Eagles Wake-Up Call: Chip Kelly’s Offseason To-Do List

With the conclusion of last night’s Super Bowl, we now have about seven months until we get to watch another NFL game.

That’s a depressing thought.

But the good news is the offseason officially begins today. And for the Eagles, the next few months will go a long way in determining the direction of the franchise. The man in focus is new head coach Chip Kelly.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a simple to-do list with what’s coming up between now and the draft.

Finalize the coaching staff – Many, but not all, of the pieces are in place. Most notably, defensive coordinator appears to be up in the air. Has Kelly targeted 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell? Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino? Is he pulling someone from the college ranks, but waiting for National Signing Day (Feb. 6)? All those options appear to be in play. Kelly still needs to name an offensive line coach too. The guess would be that these hires are finalized sometime this week.

Evaluate current personnel/free agents – The following Eagles are scheduled to be free agents: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Colt Anderson, Darryl Tapp, King Dunlap, Jon DorenbosJake Scott, Derek Landri and Akeem Jordan. The priority name there is Rodgers-Cromartie. If Kelly wants him back, Howie Roseman can begin contract negotiations before Rodgers-Cromartie officially becomes a free agent and can test the market (of course, that’s assuming he wants to return). As for the other seven players, the Eagles would be wise to bring Anderson back as a special-teams ace and backup safety. There are players under contract like Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Vick that Kelly will have to decide on as well.

Devise a plan for the QB position – I get the sense Kelly is going to watch every throw Nick Foles and Vick made last year before forming his opinion. My guess is that Vick will be released, although according to reports, there is not the same rush to make a move as was previously thought. The free-agent pool is thin, but the Eagles could explore a trade for someone like Alex Smith. With other teams like the Browns and Chiefs in the market for a QB, there could be a healthy market for Smith, which would play into the Niners’ hands in terms of compensation.

Prepare for free agency and the draft – The process here has already begun. Kelly, Roseman, scouts and assistants were down in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl. The next big event is the combine in Indy on Feb. 20. After that, the Eagles will host players for official visits before the draft on April 25.

As for free agency, players are allowed to start signing with new teams on March 12 at 4 p.m. By that time, the Eagles will have made decisions on some of their own players (Vick, Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, etc.) and will have their targets ready. A key here could be if the Eagles switch to a 3-4. Either way, though, they’ll need to add key pieces on defense.


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What kind of player can the Eagles expect with the No. 4 pick? A look at the last 10.


Chad Hall, who finished the season with the 49ers, doesn’t think the Eagles treated him fairly. From ESPN.com:

“I felt that they weren’t as honest as they could have been,” he says, walking past the Famous Door club, where a cover band is playing “Born to Run.” “They didn’t give me a chance in the returner role. The special teams coach said, ‘We like you. We know what you can do.’ But that’s the business side. They tell you one thing, and then …

“I felt that I had to get other eyes on me.”

Over at IgglesBlitz.com, Tommy Lawlor offers his thoughts on Asomugha’s future:

I’m sure Nnamdi would be willing to take a pay cut so he could stay here.  I just don’t think Chip Kelly will want him.  He’s not getting a top player.  He’s not getting a leader.  If anything, Nnamdi has a sense of entitlement from his career.  No one disputes that he was a top CB in Oakland.  The problem is that things have changed.  The talent is gone, but Nnamdi still acts as if he’s an elite player.  You can get away with certain things when you’re a star.  You can’t do that when you start to fade.  As of December 2012, Nnamdi hadn’t realized this.

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  • theycallmerob

    checking in from Bmore….one city-wide hangover going on.
    How has the day-after-SB not become an official holiday by now?

  • Chad seems like a nice guy and all, but c’mon.. he just wasn’t that good.

    • Daunted

      True, he wasn’t a great player. However, he’s not the first to say the Eagles were a bit “Shady” (ha!) when dealing with personnel after leaving.

      Smoke. Fire?

