Three Eagles Leftovers

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia EaglesDoes Chip Kelly sleep in the office? What was the deal with Brent Celek and Riley Cooper low-fiving in the end zone? Here are three leftovers from today’s session at the NovaCare Complex.

1. John Harbaugh recently chronicled his entire workweek in an ESPN The Magazine feature. Harbaugh noted that he spent three nights a week on the office couch at the team facility.

“Sleeping at the office is about maximizing my time,” Harbaugh said. “I can get more done if I eliminate time I’d spend driving home. Plus, if I come home too late, chances are I’ll wake up my wife.”

So, what about Kelly? Does he sleep over at the NovaCare Complex?

“Oh no, Chip doesn’t spend the night here,” said tight ends coach Ted Williams.

Williams is in his 19th season with the Eagles. He previously coached under Andy Reid and Ray Rhodes. Reid, he said, would spend nights at the team facility.

“When people do that, they do it for one of two reasons,” Williams said. “First of all, they want to. If you’re gonna spend the night here, that’s because you want to. The other part is you could get caught up in trying to do too much. And most coaches will tell you this: You get your job done, you finish your work, leave. Because life goes on. You can’t live your life 24 hours a day doing the same thing day after day after day. It’ll kill you, in my opinion.”

As for his overall time spent at the team facility, Williams said it’s not really any different with Kelly than it was with Reid.

“You can slice it up any way you want to,” Williams said. “It really ends up being the same amount of hours. It’s just packaged different. We do it a little more fast-paced here than I’m used to. But at the end of the day, it’s the same amount of time.”

2. There’s been a lot of talk this week about how Brent Celek and Riley Cooper low-fived in the end zone on Celek’s touchdown against the Cardinals.


Earlier in the week, Celek said: “We were just high-fiving saying, ‘good luck on the other side’ type of thing. We high-five on all those all the time.

“It’s kind of part of that play, gotta give him a high-five on the way to the route. Good luck on the other side.”

Today, Kelly added: “They like each other.”

The Eagles were using the mesh concept. Back in the day, 10-year-old Sheil called this one “cris-cross” when he was playing football in the neighbor’s yard.

The idea is simple: When the defense is in man coverage, two receivers run crossing routes, create some traffic, and hopefully one runs free. So why the low-five?

“So there’s no defender that can come in between ‘em,” explained Zach Ertz.

Apparently it’s as simple as that. The two players want to maintain spacing so that they don’t run into each other, but they want to be close enough so that a defender has a tough time sneaking through.

3. Earlier this week we looked at a new wrinkle the Eagles added to their running game.

But Kelly and his staff instituted some other tweaks too during the bye. One of the team’s popular packaged plays that they’ve been running since Week 1 combines a run option with a pop pass to the tight end and a WR screen. Here’s the look from the Tampa Bay game.


You can see above that the Eagles had three receivers to the left. Nick Foles had the option to hand the ball off, throw the pop pass to the tight end or throw the screen to the perimeter. The outside receiver to the top of the screen serves as a blocker.

But against the Cardinals, the Eagles changed it up a little. All three receivers run pass routes. Cooper has a 5-yard hitch. Jason Avant runs a slant instead of a screen. DeSean Jackson, the inside receiver, still runs up the seam.

Foles reads linebacker Daryl Washington. If he cheats up to stop the run, Foles can pull the ball and pass it. If he stays at home, Foles can hand it off.

The guess is the change in the role of the middle receiver is to maintain a degree of unpredictability. Teams have plenty of tape on the Eagles, and the Birds run a lot of the same concepts on a weekly basis. Here, if safety Rashad Johnson cheats up to lay a hit on Jackson, the slant to Avant would give the Eagles another option.


As it turned out, Washington stayed at home, and Foles handed the ball off for a 6-yard gain.


I asked Avant when he turns into a blocker on this play.

“When you see him have the ball in his hands,” he said. “You don’t know if you’re gonna get it or if he’s gonna get it.

“We try to put in new stuff every now and again.”

Update: Friend of the blog Coach Flinn provided some additional insight on this play.


Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • theycallmerob

    Still going through leftovers? we’re a week removed from Thanksgiving, Sheil!

    • Eagle in VT

      That’s typically about right for my house

  • G_WallyHunter

    Chip doesn’t need to sleep at the office, his brain processes more in 4 hours than regular coach’s brains do in 8 hours, pretty simple.
    Mind you, he probably lives across the street from the Linc

    • Dr Rick

      How do we know Chip actually ever sleeps? 8^)

  • DirtyWaters

    I wanna party with Ted Williams. Bet that guy has some stories.

  • Broadcasting Wisdom

    I was most amazed by that Harbaugh article that he schedules like a 10 minute phone call to talk to his wife every day and otherwise doesn’t have any communication with her or his daughter, and then has the gall to talk about how important family is. Family is not that important to you if you devote a total of roughly one hour to that family during the week for 17 straight weeks. It might seem important, but if your job gets 110 hours per week, and family gets 2, the proof is in the pudding.

    That’s another reason why it’s so great to have Chip Kelly as our coach. I don’t have to feel guilty that he is screwing up his kids or neglecting his wife the way Reid did because he has maintained his bachelor lifestyle. I also like that the coach without the family still finds a way to sleep at home (or at least somewhere other than the office) every night.

    • BlindChow

      Maybe Harbaugh’s wife and kids are just awful.

    • DirtyWaters

      They play HORSE. Wish my Dad played horse with me before he went out for a pack of cigarettes on Christmas Eve. Come home, Dad.

    • sprawl

      ‘I do not think you can name many great inventions that have been made by married men.’ — Nikola Tesla

    • borntosuffer

      I heard John’s wife wants it that way. Evidently John saw his brother’s appeal for cake and tried it at home on his wife.

  • PhiEagles14

    Who’s ready for some “shitty play calls”… by the lions ;)

  • djack10

    shit-ty play-call clap-clap. clapclapclap. shit-ty play-call. clap clap. clapclapclap. kinda catchy.

  • Leroy

    When you run the Mesh play it is crucial that the distance between the receivers when they mesh is minimal. We accomplished this by making sure that the players clap hands as they cross the formation. It does a number of the things, (1) the receiver who goes over ensures that his route is no deeper that 5 or 6 yds. (2) the receiver who goes under needs to make sure the mesh happens to confuse the coverage if but for a moment, ensure that he is running his route at the proper depth. (3) it accomplishes a third thing, sometimes the LB’s try to get physical and bump the players off their route, to counter this the receiver must fake as if he is going to climb and then make his move under or over. This actually acts as a rub point for the opposite defender.

    As they Mesh they are determining whether it is man or zone. If Man run to the sidelines and turn it up before you get there, If zone after you cross, find a hole to sit in. Without the clasping of hands all of the good things accomplished by the play wouldn’t take place, so the clapping of hands ensures that the mesh point happens and the proper depth of the route is achieved. I have to admit, when we coached the play we only talked about doing it, Chip is the only coach that I recall who runs it, who actually makes the players clap hands.

    This is a staple play from the Air Raid offense, started at BYU by Lavell Edwards, expanded on by Hal Mumme in Kentucky and perfected by Mike Leach at Texas Tech.