Measurables Matter: Kelly Wanted Bigger Players

As it turns out, the foundation for the Eagles’ 2013 draft was laid during a meeting at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Jan. 5.

That’s when Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski first interviewed Chip Kelly about the Eagles’ head-coaching position.

“During the interview process, he talked about having position specifics, which is not uncommon for coaches,” Roseman said. “Then when he got here, we sat down together, and then as a staff, talked about what we were looking for and what he was looking for and what we had. Then we made a template up, and we gave it to all our scouts and all of our coaches, and we said this is what we’re looking for at this position, and that’s what we’re going to try to get.”

It was a change for the entire personnel staff. Suddenly, they were looking for players who fit Kelly’s mold, not Andy Reid’s. And the new guy had his own vision. He wanted length on defense. He wanted athleticism on the offensive line. He preferred his quarterback to have big hands.

In what Kelly described as “very specific” terms, he laid it all out for Roseman and the personnel staff. Then it was their job to find him what he needed.

“If you constantly take the overachiever at every position, you’re going to be too small,” Kelly said. “If you take the short defensive tackle backed up by the short middle linebacker backed up by the short safety, then all of a sudden your team’s going to get run over. I think there’s some certain lines where there is a combination of all of it. I think you still have to adhere to we wanted to get bigger and we felt like we did. I think size is important, but there’s not one factor that overrides the other. I think you have to look at the whole package when you’re making those decisions.”

Examples? All three cornerbacks the Eagles have added in free agency and the draft are 6-feet or taller. Matt Barkley has 10 1/8-inch hands, the second-biggest among all the quarterbacks who were drafted. Earl Wolff ran a 4.44 at the Combine, the second-fastest time of any safety in the past three years.

While Bennie Logan is only 6-2, he has 34-inch arms, the kind of length you might see from an offensive tackle. Defensive end Joe Kruger, a seventh-round pick, is 6-6. Defensive tackle David King, another seventh-rounder is 6-5. So is new tight end Zach Ertz.

Go up and down the list, and you can begin to make educated guesses about what Kelly is looking for.

“There’s certain, I wouldn’t call them deal-breakers, but there’s certain things that set other people back,” Kelly said. “What’s the difference between Player A and Player B? A lot of times, the measurables are the first thing that kind of match up. And then you kind of move from there. But there’s parameters from all of that, yes.”

The bottom line? It seems unlikely that the Eagles will add guys who are generally described as “just football players” if they don’t match the team’s size/speed template. The most important factor is obviously whether a guy is capable of producing on the field and what he’s shown on film, but measurables are absolutely going to matter during the Kelly era.

“It depends on what position you’re talking about,” Roseman said. “But there are certain positions he wants to get bigger, he wants to get longer, and there are also positions he wants to be athletic and explosive. I think when you look at his Oregon teams, he had a nice mix of that. [Jonathan] Stewart was his running back at one time, then LaMichael James and [Kenjon] Barner. So again, it’s personnel-driven and he’s not going to throw away a really good player just because they’re not perfect fits.”

Roseman’s comments probably relate more to the current roster than new player acquisition. The Eagles have several guys right now who probably don’t fit the Kelly prototype. But you can’t add 53 new players in one offseason.

For now, the coach’s job is to identify the best talent and make it work. In time, we’ll see how the template evolves.

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  • “Big people beat up little people”…”you go small, we smash you”… Absolutely love our new philosophy

    • cliff henny

      next line was great “and you thought football was hard” as he shrugs his shoulder.

      • Geagle

        I seriously feel like I just got released from a 14year football prison sentence!!!!
        I like it when like 5 people ask chip a question at once, and he starts rolling his head around like he has no idea where its all coming from…..

        • cliff henny

          i very rarely laugh out loud when sitting at my computer…but when eskin asked him a 5 part long winded stroking his own ego ‘look at all i know’ question and kelly answered ‘yes’ and looked to the other side…yeah, i really liked that! how is that fat bearded egotistical jerk-off still floating around?!

          • Geagle

            he did put the Burger King mascot back in his place!….you know who drives me just as crazy? spike eskin!!! ugh

        • dollamakeuholla

          I loved his response when asked how he will use his 3 TE’s. He said “i will hold up 3 fingers and they will go in” If they cover with LB’s we will pass all over them, if they cover with CB’s we will smash it down their throat. It’s and easy game! Gotta love that

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    These will be some tough cuts this summer to get to 53. cant wait to see what the team and position numbers look like. no fbs this year.

