have been a 1. I’ll put the Johnson suspension at a 6.5.

Offensively, losing McCoy or Nick Foles would fall into the “season changer” category. Losing Jason Kelce would hurt a lot too, given that the Eagles don’t really have an adequate replacement (at least not a proven one). Jason Peters or Evan Mathis missing time would mean definite downgrades. After that, there’s Johnson and a few others. Read more »

All-22: How the Eagles Lean On Cover 3

cover3a_all22

Your 2014 Eagles Almanac is now available for pre-order.

If you’ve missed this publication the past two years, it’s a comprehensive look at the season ahead with contributions from a variety of talented writers.

There are also some untalented writers who are allowed to pen chapters. That’s where Tim and I come in.

My piece this year focused on the defense as a whole. What did Billy Davis run in his first year as the Eagles’ coordinator? What were the strengths and weaknesses? What changes are in store going forward?

Below is part of what I wrote, focusing on one of the Eagles’ primary schemes on the back end: the Cover 3.

And remember, order your Eagles Almanac today! Read more »

Kelly Knows Foles Can Hold Up In Hot Water

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

Chip Kelly first unveiled the line after the Eagles selected Matt Barkley in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

“I’m going to steal a quote from [former Cleveland Browns head coach] Sam Rutigliano,” Kelly said. “He used to say, ‘With a quarterback, it’s like a tea bag. You don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water.’ ”

Kelly recycled the quote last summer when Nick Foles and Michael Vick were preparing to square off for the starting job. But now, he can probably fold that reference up and put it in a safe place because it doesn’t need to be brought up again in regards to the 2014 season.

There’s no predicting how Foles will perform going forward (that’s not to say we won’t try), but if there’s one thing he’s proven, it’s that he can bounce back. In the middle of last season, Foles found himself in the hottest of waters. With a chance to stake claim to the starting job against the Cowboys, he turned in his worst game of the season, suffering a concussion in the process. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Officials, Not Kelly, Adjusting To Pace

Chip Kelly

Roughly a year ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article that appeared by all accounts to be a preemptive smack-down from the officials to Chip Kelly.

“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino at the time. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two-minute drill.”

The article created a bit of a stir, and Kelly was asked about it. He made clear that the Eagles intended on playing by the rules and said he didn’t anticipate any issues.

Now, as Kelly prepares for Year 2, it appears that the officials are the ones doing the adjusting.

“The league also added a new wrinkle,” said NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington from the league’s clinic for officials. “On Friday, referees underwent a more physical assessment than they ever had before. That’s because the league wants to make sure that their referees can keep up with these faster-paced games.” Read more »

Eagles Training Camp Preview: Cornerbacks

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacksoutside linebackers, running backs and inside linebackers. Now it’s on to the cornerbacks.

The pressing question: Can Nolan Carroll II push for a starting job?

The best bet for the Eagles’ defense going into 2014 is that this unit will return 10 of 11 starters from a year ago – the only exception being new safety Malcolm Jenkins.

But if you want a position battle to watch on that side of the ball, it’s at cornerback. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher were the starters last year, but the team signed Carroll from the Dolphins in the offseason. The 27-year-old started 12 games in Miami last year and 10 more in 2012. He has adequate size, plays with great effort and only missed seven tackles the past two seasons, per Pro Football Focus. Read more »

Foles On Kelly: ‘There’s Always an Answer’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly has been asked the same question over and over again since he became the Eagles’ head coach: What are you looking for out of your quarterback?

His answers have varied, depending on the day. Kelly once said it was repetitive accuracy. Other times, he’s pointed to just being able to win games. And throughout, he’s maintained the importance of standing strong when faced with trying situations.

While all of those things factor into Kelly’s evaluation of his signal-caller, the No. 1 attribute he seems to value is decision-making. That’s why Kelly and Nick Foles seemed to have gotten along so well last year.

“Being decisive is very important,” Foles said, speaking to a roomful of reporters at the conclusion of last month’s minicamp. “It’s always important to be decisive when you’re a quarterback. And honestly you play fast, and what I mean by that is the guys are gonna look to the quarterback. What’s the speed of the quarterback? What’s his body language when you’re running the offense? Is he sort of just walking up and doing whatever? Is he intense, yelling the calls, getting it? Because if they see your speed and moving and just your intensity, then all of a sudden, it’s just human nature to just zap in and do it and just go. And I think that was probably the big thing.” Read more »

Kelly: ‘There Should Be No Closed Doors’

Chip Kelly

On the day he was introduced as the Eagles new head coach, Chip Kelly was asked whether he planned to be in Philadelphia for the long haul.

“I’m all in,” he said. “I think it was [Hernan] Cortes who burned the boats. I’ve burned the boats so I’m not going back. I’m in. I’m an NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of [not wanting to be in], I wouldn’t have made the jump. I made the jump and I’m here and I’m excited to be here.”

With that proclamation came a larger implied point: Kelly would closely examine every aspect of the way the Eagles were run, make changes to the organization where he saw fit and mold the entire franchise into his vision. This wasn’t a quick fixer-upper. There would be significant restructuring.

With Year 2 on the horizon, Kelly met with a roomful of reporters at the end of June’s’ minicamp and expanded on many of his philosophies. Read more »

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