      • Mike

        I think you are both right, but you hear this from time to time from players on all sorts of teams. Don’t think it’s just the Eagles. Without guaranteed contracts, life on the fringe of an NFL roster is pretty tough. Just about any player that makes it to the NFL is going to have some confidence in his ability. Makes sense that if it doesn’t work out somewhere the player will blame the lack of opportunity rather than a lack of talent.

    • Reid gave him about 23 more chances than his talent merited.

  • I hope we get news on the DC in a day or two. The wait is killing me. I think that the following players will not be Eagles next year: Vick (Released), Tapp, Jordan, Dunlap, Cole (trade), Landri, Bell (released), Edwards (released), Asomugha (release/ trade). Patterson, Dixon, Polk, and any of our safeties (probably resign Anderson) are most likely gone as well. I think there is going to be a lot of turnover this off-season.

    • bsn

      Cole is only gone if we switch to a 3-4. Even then they’ll probably try him at olb. And we get rid of all our safeties? And replace them with who? Getting rid of the wide 9 helped them out at the end of the year.

      • JofreyRice

        Can’t see them just releasing Cole. According to EaglesCap, it’d be a 6.5 million dollar cap hit to let him walk, and they’ll already be shelling out 4 to Vick & 4 to Asomugha to do the same. So that’s 14 million dollars your paying to players to leave your team, after signing them just ~18-24 mos. ago.

        That Howie sure is some boy wonder, isn’t he? Uhhh, I mean, yeah, all those bad decisions were on Andy & Joe…

        • bsn

          The only bad decision there was Vick. He’s never been a great passer or defense reader. Nnamdi was the 2nd eat corner on the league and we signed him for less than market value. That was a good deal, he just didn’t play to his potential. Ad Cole is still good. He had a bad year in a gimmick system. It happens.

          • JofreyRice

            You’re kidding right? Asomugha was a good deal? After they pay him 4 million dollars to walk away, they’ll have given him around 30 million dollars, and he got beaten like a drum from almost the first moment he put on those long gloves that go up to his elbows (sometimes old-time movie ladies wear those, too). Guy was getting beaten by Brandon Gibson in week 1 vs. the Rams in 2011. Further, he made a habit of diming out the safeties on plays where he got fried, which caused a lot of division in the locker room. There are reports that it was Asomugha that everyone was talking about in all the “lack of heart, lack of effort” stuff that was coming out. So the guy screws up on the field, and screws up the locker room chemistry off of it.

            The Asomugha signing is one of the worst free agent signings in recent NFL history. It’s worse than when the Rskins signed Adam Archuleta. The public perception was that Asomugha was the “2nd best corner in the league”, obviously reality was much different. As an organization someone screwed up the actual evaluation of him as a player. It’s fine to be wrong as a fan, but if you don’t hold these guys accountable, history will repeat itself.

          • GuyLeDouche

            I think you missed his point. At the time of the signing, when EVERYONE thought Nnamdi was a top CB, it was viewed as a less-than-market deal. Yes, in hindsight, the signing was a complete disaster and a total failure. But at the time it seemed to be a great move.

          • JofreyRice

            I don’t think I missed his point. Why is it unfair to critique the FO, whose job it is to evaluate players based on their play rather than media rep, on a different level than the average fan, who thought Asomugha was a top CB (including myself in that group)? I’m not sure what below market value deal they got him to sign? At 12 million bucks, he was the highest paid DB in the NFL in 2011, made about the same this year, and is due 14 million in 2013.

            BTW, Greg Cosell, of NFL Films came out during that free agency period and said there really wasn’t much difference between Ike Taylor, the Steelers FA CB at that time, and Asomugha; so clearly, even in the media, there wasn’t consensus that Aso was still playing at an all-pro level.

          • bsn

            How much of it was them screwing up and him falling off? We don’t know. While some blame goes to him, he did sign him for less than what most other GMs would have been able to do. Being able to sign people for less than they’re worth is a good trait to have in a GM.

