Inside Voices: Getting On Kelly’s Bad Side

chipkelly_400_102613Casey Matthews was asked: What’s the angriest you’ve ever seen Chip Kelly? He smiled immediately as the answer popped right to the front of his brain.

The offseason heading into Matthews’ senior year, Kelly’s players kept showing up in the news for all the wrong reasons.  Running back LaMichael James was arrested  on domestic violence charges. Place-kicker Rob Beard and defensive end Matt Simms were charged with misdemeanor assault for their involvement in a street fight. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was identified as a suspect in a theft.

Kelly called a team meeting to express his disappointment. That night linebacker Kiko Alonso was cited for driving under the influence.

“He told us the guy was off the team. He was mad,” said Matthews. “We were in the team meeting room. He rips us for the offseason — everyone is getting in trouble, the star quarterback was stealing from a frat, domestic violence charge, a bunch of little stuff — finally he calls a team meeting, rips us — get it together — and then that night [the DUI]. It was bad.

“He couldn’t breathe. That was the worst I’ve seen.”

Matthews says Kelly hasn’t gotten anywhere near that level through eight games with the Eagles. [“He hasn’t really gone off on us,” he said.] Instead, Kelly has been very even-keeled despite the early struggles. Matthews noted that where some coaches will respond to losses by getting on the players the following week at practice, Kelly keeps the environment loose and doesn’t change his tactics.

“He doesn’t stray away from his vision. He has his vision, he has his routines, how he wants things run,” said Matthews.

What’s his pregame demeanor like?

The former Duck linebacker says there is no Al Pacino “Any Given Sunday” moments with Kelly. His pregame speech is more of a concise statement. The longer, more inspirational talks are reserved for the day before in the hotel. Kelly will find stories from outside  the football world that his team can draw on for perspective. An example?

“There was an extreme sports guy, a kayaker I think up in Washington, he wanted to do a freefall off a waterfall,” said Matthews. “[Kelly] was talking about leading up to it, talking about his preparation, and he related that to how you prepare heading into a game, really anything in life you have to prepare for. You can’t just go in and expect results without preparing.”

Kelly showed them the video of the kayaker successfully taking the plummet off the waterfall.

“Funny because the guys on our team when they watch that, they’re like, ‘That guy is crazy!’ But [Chip] talked to him, and he said we’re the crazy ones playing football. It’s funny how that works.”

Curry Stays Put…For Now

Vinny Curry‘s teammates were giving him a hard time as the trade deadline approached, encouraging him to take a break from social media.

He couldn’t help but be curious. His name was being floated. The Eagles were fielding calls. He didn’t think he was going anywhere but you never know.

Was there a sigh of relief when 4 p.m. Tuesday came and went?

“Ah, no man. It’s not like that at all,” said Curry. “I wasn’t worried. It would have been what it would have been. When you are young and you just love the game…It’s not like I have a set family here or I’m married with kids or anything.

“You hear all that stuff but the only thing I can control is what I can control. If it happened it happened if it didn’t I’m still here. I love my teammates and I’m just ready to continue to work hard.”

In all honesty, Curry would probably have welcomed a trade earlier this season. He wasn’t dressing on game day and didn’t want to languish on the bench for another year. His agent came out and said he was open to the idea of moving Curry elsewhere.

And there was some interest. According to one source, the Cowboys, Broncos and Jaguars all inquired.

Curry is not an ideal scheme fit here in Philly.  Best suited as a 4-3 end. But he has found success as an interior pass rusher on throwing downs. The Eagles see value there. No offers were sweet enough so they held onto him for now, though more conversations will likely be had in the offseason. Curry obviously likes representing the team he grew up cheering for, but sounds open to whatever might come his way.

“You just want to be a dominant player,” he said, “and help a team win football games.”

 Lane Johnson Vs. Pro Football Focus

Rookie right tackle Lane Johnson has an eye on you, Pro Football Focus, and he is not pleased.

