Kelly’s Roster Preferences: ‘There Are Deal-Breakers’

Chip Kelly comes to the NFL with a plan.

How much of that plan will mirror what he did at Oregon and whether it will actually work remain to be seen. But the Eagles’ new head coach knows he’ll have to make adjustments at this level. And perhaps the biggest adjustment will come in finding players and assembling a roster.

In college, Kelly never had a top-10 recruiting class, but he was still able to seek out talent without worrying about a salary cap, a 53-man roster limit or players who were past their primes. Those factors will all come in to play in the coming months.

Once the Eagles finalize their coaching staff, the next step will be putting the roster together. That’s where the relationship between Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman becomes critical.

“He’s going to be very defined on the things that he’s looking for in players by positions,” Roseman said last week at the Senior Bowl. “Which is great for us as a personnel staff, to make sure that we know specifics for each position, dictated by the coaching staff. Obviously, it’s easier on the offensive side of the ball than the defensive side right now, but for us, we know we’re going to have clear direction.”

It’s something Roseman has brought up multiple times since Kelly was hired. The new coach has specific attributes he’s looking for at each position. For example, here’s what Kelly said about the quarterback position while at Oregon:

“If the quarterback is not tall, look at his hands. That is the biggest coaching point to finding a quarterback. How big are his hands, and how well can he control the football? The height of the quarterback is not the important thing. No one playing quarterback throws over the line. They throw trough lanes in the linemen. The important thing is the size of their hands.”

The question now is: What attributes is he looking for from NFL players?

Kelly is generally associated with speed, but Dan Pompei of the National Football Post suggests he could be looking for different qualities, specifically on defense.

If new Eagles coach Chip Kelly adopts some of the strategies he was using at Oregon, the Eagles will begin coveting “longer” players. Kelly’s NCAA teams were known for their speed and stamina but Oregon was also recruiting taller players across the board, particularly on defense where he made length a priority with a recent change in philosophy. Some people around the league believe the Eagles will begin seeking taller players on that side of the ball.

We’re still waiting on a defensive coordinator, but a personnel overhaul seems likely, especially if the Eagles go to a 3-4.

“There are deal-breakers,” Roseman said. “Maybe it’s at a particular position that size is a particular function that you need there, or a certain speed. I think there are limiting factors at certain positions that for some staffs are more important than others.”

For years, Andy Reid had no problem plugging in defenders that some would deem under-sized. But it looks like that philosophy could change with Kelly.

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  • eagle fan dwn south

    Is it me or is anyone else ready for training camp I hate our season was done not long as it started let’s go eagles

  • eagles2zc

    Tried to trademark “Babining” = “deal-breaker”

  • Absecon

    Wow, 10-4 on that! Love reading CR’s philosophies….

    • Absecon

      Make that CK! Still having AR nightmares….

  • peteike

    Sounds similar to Reid if you ask me. Only issue I see with always making players fit a certain mold is, you can miss on some solid players. Sometimes great players, esp role players, dont fit a box but can just ball. This is always true with the combine and all the measurables.

  • dislikedisqus

    I’m a huge believer in Tall. It goes back to watching McNabb. If you’re stuck with an inaccurate qb you have to increase the size of the receivers. Then I realized it applies to anyone covering them. The longer you are the better you cover. And it’s good for the guys rushing the passer too.

    • UKEagle99

      How tall? DRC and Nnamdi are listed at 6’2″ whereas Darrelle Revis is listed at 5’11”.. Who makes your team?

      • xlGmanlx

        The better talent

  • Kevin

    Maybe nit-picking but Howie Roseman said “there are deal-breakers” and the headline implies that Chip Kelly said it.

    • xlGmanlx

      No, I made the same assumption, I hope this site doesn’t get into click baiting with misdirected headlines.

    • thefadd

      Hate to nit-pick but it’s pretty clear from the article that pretty much the article is based on a conversation with Howie Roseman in which Roseman is enunciating what have been communicated to him as Kelly’s roster preferences. Hence, “Kelly’s Roster Preferences….”

  • Phils Goodman

    “The important thing is the size of their hands.”

    If anyone was dreaming about Tyler Wilson becoming an Eagle, looks like you can forget about it.

    PS: EJ Manuel has huge hands.

  • Safety1st

    Nail on Vick’s coffin. He reportedly has smallish hands. Well-manicured, but smallish nonetheless.

    • thefadd

      I immediately thought of Vick, too. He has way small hands — why he has always had fumble issues.

      Kelly’s philosophy really starting to make sense. Do everything you can at the corners of the game to limit backwards plays (sacks, turn overs) then do everything you can to maximize forward plays (going for it on fourth down, going for two, stepping up tempo). Having zero tolerance for QB mistakes added to the times you succeed on fourth down more than makes up for the times you miss.

      No one is talking about it but (ESPECIALLY after 14 years of clock mismanagement) Chip Kelly’s entire philosophical approach to the game is what is going to make him successful in the NFL — not his spread read option whatever or even his switch to 3-4. Those specifics are pieces of Kelly’s much larger philosophical football picture. Don’t think this is lost of Lurie, either. You know the dude’s read moneyball and all the economic theories on numbers in football that have come out the past five years that Kelly and Belidhick have been at the front of. That cost/benefit understanding of going for two, going for it on fourth, etc is reason A-1 Lurie hired Kelly. This is just Roseman talking nice about Kelly. There are “deal breakers” because after Lurie’s ringing endorsement of his talent evaluation, Roseman carte blanche on this draft class after those deal breakers.

      If he does have free range, I will bet you right now, Roseman deals the #4 pick and he should.

      • thefadd

        * “Roseman has carte blanche in this draft aside from those deal breakers.”

  • xlGmanlx

    “He’s going to be very defined on the things that he’s looking for in
    players by positions,” Roseman said last week at the Senior Bowl. “Which
    is great for us as a personnel staff, to make sure that we know
    specifics for each position, dictated by the coaching staff. Obviously,
    it’s easier on the offensive side of the ball than the defensive side
    right now, but for us, we know we’re going to have clear direction.”

    One could interpret that as they weren’t really given as detailed and defined data from reid most recently. Also, this could also be taken as putting any player personnel that didn’t work on Kelly, but I don’t think that is where Roseman was going with it. I think he is talking from a place of clear communication and collaboration. Also WE WANT MORE CHIP KELLY NUGGETS! The more I read, the more I feel like he is going to be great.

  • Paul Costello

    One difference in the NFL that Kelly will need to address is: Taller doesn’t mean better at every position. He noted that as regards the QB, but extrapolate that out to other positions… defensive lineman who are too tall or ‘too long’ will be pushed off the ball by leverage on short-yardage plays. These are not plays Kelly saw very often at Oregon, given his team’s offensive prowess. Too tall or too long at wide receiver and cornerback means less quickness, slower turns at the hips, and less ability to adjust to the ball (or the opponent)… too tall or too long at RB means getting tackled earlier in the play; and on the offensive line, it means less ability to turn and leverage the opponent, as well.

    Now I’m being very general in my statements here. A player’s mass can offset their height and length — I see very tall offensive tackles who are powerful and quick, some tall WRs and CBs who are very successful, and so on.

  • Dutch

    On Defense in Philly, it’s probably best to start with the basic like tackling. Laying down the fundamentals of tackling would be a vast improvement over what has been seen and practiced here the last few years