          • Mike

            Kind of funny that the 3 teams reported to be finalists for Asomugha were Jets, Eagles, and Cowboys. The GMs were Tannenbaum (accountant), Roseman (lawyer), and Jerry Jones (dope). Gives some credence to to the quote I saw recently from an (anonymous) scout that Nnamdi was in decline in Oakland for some time and anyone who wanted to sign him to huge deal didn’t study the tape. Maybe some revisionist history but interesting anyway. I was definitely excited when Eagles got him.

          • JofreyRice

            haha, yep. I was excited when they brought Asomugha on-board, but that really doesn’t mean squat. I’m just a fan that can be wrong or right without implications beyond eating crow. To make a huge blunder like Aso, professionally, should come with some real repercussions within the org. Maybe it really was all Andy, but none of it really seems to add up to the way the organization did business during the NFCCG years–as frustratingly penny-pinching they seemed to be at the time.

          • Every team has coaches and scouts and I’m sure they were high on this guy too, not just the GMs. Nnamdi’s Football Outsiders tracking stats were just as good as ever in ’08, ’09 and ’10. This is a league where decline can happen very quickly, especially at corner.

          • JofreyRice

            Pro Football Focus charts him as the #15 CB in the league in 2008, the #16 in 2009, and the #28 in 2010. I will admit that I am biased by their stats–I find them to be pretty damn accurate, for the most part.

            I’m not a huge fan of Football Outsiders, but even if you adjust for the lower amount of targets, he doesn’t make it into their top 10 in success rate% for either 2009 or 2010.

            You had the real-time comments from Cosell about how there wasn’t as much a difference between he & Ike Taylor as was perceived. People took those comments and turned them around into some desire by Cosell to praise Taylor, but they seem awfully prescient, now.

            I’ve discussed this with Sam Lynch from PFF on twitter, but maybe teams really just threw at the other guy because he was that much worse? How much of the Asomugha legend was hype? How many of us really studied Asomugha playing CB in Oakland? He wasn’t a total fraud as a Raider–definitely a legit high-level CB at one time–but I’m getting the suspicion that his falloff in play happened long before articles hailing him as a “shutdown corner” stopped being written. I can tell you he never lived up to the hype for one full game in Philadelphia, that’s for sure.

          • PFF was still rating him as a legit #1 corner then. obviously that didn’t come to fruition here either. I think there were flashes of it against Calvin Johnson in the Detroit game, but then Juan made his last fateful decision to go into zone coverage.

            I think it was only natural for QB’s to have a high SR against Aso in Oakland given how selective they were in targeting him. Nnamdi didn’t even qualify for FO’s rankings because he was targeted so infrequently. His tracking totals were still outstanding, though. You can live with a mediocre SR if half the field is being taken away.

          • JofreyRice

            The list of teams that were hotly pursuing Asomugha doesn’t strike me as very impressive. Tannenbaum’s been fired, Domenik’s probably in hot water without progression this year, Jerry Jones’ tenure as Owner/GM is supsect and Al Davis has passed away after years of head-scratching personnel moves.

            Might be putting a fine point on it here, but PFF had him rated as a legit #28 CB in 2010. Sam Monson wrote an article at the time, which lauded Asomugha’s coverage skills, but pointed out that Aso stuck primarily to the RCB side (or “easier side”) and was not the player Darrelle Revis was, in terms of coverage responsibility across the entire field, and had never displayed the skill set of Charles Woodson; which is what Castillo envisioned him as, originally.

            Since Monson wrote this article, I think he’s expanded on his critique of Asomugha just a bit. If you were to suspend the preconceived notion that Asomugha was a “shutdown corner” before he came to Philly, and allow that maybe it was just easier to throw at the other guy, doesn’t the narrative since he’s been an Eagle make more sense? Considering how poorly conceived the way they planned to use him was (in a Charles Woodson role, without the ability to tackle in the open field) is it really that hard to imagine they got other parts of the evaluation wrong, too?


          • ohitsdom

            He played great against Megatron this year. Tough and physical.

          • Stephen Stempo

            thanks captain hindsight. in other new i blundered a few weeks back when i played the lottery. If I had picked the rigt numbers i’d be a millioonaire. Obviously i need to hold myself to higher standards.