“As far as our o-line grades, I grade well pretty consistently,” said Johnson. “Pro Football Focus grades I never grade well. I’ve had some of my best games the past four games and I still keep having negative grades. I don’t know what the logistics are or how they do it, but I got to start doing what Evan [Mathis] does I guess because he beats everybody on that.”

Mathis is undoubtedly the darling of PFF, grading out not just as one of the best linemen but one of the best players in all of the NFL. Johnson? Not so much. He has received an overall negative rating in six of eight games. Only once has he gotten a positive grade in pass protection (against New York the first time around).

“Most of the time I stay away from that because if I look at it I get mad because it seems no matter what I do I can’t [get a good grade],” he said.

Johnson can take solace in the fact that his coaches are viewing his performances in a more positive light. The Eagles’ linemen are graded on a scale of 0-3. Here is how it breaks down:

0 –A total, flat out failure.
1 — Knowing your assignment and not getting it done.
2 –Knowing your assignment and getting the job done.
3 — Total domination.

“My assignments are mostly twos. Sometimes if I give up a pressure or something that will be a one, stuff like that and then they’ll average it out. Most of the time the grades will be like 1.7, 1.8.”

The last four games, there has been an upward swing — by his coach’s count, at least.


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  • theycallmerob

    Chip should add a “-1” grade, where you spend a day at practice fielding the missed kicks and passes while getting glared at by Coach Fipp

    • Chris


    • jabostick

      I wouldn’t be surprised if real, actual lasers shot out of his eyes if he glared too long

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    Surprised to learn actual NFL players know about and at least occasionally review Pro Football Focus. Even more surprised that he shared his actual internal grades, and makes me want Sheil and Tim to collect the internal grades of every player every week on every play and post in spreadsheet format. It would be interesting to see the correlation between all 11 players’ individual grades on a given play and the result of that play.

    • Adam

      Evan Mathis is a big social media/computer nerd type guy. He’s very vain, loves to google himself. I’m not even joking. One day I tweeted “Is Evan Mathis searching his own name on twitter again?” with no @’s directed towards his account and he fav’d it.

      No doubt he keeps the rest of the line up to date on their PFF grades.

      • anon

        So you think the guest vote here is Mathis? Hi Evan, you’re doing a great job!

    • Will

      C’mon player’s read the press, surf the web, heck who do you think the guess votes are? lol…there human…..Nate Allen feels the love…

      • cliff henny

        if that’s the case, then i apologize to kurt coleman’s dog, because of the irrational nasty hate i was tossing out last 2 yrs, sure he took it out on something…sure as sh!t wasnt on the field

  • JofreyRice

    I started following PFF back in 2009, when they were a relatively obscure stat site. I can say, that this season, the week-to-week grading is not as accurate as it’s been in year’s past. With their growth, they’ve added a bunch of analysts in order to make game reviews available earlier, and I think the quality has suffered a bit. I don’t know if they cross check, but there have been a number of easily spotted errors. For me, they give me a general idea about a player, more than a conclusive definition.

    That being said, Lane Johnson has looked downright bad to me, in pass pro, specifically. The interesting thing here, is that neither I, nor PFF know what his responsibilities on a given play are. When he gets destroyed around the edge by a rusher, there’s not much to know other than the fact that he’s a rookie, but on plays where he’s letting guys go inside, only the coaches know whether or not he was supposed to receive some help from Herremans. If they think he’s playing in a way where he’s mostly covering his assignment on a given play, then I think that’s pretty much the final authority. We can just hope he improves to the point of dominance we’d hope we’d see from the #4 overall pick. He has the athletic ability to be that guy, certainly.

    • theycallmerob

      The interesting thing here, is that neither I, nor PFF know what his responsibilities on a given play are.

      Not only that, but a few QB issues have hurt him as well. The last all-22 showed Barkley holding onto the ball too long (on the bryce wheel-route) which led to the sack from the LDE. I put that more on Matt than LJ.

