Eagles Wake-Up Call: Measurables Still Matter To Chip

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles

When Chip Kelly met with Howie Roseman and the Eagles’ scouting staff last January to go over an offseason plan, he was very specific with his preferences.

Kelly provided an outline that told Roseman’s group exactly what he was looking for out of each position group – height, weight, arm length, hand size, 40 time, etc.

While Kelly didn’t provide those details to the media, he preached the ‘big people beat up little people’ philosophy. And when the Eagles finally started to sign free agents and select players in the draft, we got a pretty good glimpse of what Kelly was looking for.

Both cornerbacks – Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams – were over 6 feet. Matt Barkley had big hands (10 1/8 inches). Bennie Logan had long arms (34 inches). And so on.

Now that Kelly has seen his players (and opponents) in action for a year, have his specific measurable preferences changed?

“The measurables never change, but you still have to get a guy,” Kelly said. “You just can’t say we want a 6-3, 220‑pound safety. Well, there are none. Well, we’re not going to play with 10. This is what we ultimately will continue to look for and continue to strive for, but you still have to make concessions.”

Kelly’s comments provide insight into how the Eagles are building their roster. The previous regime left some talented players that might not exactly fit Kelly’s preferences – Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin, for example. But the coaches’ job is to maximize the potential of the guys on the roster while adding new pieces that fit the mold.

“I think you just can’t drop your guard everywhere and just say, ‘Well, we’re going to be a little bit short here, a little bit short here, a little bit short here,’ ” Kelly said. “Then all of a sudden your team is going to get run over. I have said big people beat up little people. We believe that. But it’s a different league. This isn’t recruiting where you can go out and offer and try to get them to come. There’s a selection in the draft process, and we’re not going to pick until the 22nd. There’s 21 other guys that we may covet, but we don’t have an opportunity to get them.

“You have ideals and you have parameters in terms of what we’re looking for, but sometimes it may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but you make do with it.”

Roseman confirmed last offseason that there are deal-breakers – certain things that the Eagles will not make exceptions for.

After a second free agency period and draft with Kelly, we should get a better idea of what exactly he’s looking for.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Evan Mathis is headed to the Pro Bowl.

According to an ESPN report, Eagles QBs coach Bill Lazor could be headed to Detroit to become the Lions’ offensive coordinator.

From Cedric Thornton to DeSean Jackson to Alex Henery, here are three Eagles leftovers.

Will Riley Cooper be back next season? T-Mac and I disagree on this one.

McManus explains Howie Roseman’s batting average approach.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Mike Sando of ESPN.com on Bills free-agent safety Jairus Byrd:

Byrd played the final 11 games this season after skipping the first five as an unhappy franchise player. “I think they like him a lot,” one GM said, “but I would be surprised if he [was] hugely paid.” One of the agents thought Byrd would get between $6.2 million and $7.5 million a year. The Bills were 15th in Total QBR allowed without Byrd and third after he reported.

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers some thoughts on Barkley:

Would Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman trust Barkley to be the backup? That player is a “chin strap away” as Kelly likes to say (by the way, I have no idea what that means other than to say the backup must be ready. Chin strap?). If the Eagles expect to be a Super Bowl contender next year, do you really want a 2nd year player as your primary backup? The Packers didn’t have the right backup QBs and they went 2-5-1 without Aaron Rodgers. You can go young or old, but you must have a good backup.

COMING UP

We’ll keep a close eye on Lazor and Tom Gamble plus the Crystal Ball series continues with predictions for Michael Vick.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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