            Listen, chief, the people down on the nnamdi signing were the journalists who hedge . See its easy to say that nnamdi was washed up, then if he isnt you can just say “hes gotten his career back on track and was revitalized. ” if he sucks you get to say ” told you so.”

          • JofreyRice

            That’s a stupid argument. How else can you critique how good a job the FO is doing unless you review the moves after the fact? You’re just supposed to go with whatever prevailing sentiment was driving it at the time? People killed Pete Carroll & the Seahawks for drafting Bruce Irvin in the first round; on the other hand, people thought Tannebaum made a great move in coming up and grabbing Sanchez.

            “See its easy to say that nnamdi was washed up, then if he isnt you can just say “hes gotten his career back on track and was revitalized. ” if he sucks you get to say ” told you so.”

            Not even sure what you’re referring to here, bud, you need to clean this up if you’re expecting it to communicate your thoughts. I was psyched when they signed him. He didn’t just fall apart this year, though. Put aside what you *thought* Nnamdi was, or what Nnamdi was *supposed to be*, and what the guy showed on tape should have informed the Eagles decision, not media or public sentiment.

          • This is all outcome bias. bsn is talking about what was known at the time of the signing.

          • JofreyRice

            I don’t think so. What should have been known at the time of the signing was that Asomugha was already in decline. The public perception of him as “the second best CB in the league” is really irrelevant.

          • It wasn’t merely public perception. He was held in high regard across the league, and given how little he was thrown at, I am not sure how there would be grounds for that reputation to change. When you pay player a lot of money, you are gambling that he will continue to play well. There is no way to know just how it will play out. Of course the results were bad so the Eagles cannot brag about a productive signing, but I don’t begrudge them for taking a chance on a marquee player.

            Here is Nnamdi vs Fitzgerald in 2010. Targeted 6 times for 16 yards:


          • JofreyRice

            Not trying to be a pedant, but unless you’ve talked to the scouting departments of several NFL franchises, you don’t know, authoritatively, that he was “held in high regard”. You can accurately state that he was held in high regard by the public–mostly driven by the media–and that the Eagles held him in high regard, as evidenced by the contract. That doesn’t mean that a bunch of teams didn’t turn on the tape, see a guy in decline, and decide the price-tag didn’t suit the skills. That’s pretty much as unverifiable a hypothesis.

            You are right, I don’t fault them for going after a guy that they thought would make them better. I applaud them for that. Now they just have to get the evaluation piece of it right.

          • It doesn’t require interviewing the whole league. I know the Raiders made him the highest paid DB in the league, and when that contract voided, reports were that the Bucs, Cowboys, Eagles, Jets and Ravens all wanted to court him, knowing that a realistic contract offer would have to be massive.

            Most of the teams in the NFL are not in any position to court any marquee free agents in a given year for a variety of reasons. That isn’t the same as a tacit nod that all the top free agents are overpaid and overrated.

          • I talked to a lot of people around the league, prior to the signing and after, about Asomugha, who was considered the prize of the 2011 free agent class. Everyone I spoke with agreed Asomugha was the real deal. No one suggested his skills were diminishing. No one hinted that his attitude was poor.

            – Ray Didinger, 2/28/13


          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, read that as well. Didinger is a good writer, and I respect his opinion. I believe him when he says that he spoke to people that thought Asomugha was still playing at that elite level. I still don’t take it as proof that Asomugha was universally coveted throughout the league.

            There was dissent about Nnamdi’s ability, at the time, which leads me to believe that some people saw something. Here’s an article from igglesblitz where Tommy Lawlor tries to interpret Greg Cosell’s comment that there wasn’t that big of a difference between Ike Taylor and Nnamdi:


            Lawlor seems to imply that Cosell is just “showing some love” to Ike Taylor. Anyone who has listened to or read Cosell knows that the notion is patently absurd. Cosell is extremely cautious about what he says in regards to players–he would never endorse a guy or give a professional opinion based on showing somebody some “love”. He watches tape, and reports on what he sees. If Cosell saw that Nnamdi wasn’t at that elite level, there were other people that saw it, too. Sam Monson, for one, from PFF. Those are guys that have watching tape in their job title.