      Not to say this in defense of his play. He’s been all-around average, or slightly better than that. But nothing about his play screams him being “overwhelmed” in the NFL; he’s just green. Don’t think anyone sees him as Danny Watkins 2.0. A few fans in camp and PS didn’t even think he should be starting from Day 1. All in all, I’m not too depressed over his play.
      One last thing- I wonder if playing next to Herremans is also affecting him? Smart guy and all, but definitely the weakest link on the OL

    • Adam

      As far as I know, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel (pre-injury) were struggling as bad, if not worst. I’m thinking it’s just more of a case of being green. He was settling in playing with Vick, the rotating door at QB and their erratic play hasn’t been doing him any favors.

      • Bdawkbdawk

        Hasn’t Fluker been playing well? I haven’t watched – there just seems to be a bit of a buzz around him.
        Knowing an OL’s assignment on a given play would be doubly useful. In addition to knowing if a player is executing his blocks, it also would probably inform us of the staff’s impressions of the player. I’d imagine Chip and Stout tweak the Olinemen’s assignments based on what they think the players are capable of.

        • Adam

          Fluker has been playing well in pass, bad in run.

          King Dunlap is, I believe, the highest rated tackle right now in pass blocking according to PFF.

          It was tough to even type that.

          • theedevilsadvocate

            king dunlap no way… wow…

          • Token

            Thats because Rivers has been getting it our really quick in this offense.

            A good QB making quick decisions will ALWAYS make the Oline look better. We will find that guy someday.

          • JofreyRice

            Nah, Dunlap is grading out a bit negatively in pass blocking (-2.0). +7.4 in run blocking, according to them.

            Fluker’s just a hair negative in run blocking at -0.9. Overall, they have him at a +3.4 for the year. I can’t say I’ve really watched those guys to know how accurate any of that is, like I said, gives you an idea of where they are. Apparently, they tried to start Fluker at LT one game, and that totally wrecked his rating; couldn’t handle it.

          • ACViking

            Withdrawn . . . in light of JofreyRice comment

  • ztom6

    Curry is best suited as a 4-3 DT, not DE IMO. His best skill is penetrating, not edge rushing.

    • anon

      that’s my best skill too

      • Maggie

        See? Ego is found everywhere. Lol

  • Johnny_P

    I knew Chip Kelly had that proverbial fire in his belly. I loved the most recent press conference. This team has lacked an edge for a long time, but I’m starting to see it come back.

    • ACViking

      Either that, or Kelly’s slowly losing his control over his emotions.

      In another month, it’ll be interesting to compare a photo of Kelly when he took the job in January 2013 versus how he looks almost 12 months later.

      • Johnny_P

        Fair point. Someone answer this question. Why would a successful college coach, such as Kelly, ever leave a program as prominent as Oregon with the backing of Phil Knight (Nike). Nike throws tens of thousands of dollars to the program, it’s by all accounts a cushy job. Oregon is constantly in the top 10 year in and year out. Yes, I know they were hit with sanctions but they weren’t as severe as some of these other schools. Is it just a pride thing? The coaches just want to see if they can ‘figure out the nfl’? The hours are longer, the players are paid athletes that usually make more than the coach. In other words the inmates are running the asylum. What’s the draw????????

        • ACViking

          Just a guess, but . . .

          These guys — like Kelly, Saban, Jimmy Johnson, or any other HC at a major university where he’s King of the World — have BIG egos.

          Saban had been in the NFL, so he knew what it was like. And he’d notched a (mythical) National Title at LSU before leaving. He’d worked with Belichick. And the world said Saban was better than sliced bread.

          Johnson had accomplished all he could in college. Head coach for 10 season for two teams. Won a (mythical) National Title just before jumping to Dallas. And the guy loves a challenge.

          Kelly, though, didn’t win any championships. Maybe he saw the crimson writing on the wall. Or maybe Oregon’s president invited him to leave after getting wind of the sanctions — which may have been worse if Kelly’d remained HC in Eugene.

          Or maybe Kelly believes all the press — despite his protestations — that he’s an offensive genius who’s figured out the better mouse trap.

          I don’t know. But Kelly’s the odd duck in the group (bad pun, but not intended). No college championship. No NFL experience. Only a HC for 4 years and 6 years in Div-I.

          But he has a big ego. Like Saban. Like Johnson. And that’s fine, as long as you back it up.

