Afternoon Links: Why the Parting Shots?

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

DeSean Jackson cried foul over the way he was shown the exit in Philly. LeSean McCoy and Tra Thomas brought up race. Cary Williams took aim at the team’s conditioning practices and said the Eagles were outcoached down the stretch last season. Even Trent Cole fired off a tweet exclaiming “No respect!” after being released.

The latest comments from Jackson claiming that he was the victim of a smear campaign in Philly led to the following debate topic on NFL Network: Why do former Eagles continue to take shots at Chip Kelly?

“I think it has in large part to do with, when you are a professional athlete, you are a man,” said Jamie Dukes, who was an offensive lineman in the league for 10 seasons. “And  Chip Kelly I think has made the mistake that we’ve seen Nick Saban make, Greg Schiano — who I really like but I think he made the mistake and admitted to it…This college thing. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Calls On Day, Again

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Ryan Day played quarterback for Chip Kelly when the coach was in full-out mad scientist mode. Serving as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator at the time, Kelly rotated offensive systems in and out at a dizzying pace as he searched for the perfect concoction. Day was the signal-caller in the middle of the whirlwind.

“At that time, we were changing offenses every week. We would go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer. One week we threw it six times, the next week we threw it 65 times,” Day recalled. “Coach kind of had a laboratory there, and it was a lot of fun to be around.”

So much fun that Day found it hard to pull himself away — much to the detriment of his grade point average.

“Coach used to laugh: when I was in college, in the spring I would get like a 3.0 but in the fall I would be around a 1.5,” he said. “I used to spend pretty much the whole fall in there listening to the meetings, listening to some of the game-planning and kind of learning how that went, which is kind of why I became a coach. I just liked it and I got around Coach and he made it exciting for me. Maybe without that, I wouldn’t have gotten into coaching.” Read more »

Thoughts On A Potential Quarterback Competition

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Further evidence surfaced this week that the Eagles are trying to lock up Sam Bradford. NFL.com’s Albert Breer echoed earlier reports that the Eagles and Bradford have had preliminary contract talks, but that no real progress has been made to this point.

The issue, as we’ve laid out previously, is that Bradford doesn’t have a ton of incentive to sign a deal right now. He has already banked $65 million over his career and is scheduled to make an additional $13 million this season. The 27-year-old isn’t exactly hard up for cash. He can afford to bet on himself. Given that he is coming off a pair of ACL tears, his leverage isn’t at its max at the moment. Any offer would probably reflect that. That leverage shoots north for the free-agent-to-be, however, if he thrives this season under Chip Kelly.

So it won’t be easy, but they’re trying to find some common ground. And who knows? Maybe they will.

Kelly was asked: If something were to get done before camp, wouldn’t that essentially eliminate a true quarterback competition? Read more »

Notes: Minicamp Comes To A Close

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The 2015 Eagles got one more workout in Thursday before their six-week hiatus. Minicamp came to a close with a slightly-shortened practice under a light rain at the NovaCare Complex. One player was heard shouting “Freedom!” as the final horn sounded. A quick team meeting, and then school was officially let out.

“It’s a great group, we trust them,” said Chip Kelly, addressing the media for the final time before training camp. “They’ve got their individual workouts that they’ll be accountable for when they come back. Just enjoy your time off, you deserve your time off. They’ve worked extremely hard since April 20 and just looking forward to getting guys back here on the first (of August).”

What did the head coach learn about his team over the last eight weeks? Read more »

Eagles Wake Up Call: Allen Barbre Steps In

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Allen Barbre is entering his eighth NFL season, and to this point only has eight NFL starts under his belt.

Seven of those came in 2009 at right tackle when he was with the Packers. The other was last year in the season opener against Jacksonville — also at right tackle — in place of the suspended Lane Johnson.

Given how high this coaching staff appears to be on Barbre, it seems odd that he hasn’t gotten more work to this point in his career. What gives? Read more »

Vinny Curry Getting Some Work At Linebacker

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Vinny Curry nearly came up with the pick.

During one of the rare occasions that he was asked to drop earlier this week, he popped out on the tight end, turned, and saw that the ball was already on him. He wasn’t quite able to haul it in, but it was still enough to get his defensive teammates excited.

“Can’t cover like Connor [Barwin],” Curry joked, “but it got the job done.” Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

Chip Kelly, Mathis Address Release

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Evan Mathis didn’t want to play for the Eagles at his current salary, so Chip Kelly cut him loose.

That was the explanation Kelly gave to the assembled media prior to the start of minicamp Tuesday.

“We were asked by his agent for a release on multiple occasions,” he said. “We weren’t going to come to a conclusion in terms of a contract extension, we weren’t going to extend any contract or adjust any contract, so we granted what his agent asked for.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Questionable Call By Kelly

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

A quick survey of the landscape reveals that there are contract disputes occurring all across the NFL this offseason.

Dez Bryant is threatening to be a no-show for the season opener if he doesn’t have a long-term contract by July 15. Unhappy with the team’s decision to place the franchise tag on him, Demaryius Thomas boycotted Denver’s offseason training program — including last week’s mandatory minicamp.

Tampa offensive tackle Demar Dotson is in search of a new deal and opted to skip OTAs. Same for Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone.

Seahawks’ defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who signed a four-year, $28.5 million deal ($16 million guaranteed) in 2014, wants Seattle to give him a new contract that will make him one of the top-eight paid players at his position. He missed OTAs. Ditto Chargers safety Eric Weddle, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson.

Evan Mathis, in other words, was not alone in his contractual protests. The only thing that makes him unique among this group is that his team — more precisely, his head coach — responded to the protests by cutting him. Read more »

Eagles To Work Out Jared Wheeler

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

The Eagles are set to sign free agent guard/center Jared Wheeler, according to his agent Brett Tessler.  Per Tessler, the signing will happen on Monday pending a physical. A league source confirmed that Wheeler will be in town for a workout Monday.

Wheeler (6-4, 318) was signed as an undrafted free agent by Carolina in 2014. He spent time with the Panthers and Bills that preseason. The Seahawks picked him up this offseason but released him before the draft.

The Eagles are obviously in need of some reinforcement along the interior after releasing Evan Mathis this week.

The coaching staff has some familiarity with the Hollywood, Florida native, as Jeff Stoutland coached him at the University of Miami during his true and redshirt freshman seasons. Wheeler started six games for the Hurricanes as a senior — one at left guard, three at right guard and two at center.

 

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