            There is just no way that at the moment Asomugha signed on the dotted line for the Eagles, his play plummeted off a cliff. Castillo miscast him as a moveable chess piece in the defense, sure, but Asomugha was racking up PI and giving up big plays from the moment he put midnight green on, even when playing press man.

          • Stephen Stempo

            Yeah very much outcome bias. I’m lazy but I’m fairly certain I can put together a very long list of players who didn’t live up to expectations after the signing. And by this logic we can point to every one of those signings as terrible. This line of thinking also means that if you’re scouting on a player isn’t great and you sign him anyway and he plays well or above expectation it too was a bad signing.

            Listen you can point to many mistakes the FO made. Nnamdi is easily either not one of them or the least of them.

            Unless you got hater- aide in your veins.

          • GoBirds1

            NA, ‘we signed him for less than market value’, bhahahaah! You are joking, right. Because that is what Howie said at the time therefore it was fact. Face it the young gun check writer got bagged. If he was worth more, he would have taken it from some other team. NA took the best deal. Who else was in the market, Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson – look at the train wreck contracts they have hitched their teams to. Bottom line – NA was DOA. It is time to move on and accept your losses – Howie!

          • I think Asomugha gets 1 more year on the team. I don’t think they are letting all of the safeties go, but I think that none of them are safe. I would wager that Anderson gets kept (special teams). The other 3 all have equal shots to go, but I think we keep 2 from the current roster. The key with Nnamdi is that they can’t match him up with the speedy recievers. He needs to be on a TE, big reciever like Megatron, or he needs to sit. He just can’t match up with guys like Mike Wallace, and Julio Jones anymore. Juan actually had the right idea when he said he wanted to use him like a Woodson type player. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a position switch for somebody on the team to safety. Marsh is a big bodied guy who can run, and Nnamdi could be a ft there as well, especially if we pick up a shut down corner in the draft like Millner. If our backfield next season was LCB DRC, RCB Millner, FS Nnamdi, SS Coleman/ Marsh, I would not be surprised. There really aren’t strick “in the box” type safeties anymore.

        • I think Cole gets traded for draft picks. There are plenty of teams out there willing to take a chance on a pass rusher.

      • I think 2 stay and 2 go. and there is possibly a position switch of Marsh or Nnamdi to safety.

  • JofreyRice

    Free Agents:

    DRC, Landri, Tapp, Dunlap – Let ’em go. DRC seems to need a a “wake-up call” too many times during the season. Great athlete, but can’t stay focused. The rest probably aren’t scheme fits. Neither Landri nor Tapp have a natural spot in a 3-4, and Dunlap move blocks about as well as Martin Landau; he wasn’t a scheme fit for Mudd, either.

    Colt Anderson, Jake Scott, Dorenbos, Jordan – Keep. Colt and Akeem are good ST’ers that can start in a pinch. Good to keep those guys around. Scott’s a better guard than Danny Watkins. Dorenbos is good at magic.

    • lol at dorenbos comment.

      • JofreyRice

        very underrated aspect of locker-room chemistry.

        • Dustin Kean

          forgot you were in the locker room….or that the eagles players told you anything…

          • JofreyRice

            It’s OK, just don’t let it happen again.

    • The secondary already looks bad, but if you take DRC out of the picture it’s ghastly. It raises the degree of difficultly in rebuilding the secondary that much higher. And the secondary isn’t the only issue with this team, obviously. The Eagles can’t afford to throw all their resources into reshaping a single unit.

      • JofreyRice

        See, I think this is where we may differ a bit. The secondary, in my opinion was already ghastly. I see it as in need of a complete reload. There was no coordination, no accountability, and at times questionable effort. DRC was a big part of that; the guy has been caught loafing on multiple plays during his years here. DRC has the physical tools, but the last time he put it all together on the field for a consistent stretch of games was 2009. That’s a hell of a long time ago in the NFL. I don’t think his athletic promise and potential is enough to keep him around through low motivation/high motivation cycling he’s seemed to go through since then.