          • Johnny_P

            I think you’re on point with Ego. Saban’s failures in the NFL honestly surprised me. I realize his dictatorship mentality was a turn-off to players, but he inherited a mess and was able to string together one winning season before bolting back to the college ranks. I think he just woke up one day and told himself that coaching in the NFL is not a glamour job. The long hours, the diva mentality of players, the limited rosters, the salary cap, free agency, the owner’s influence, etc. College atmosphere is much more exciting than the NFL. Let’s be honest, Fans in NFL games, with exception to Arrowhead & Seattle, sit on their hands. There is camaraderie but to a much lesser degree than College.

          • ACViking

            Great argument. Really great.

          • anon

            I think lots of successful coaches think about making the jump. You want to be at the top of your profession. Kelly had resisted overtures to leave but i think forthcoming sanctions made him ready to take the plunge. Problem is that good teams rarely need coaches. There’s something wrong in the eagles organization — maybe it is Vick related (though i really like him) but there’s been no consistency for 3 years. Really i think everything is determined by us getting a QB.

          • Will

            Saban never got a great QB either which I think caused him a lot of woes..

          • Johnny_P

            This is true. It was also reported that he wanted Brees rather than Culpepper, but ownership said no. Listen I can’t stand Saban, but he was set up to fail in Miami.

          • Will

            At least we have an owner in Lurie who leaves player personnel choices to others…

          • Johnny_P

            ***Resists urge to bash Howie Roseman*** **Takes deep Breath** Yup Will…..

          • Will

            LMAO was gonna take a swipe…lol…

          • JofreyRice

            You have to think the guy has some kind of major ego about his accomplishments. He took the NCAA by storm out of nowhere, and the Eagles paid him handsomely to make the leap to the NFL based on the fact that he was a rockstar at the college level. That’s not lost on him.

            Totally agree with what you’re writing here. I’m fine with Kelly’s ego, and Kelly’s “boring college system” as long as they work in the left hand column for the Eagles. I didn’t like the tone of the PC.

            I know there are people here that champion the press operating as a mouthpiece for the organization, but that’s not their job. They ask relevant questions. Answering them, even if they annoy him, is part of Kelly’s job. The way he blew up was worrisome, because it doesn’t fit with the smart-alecky, got-an-answer-for-everything demeanor he’s displayed so far.

          • anon

            He’s 3-5 and facing a lot of criticism and he’s not sure if / when the ship will turn around. Not sure if he has anyone that can play QB.

          • Token

            I think you need the right bit of ego to be a great HC. Kelly may have a bit too much. Hes probably not as smart as he thinks he is.

            Hes frustrated his system is doing at this level what it did in college when he could just recruit super fast kids that outran the not as fast kids.

            I think the problem is that hes showing this kid of testiness already. Its gonna get A LOT tougher from here. He may not be able to handle it. This isnt Eugene where everyone worships at your alter.

            It really is hard I think to go from being a god somewhere to the NFL with no NFL experience. Theres several factors at play there. One is probably a lack of credibility among players.

            Probably a reason why generally, not always but generally, a guy that put in his time and worked his way up the NFL ranks ends up being a better HC than a college guy with no NFL experience.

            Whatever the case, time to step up Chip. Time to adjust at what being thrown at you. Its not wins I need to see. Just wanna see him making it work. Wanna see him have the ability to adjust here on the fly. And cut down on the weekly awful coaching decisions in game.

          • Maggie

            Having brought up 4 children, I can attest to the fact that after you have been asked the same question every single day for SIX MONTHS, I’m surprised Kelly didn’t take the stupid “reporter’s” head off. “who’s the starting quarterback, who’s the starting quarterback, who’s the starting quarterback, who’s the starting quarterback, who’s the starting quarterback next year, who’s the starting quarterback next year, who’s the starting quarterback next year, who’s the starting quarterback next year, Mommy, I want ice cream, Mommy, I want ice cream, Mommy, I want ice cream, Mommy, I want ice cream, Mommy, I want ice cream.” Aaaaaagghh!!

