The Tragedy That Changed Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly with service members during the team’s Military Appreciation Day in 2013. Photograph by Matt Rourke, AP

Chip Kelly with service members during the team’s Military Appreciation Day in 2013. Photograph by Matt Rourke, AP

Schools were let out the day Army Sergeant Joshua Lengstorf returned home, and the kids, waving small American flags, joined the rest of the community along the side of the road.

His body was flown from Afghanistan into Eugene, Oregon, where a police escort waited to assist in the hour-plus drive south to Douglas County. Businesses in the neighboring towns posted signs of support in their windows. Locals lined the streets. The closer they got to the heart of Roseburg, the larger the crowd became.

“We went through some of the small towns that he lived in, and it was just packed,” says Josh’s widow, Jesse. “It was that way all the way down and even to the funeral home. I think that’s when we realized that this is a big deal.”

Some 500 people gathered to pay their respects on that day in January 2010. Among them was then–University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
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Wake-Up Call: Eagles Can’t Sleep on RGIII

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

You won’t find many pundits backing Washington this week. The Eagles have too much to play for and the Redskins are too much of a mess to not lean towards Philly in this one. That sentiment is reflected in the line, with Vegas making the Eagles 7 ½ -point road favorites.

If there is one variable that has the best chance of knocking this game off course, it’s quarterback play. That is, if Robert Griffin III shines and Mark Sanchez falters, the Eagles could leave FedEx Field with their playoff hopes all but crushed. Read more »

Lost Season For Boykin?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The calls for more Brandon Boykin have quieted down as the year has gone along, partly because people have come to realize those efforts are fruitless, and partly because Boykin hasn’t been flashing with the same brightness compared to last season.

That six-interception campaign seems a world away now, doesn’t it? The talk this offseason was all about how to get the young corner’s snaps up from 50 percent. Instead, his playing time has gone south (he’s played 42 percent of the defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus) and it feels like Boykin has been pushed further to the fringe by Billy Davis and Chip Kelly despite the coaches’ claims that he is viewed as a starter. Read more »

On Graham And the Contract Talks

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The Eagles are interested in re-signing Brandon Graham, and Graham genuinely wants to remain in Philadelphia. But the level of commitment on both sides to making it happen will be tested in the coming weeks.

As Geoff Mosher reported, the Eagles reached out to Graham’s camp to express their interest in re-signing the 26-year-old. While no formal offer was made, we’re told that the opening salvo by the Eagles was to the tune of four years, $24 million. That’s an average of $6 million per season. Graham’s camp is looking for something in the $7-8 million per year range.

While that might not seem like a huge gap to bridge, there are other factors – and more specifically, other Eagles players – to consider. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: An Opportunity For Graham

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Brandon Graham‘s fifth season with the Eagles is nearing its end. The rookie contract that has tied him to Philadelphia — for better or for worse, in good times and in bad — is about to expire.

Most of the good has come of late.  Graham has made peace with the ghosts of expectations unmet and has adapted to his new position to become a productive part of the Eagles’  attack. He has 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 14 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles on the season while playing a shade under 40 percent of the snaps.

Somewhat apropos of the way his pro career has gone, Graham’s playing time is set to spike just as the sand threatens to drain out of the hourglass. Trent Cole is expected to miss at least one week with a broken hand, meaning Graham jumps into the starting lineup for the first time since 2012.

“This is a big opportunity for me to really show what I can do with more snaps. I’m excited to just be able to go compete and get better with my teammates,” said Graham. Read more »

Smith’s Development “Stifled” By Switch

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was out of necessity that Marcus Smith II was shuffled from outside linebacker to inside linebacker earlier this year, and it is out of necessity that he is now being shuffled back to his original position.

Trent Cole broke his hand against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for at least one week. That means Brandon Graham steps into the starter’s role while Smith figures to be the next man in.

“I expect to get some snaps. I’m not sure how many snaps I’ll get but I’m sure to get action,” said Smith. “Hopefully go out there, run around and just make a play.”

Smith is currently practicing at the Predator position, so he’ll likely rotate in for Graham at times. Bryan Braman is the other option at outside linebacker.

Smith was moved inside back in September after Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode went down with injuries. He was already having a difficult time acclimating to the pro level, and now had to do so while learning a new position. The results haven’t been good. Smith has appeared in six games and has played just 74 snaps, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

“We set him back by moving him inside, but we needed that because of all the injuries we had at inside,” said Billy Davis. Read more »

Chip: Foles Is Not Healed

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Nick Foles‘ checkup did not produce the news many were hoping for.

“Nick is not healed. He is out this week. The bone is not healed,” said Chip Kelly at his day-after press conference. “We will move forward without him. He is going to start throwing a little bit more but he is out right now.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Sanchez, Eagles Not Good Enough

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

The game had morphed into a shootout and it was Mark Sanchez‘s turn to fire.

After a dismal start in which the home team put up exactly zero yards on six plays in the first quarter, the offense clicked in and the Eagles rattled off 24 straight to turn a 21-0 deficit into a three-point lead.

Tony Romo and the Cowboys answered with an eight-play, 78-yard drive capped by DeMarco Murray‘s two-yard plunge that put Dallas back on top, 28-24 late in the third quarter. On the ensuing possession, Sanchez dropped back on 3rd-and-7 and located an open Zach Ertz over the middle. The pass was too far out in front of the second-year tight end, though, and the ball glanced off his outstretched hands and was intercepted by safety J.J. Wilcox. The Cowboys turned that into seven, extending their advantage to 35-24. Read more »

What the Loss Means For the Eagles

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With a home loss to Dallas Sunday night, the Eagles will need some help over the final two weeks of the regular season to make the playoffs.

If the season ended today, the Eagles would be on the outside looking in. Here’s how it breaks down: Read more »

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