Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com says Chip Kelly better be careful:
Now, there will be fans who love this. They will absolutely adore Kelly. They love the notion of a coach smacking around a bunch of whiny millionaire athletes — their beliefs, not mine.
But there is a danger here. Kelly had better be careful because coaches better than him have tried this, and coaches better than him have failed. Kelly is putting himself inside a tight box. If he doesn’t win quickly, the doubts will arrive fast, coming from inside the locker room that won’t forget how he demoted players in OTAs.
SI.com’s Don Banks stopped by practice this week and noted the differences between Chip Kelly and Andy Reid:
For starters, rather than tiptoeing past Reid’s office as they did in the past, several players told me Kelly’s open-door policy is quite refreshing. The new coach wants to hear their questions and concerns about his new methods, because he knows information is his ally in this case. If the players get the why behind his ways, they’re more likely to get onboard. At least until the regular season begins and the games start providing a weekly referendum on the Kelly regime. If a coach wins in the NFL, he could be a mass murderer and the players would follow him anywhere.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com doesn’t think Kelly is facing a full rebuild:
The Eagles are more unsettled than the rest of the NFC East. The secondary is totally new and could be a complete disaster. But this is not a rebuilding team. Kelly probably believes he can contend in a watered down division right away, and he’s right. There’s more than enough talent here to compete.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland suggests a documentary about the Eagles-Patriots combined practices in August:
Oh, it’s just the best coach of the past 15 years having two days of practices with the guy who might very well become the best coach of the next 15 years. And sure, these might just be “practices,” but these are awfully competitive coaches; throw in some of our Kickstarter money as a motivator, and I’m pretty sure the ensuing seven-on-seven no-huddle drill will revolutionize the game of football and possibly make both the scoreboard and Chris Brown’s head explode. Getting cameras on this is basically guaranteeing yourself a 60 for 60 movie down the line.
Matt Williamson of ESPN.com gives the Eagle an “A” for their offseason moves:
I also expect Kelly to rotate a lot of bodies in at the skill positions to constantly have fresh personnel on the field, which could make Benn’s role more substantial. The Eagles appear to be overloaded with quality tight ends, but Kelly has a plan and guys like Casey and Zach Ertz can align all over the formation and create mismatches in the passing game. This staff did re-sign Michael Vick, but Matt Barkley was just too good to pass up in Round 4. He isn’t a great runner, but Barkley is a very quick decision-maker who has the football intelligence to operate this offense.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com has an alternative view of the Cary Williams saga:
These guys aren’t just characters who appear on a weekly TV show on Sundays in the fall. They’re human beings. The job they do is brutally tough, exhausting, even crippling, and they do it for our enjoyment. They subject their bodies to pain and exhaustion and breakage from late July through December. And while yes, they are well compensated for that effort, they are putting it forth under an agreement that specifically allows them to live their lives the way they want to live them away from the football field in May and June. They should be allowed to do so without their bosses or their fans making them feel as though they’re not living up to their end of the bargain.
Charley Casserly of NFL.com says the Eagles’ QB battle is more intriguing than the Jets’:
You have so many different elements. Not only is there a new coach, but questions abound in terms of what type of system he might run. Chip Kelly comes from the college ranks, completely lacking in pro experience — how will that factor in? How much read-option will Philly run? Can Michael Vick stay healthy? How will Vick do in the West Coast-style passing game of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur? If Nick Foles is the QB, how much read-option do we see then? If he runs it, will he be successful when he keeps the ball? Foles is entering his second year, but he is learning a new offense — will this slow down his development? Then you have the rookie, Matt Barkley. He could have been a first-round pick a year ago, but the Eagles took him in the fourth round in April, despite the fact that they already had two QBs who started games for them last year. Is Barkley’s arm strong enough? What kind of offense do you run with him? He is not a threat as a runner — how does that play into the read-option offense?