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 »

Report: Keelan Johnson Arrested

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Eagles safety Keelan Johnson was arrested early Friday morning for his involvement in a bar fight in Tempe, Arizona, and charged with assaulting a police officer, passively resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. according to Arizona TV station KTAR.

“We are disappointed to learn of the arrest of Keelan Johnson this past weekend in Arizona,” said the Eagles through a statement. “We are still trying to learn all of the facts that led to his arrest. At this point, it’s a pending legal matter and therefore, we will have no further comment.” 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 »

Wake-Up Call: Kelly’s Outside Influences

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

An author and public speaker by the name of Simon Sinek appeared at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia earlier this offseason to discuss concepts from his new book, Leaders Eat Last, “which explores how great leaders build confident teams by putting the needs of others first.” The main focus was the chemicals in our brain that influence our behavior and impact leadership capabilities.

Chip Kelly was among those in the audience.

One interesting thing about Kelly’s approach to his job is how frequently he looks outside his realm in hopes of gleaning something useful that he can pull in. 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 »

Weekend Reading: Kelly’s League-Wide Influence

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

A week from today, Birds 24/7 will be on the sidelines at the NovaCare Complex observing the Eagles’ first training camp practice.

We can already smell the unique mix of fresh-cut grass, body odor and sun block in the air.

Football season is pretty  much here. But for now, let’s get to some weekend reading. Read more »

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