        There are other mid-career options available in FA, that might come with less baggage, and more passion for the game. Bradley Fletcher is probably going to be available from the Rams. Leodis McKelvin from the Bills, maybe Sean Smith from the Dolphins. All those guys were better on the field than DRC last year. None have the physical gifts, but physical ability isn’t everything.

    • I think you can upgrade Jordan through the draft. DRC should get a shot. Why get rid of a good thing in Dorenbos?

  • jabostick

    DRC fits Kelly’s model of tall (tall’ish anyway) and fast. I think if they can get a reasonable price (and a typical Philly-style ‘escapable’ contract) I’m guessing Chip would make him a priority signing in the hopes he can motivate him.

    • ohitsdom

      Agreed. When DRC showed up, he played well. Main problem was consistency. I think Kelly’s focus on coaching in that aspect should help him there.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I think Jim Leavitt would be a very nice DC choice. He has college and pro experience and has proven to be able to succeed with less than stellar talent while also being able to manage the egos of Pro Bowl players. I admired those USF teams for their toughness and you can’t argue with the success his linebackers had this year. He’s also an older guy that might not be looking to climb the ladder a la JJ, but would treat the DC job like a HC job.

  • peteike

    Please release DRC asap. How many times can a guys effort and character be questioned before everyone realizes the guy is what he is. Hes not going to change, not reliable, end of story. Bring back Colt and Dorenbos, the rest can go

  • Jake

    I know it will be hard for them to let both DRC and Aso go but it needs to be done. Aso because he cant play anymore and DRC because you cant have that kind of personality around the team. Time to start fresh. And if Desean wants to keep opening his mouth id say ship him out too. A team has to be a team to succeed. Not a collection of individuals out for themselves.

  • DRC is the only talented member of our secondary and he’s still 26. Let him go and rebuilding the secondary is harder than it already is now. Who are you planning to replace him with?

    • peteike

      ya, talented when he wants to be, on his time. You want that attitude around because he makes plays “sometimes”? Guy could be great and chooses not to be. Try to find the next 5 yr cb and not over pay DRC for half effort.

      • I don’t really care about what he “could” be. I care about what he is, which is a hell of a lot better than anything else they have in the secondary.

        • JofreyRice

          He was PFF’s #96th ranked CB. 96th! They report that in 62 tackle attempts he missed 11. He did have a +2.9 coverage rating, but the overall was dragged down by his rating against the run and the amount of penalties he committed in coverage. 11 penalties, second in the league only to rookie Stephon Gilmore. He doesn’t commit any 3 of those PI’s and his coverage rating goes into the tank.

          For comparison, Nnamdi was ranked 102nd overall. Let up a QB Rating of 120.6 when opposing QBs were throwing at him. Atrocious.

          So to say you’re not concerned with what he “could” means you think DRC playing at this level is good enough. I can’t agree.

  • I think Asomugha gets 1 more year on the team. I don’t think they are
    letting all of the safeties go, but I think that none of them are safe. I
    would wager that Anderson gets kept (special teams). The other 3 all
    have equal shots to go, but I think we keep 2 from the current roster.
    The key with Nnamdi is that they can’t match him up with the speedy
    receivers. He needs to be on a TE, big receiver like Megatron, or he
    needs to sit. He just can’t match up with guys like Mike Wallace, Victor Cruz and
    Julio Jones anymore. Juan Castillo actually had the right idea when he said he
    wanted to use him like a Woodson type player. I also wouldn’t be
    surprised to see a position switch for somebody on the team to safety.
    Marsh is a big bodied guy who can run, and Nnamdi could be a ft there as
    well, especially if we pick up a shut down corner in the draft like
    Millner. If our backfield next season was LCB DRC, RCB Millner, Boykin NCB, FS
    Nnamdi/ Allen, SS Coleman/ Marsh, I would not be surprised. There really aren’t
    strick “in the box” type safeties anymore.