          • Johnny_P

            I see it differently. His terse response tells me his heart is into this thing. This guy is not checking out anytime soon & he seems to be as competitive, if not more competitive than some of the guys on his roster. He just wants to win.

          • Maggie

            Nobody makes it in pro, or amateur for that matter, sports without believing they are great.


    Curry ain’t going anywhere….kid came a long way in a new scheme in 6 months and you can count on him working relentlessly and doing whatever it takes to grow into a good player in whatever scheme you play…the kid just needs more then 6 months lol

    • ACViking

      Piolo quadrato in un foro rotondo?

      • GEAGLE

        No,no,no….se guardi I Suoi “snaps” recenti, cuando deve “two gap”, vedi che il ragazzo sta imparando…ci vuole piu di 6 mesi per un ragazzo che a dovuto cambiare cosi tanto…dagli un altro anno, a verdai cuanto diventa bravo

        • ACViking

          Si, ma un regime piu flessibile per lui?

    • Will

      Kindda glad they didn’t trade him.Curry seems the only one getting penetration.

      • ACViking

        Curry would do so well in a Jim Johnson defense. Even a Sean McDermott defense.

        Hurts that he was a 2nd Rd pick whom the Eagles, through no fault of Curry’s, should have by-passed in favor of Russell Wilson.

        • JofreyRice

          He would fill the DE/ Nickel DT role really nicely. Tuck did it for Spagnuolo in NY, and Howard did it for JJ/McDoormat here.

    • cliff henny

      guy has talent, just hope kelly/davis settle on a position for the guy. helps him, and also the guys around him not getting shuffled. big boy Gaethers is deciding to play also, with logan coming on, not the easiest of d-lines to crack for playing time, at 280.

      • ACViking

        Why didn’t Curry get put at OLB?

        Roseman bragged after hiring Kelly that the Eagles’ 2012 draft (Roseman’s picks) was loaded with versatile defensive players — pointing to Cox and Curry.

        I don’t know, but I though Roseman meant Curry would be an OLB — especially with that great first step he has at the snap.

        • cliff henny

          asked that myself. forget who told me, but a draft/scout guy, i’m not, i like to follow the money…that he doesnt have the bend, swivle lower body agility for it.

          • Will

            lack of coverage skills against the pass maybe…at 280 a tad to heavy…

          • ACViking

            Curry added that weight after Kelly came along. Some one, we don’t know who, whispered in Curry’s ear that he was going to be a DE, not an OLB

          • Will

            Curry does rush well from the interior of the D-Line and is very disruptive when he does play…Vinny is definitely a high motor guy with no let up…He penetrates, pursues and is relentless… needs more snaps…

          • anon

            Yeah but imagine if he had to cover 20% of the time — i think he’s better playing on the line.

          • ACViking

            Interesting. I can see that — and it may explain why he’s good at DT.

            But . . . it just goes to show Roseman’s a bit too glib with his comments about “his” drafts vs. “Reid’s” drafts. Roseman, since 2010, has been setting the board.

          • cliff henny

            wide 9 d-end is i think where they were going with him. i’ll use the word ‘believe’ in it’s most limiting manner when saying…i believe howie when he’s stating ‘some good players just arent going to fit when converting schemes’…it stinks, it happens all the time. how many teams had Mathis in camp?

        • theycallmerob

          Guessing that was an Azzinaro decision….he and Minter are both familiar with Curry from his Marshall days. I imagine if anyone knew where to play him, it would be those two.
          Plus, with Cole and Graham already transitioning, they would have had to convert 3 DL to OLB in one offseason, plus find time/snaps for them all.
          Even at this point, I don’t feel particularly defiant towards that decision.

  • Will

    Super Bowl or Bust…

  • Will

    Well let’s do a realistic poll- what do you think the Eagles score against Oakland will be? I do not think the team does well at all 35-21 Eagles lose…

  • UKEagle99

    Surely as an OLineman you want to average 2.0 minimum? We’re talking average here. 1.7 is about right for LJ and not good enough imo but he’s a rook and gets a pass, for now (looking at you Danny Watkins).