Jason Kelce has not spent much time away from the NovaCare Complex this offseason. The Eagles’ center estimated that the longest stretch he’s gone without stepping foot in the practice facility has been one week.
“I’ve always been a guy that’s around here a lot,” Kelce said earlier this summer. “Part of that is I think we just have great facilities, and I try to make sure that I’m in shape year-round, trying to improve my physical abilities. And obviously for this year, it was really important just to try to hone in on the quad strength in particular to get back to where it was before the injury.”
Kelce is coming off a torn ACL which he sustained in Week 2 of the 2012 season. The third-year player watched from afar as his teammates labored through a disastrous 4-12 campaign.
Now playing for a new coach, Kelce has earned praise from Chip Kelly all offseason for the work he’s put in at the team’s facility. And Kelly knows the O-Line will play a major role in determining how quickly his offense can get on track.
“I would think what we do helps him,” Kelly said. “I think there are a lot of double teams. …I would think what we do caters to Jason’s strength also. He’s extremely quick. He can get on 3-techniques pretty fast. He does a great job because he is such a smart player of reading double teams and who is coming off on the linebacker.
“So a lot of what we do… they ran a lot of zone plays here last year, so I don’t think it’s drastically different from a run game standpoint than what they were doing last year.”
Aside from actually executing blocks, Kelce is also in charge of setting the Eagles’ protection up front. The pre-snap routine requires communication between all of the offensive linemen, and the quarterback has the ability to change the call at the line of scrimmage. But it’s Kelce’s job to identify the front and put the offense in position to successfully block the play.
Earlier this summer, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland used terms like “tremendous” and “off-the-charts” to describe Kelce’s football acumen. Kelly seems to agree.
“He’s really the leader of those guys up front,” Kelly said. “I think our O‑line calls start with him. It’s between him and the quarterback and making sure the protection is set the right way. He’s got a great football mind. He’s one of those guys that I would say when he’s done playing, he’ll be a great coach because I think his attention to detail, how much film he watches, how much he studies the game. I think he’s done a great job so far.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
T-Mac talks to Lane Johnson about his big week – both personally and professionally. Do yourself a favor and click on the pic of Johnson’s baby’s monster hands.
Eagles players explain how they scored two touchdowns on the same play last week, using a run-pass option concept. No-22 shots included!
From playing time to the D-Line rotation to the addition of WR Jeff Maehl, here are three practice leftovers from Tuesday.
Billy Davis breaks down the Eagles’ breakdown on defense vs. the Pats.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
LeSean McCoy is expecting big things from DeSean Jackson this year, writes Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com:
“I think he’s back,” said McCoy, who led the NFL with 20 touchdowns two years ago. “I think the DeSean Jackson that we always knew about and saw and missed is back.
“I think Coach Kelly has a lot to do with it. I think [Jackson’s] attitude is different. Just the way he’s working in the weight room, conditioning wise, the way he’s practicing, I think he’s back.
Great post by Jimmy Kempski over at Philly.com on Vinny Curry’s first step:
There were times in which Curry was lined up along the interior DL and he got doubled in the run game. In those situations, he had difficulty anchoring against the run. That’s understandable, and it’s probably best for the Eagles to try to keep him out of those situations whenever they can. However, it seems pretty clear that Vinny Curry absolutely has a role in this defense as an interior pass rusher, and he can be a very effective one.
The Eagles’ walk-through is closed to the media, but we have plenty to get to.