  • cliff henny

    that’s great, smaller guys get run over…WHO KNEW?!?! well, every eagle fan!!! hey chip, what happens when the d-ends lines up at the numbers on 1st down? oh, they basically walk the ball 7 yards downfield, interesting…yup, you’re right. kelly must be wonder how in the world reid won 140 games.

  • Andy

    I am very uncomfortable right now with his complete lack of use of the term “high motor.”

    • PaoliBulldog

      I propose “superior VO2 max.”

  • PaoliBulldog

    I was in New Orleans when Mike Ditka proved what an idiot he was at talent evaluation. All he ever talked about was “warriors” and “winners” and he wound up with players like Ricky Williams (beta version), Danny Wuerffel, Heath Shuler, yada yada yada. Compared to Ditka, Kelly is from a different planet. You’ve still got to play the games, of course, but if the Eagles don’t succeed with Kelly, I’m going to disconnect my cable and internet and quit following sports.

    • Geagle

      I hear you man! Like everyone, I am a beaten down, dejected, jaded, synical Philadelphia eagles fan….and then Chip came around, and turned me into this optimistic Homer lol…If everything he does, genuinly makes sense to me, how can I just force myself to be bitter and synical….I have went into plenty of seasons these past 14 years thinking we had a chance to be a good team, but I really cant recall this level of excitement…its just like a curse and stench has been removed from this organization…2 good drafts in a row…give me two more drafts like that, andwe will certainly have a shot….and once Kapernick gets his first concussion, our odds will increase exponentially lol

  • obamasblockingback

    Michael Vick has small hands–

    • Jack Waggoner

      He does. They’re also very strong and could crush you.

  • chris

    you know, for years i would watch the games on tv and think “WHY do our guys look so much smaller than the other team”. I realized i was thinking that pretty consistently, and there you have it — we are all smaller. LOVE this new philosophy of grabbing big mean guys to build a solid foundation. Excited for the future!

    • cliff henny

      kelly had a meeting with d-line and as they were walking in he turned to howie saying ‘that’s a good looking group of linebackers, but they’re up next”
      howie “nope, that’s the d-line…wait till you meet our wide outs”
      kelly..’wait, what?!…where’s my sports science guy?!!!!”

  • JofreyRice

    This is a nice feeling for those of us that hated Reids “Fastballz” philosophy since its critical flaws became crystal clear. I think it’s cool that we’re going to have a regular sized football team, eventually.

  • Football definitely isn’t rocket science. Kelly’s common sense approach is a breath of fresh air after the dysfunction mess of the past. Fundamentally, he’s correct “a team full of overachievers simply aren’t good enough” Now, let us get to the work of oiling up this offense and fielding a competitive team for Sept.

    I’m conceding the defense, it’s long been a thorn in the Eagles side. But with this offense there is no reason to settle for less then contending for the division crown.

    • GEAGLE

      I think we will def be in the Hunt for the division…..I’m not going to tell you we will have a good defense..but compared to last years quitters and incompetent coaching, we are going to look like the steel curtain lol..Our defense still needs work….but I can see us being good on 3rd down, and that will give us a chance ATleast.

  • xlGmanlx

    In chip we trust

  • Most of Andy rieds success was from the previous head coach Ray Rhodes drafts – Dawkins, Vincent , Taylor, Trotter .. Get the drift … Ried didn’t know and still has no clue how to draft

    • Myke Lowery

      Really? Rhodes drafted Troy Vincent?

      • James Skip Carl

        Vincent was a free agent

        • Myke Lowery

          I was just giving him a hard time

    • Troy Vincent was drafted by the Dolphins. He signed with the Eagles in 96

    • James Skip Carl

      And because of Jim Johnson

    • I know we are all excited about Chip Kelly as I am as well but you can’t act like Andy Reid did nothing for us for 14 years but be carried by everyone else. It’s just sounds like revisionists history.

  • Ebrano

    Looking forward to the 3 TE look… if the defense counters with DBs, we run it, and if it’s LBs we throw it. And you thought football was hard.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Exactly CK gonna simplify the whole offense…aint gonna need Foled 160 IQ