Casey Matthews cut off his locks and is sporting a fresh new look. Time to change things up, he said.
That has pretty much been the mantra of the Eagles this offseason. The organization — the city — is dizzy with all the alterations Chip Kelly is making. What is foreign to most, though, feels quite familiar to the former Duck linebacker.
“Practices are the exact same from college. Up-tempo, fast, music playing,” said Matthews. “Meetings — pretty much everything — all the way to nutrition, and coming off and getting the smoothies and snacks. It worked for him there, so why can’t it work here?”
Matthews didn’t have any inside scoop on the Kelly hire despite his Oregon ties. ESPN was on in the background while he was working out back on January 16 (which happens to be his birthday) when the news broke. He got a call from Kelly that weekend. The coach told him that he would be running things similarly to the way he did at Oregon, and that he was bringing the up-tempo pace with him.
“I thought he was going to have to adjust just a little bit, just because you are dealing with NFL players who are older, but he has a specific way he wants things done,” said Matthews. “He put a lot of research behind everything he does. He has the sleep monitors to tell us how long we have been asleep. We’ve got the heart-rate monitors, too, just stuff like that.”
Matthews added that the defensive scheme has been “tweaked” but there seems to be some similarities to what he played in at Oregon.
His teammates have had plenty of questions for him, anxious to know about Kelly and his unique style.
“Shady has been asking me the most,” Matthews noted with a smile.
For a player facing an uncertain future in Philadelphia, this is probably the best-case scenario. Matthews gets his old coach, and knows what to expect where others do not. But that will only take him so far.
“I’m sure it can’t hurt having your college coach but you have to put in the work and learn the scheme,” he said. “He’s not going to play favorites.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil breaks down the 2013 Eagles schedule. He has the Birds going 14-2.
LeSean McCoy says Kelly’s offense “is like a freaking track meet.”
In the latest Twitter Mailbag, we talk Dion Jordan, tackles and trade scenarios.
Kapadia checks in on the state of the offensive line.
A hungry Vinny Curry gets a shot at defensive end.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has released his top 50 prospects in this year’s draft. His top five, in order: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei and Jordan. On Lotulelei:
Lotulelei seems to have been given a clean bill of health following a scare at the NFL Scouting Combine. Many have compared him to Haloti Ngata, but I actually think he is a poor man’s Ndamukong Suh. He can play in either scheme, but he’s best suited to play DE in the 3-4.
Jason La Canfora doesn’t seem to have the same tackle ranking as most.
There is going to be an early run on tackles — Joeckel, Fisher and rising tackle D.J. Fluker, who I continue to hear the Cardinals are high on — are all likely to go in the first seven picks. While some teams are down on Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, enough feel he is relatively safe that I expect him to go in the first half of the first round.
This is what one agent told LaCanfora:
“This is the weirdest draft I’ve ever been a part of. We looked at those initial grades and seven of the top 10 grades went to linemen. There were literally no skill players. I’ve never seen anything like it. We have no idea how it will play out next week. I don’t think anyone does.”
EJ Manuel checks in with his latest draft diary entry, plus much more draft coverage.