Wake-Up Call: Different Priorities Under Chip

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles

Earlier this week, a reporter asked Chip Kelly if he thought anyone could be plugged into his system and catch 50 balls.

“No,” Kelly joked. “You couldn’t.”

It was a light moment during an otherwise tension-filled session about DeSean Jackson’s release. But it also leads to another discussion about the way the Eagles plan on allocating their resources under Kelly.

Howie Roseman has said the organization projects specific amounts of money it would like to spend at each position. These are guidelines only, as there are always exceptions. But the guidelines are different under Kelly than they were under the previous regime.

“You’re talking about different systems so your priorities are gonna change with that,” Roseman said. “And I think that over time, that also changes based on what you have, based on the young players on your team, based on the players that you project that you want to have around for a long time.

“I think one of the things that has stuck with me is that the names on the back of the jerseys should mean as much as the names on the front. And to do that, you have to build a core. You have to have some continuity. And at the same time, because of the way the salary cap is you can’t keep everyone. So you have to make decisions, and some of those are tough ones.”

This is only the second offseason under Kelly’s direction, but the draft could provide some insight into how the resource allocation is different. Offensively, I would argue that the head coach believes in investing in the offensive line and running back. According to OverTheCap.com, the Eagles are second in the league on spending at RB and third on offensive line. That makes sense, given that Kelly’s preference is to spread it out and run the football.

But what are the ares where the Eagles might try to do more with less? Given the decision to release Jackson and the success Riley Cooper had last year, you’d have to argue that wide receiver is one of them. The other intriguing one is quarterback. The offense moved the football with Michael Vick last year, but went to another level with Nick Foles. After next season, we’ll find out if the Eagles are willing to pay up for Foles (assuming reasonable success in 2014) or whether they decide they can make do with someone less expensive.

Defensively, priorities are even more difficult to sort out. The sense I get is that the Eagles feel the scheme works without investing serious dollars at cornerback.

The outside linebackers are always going to be important in a 3-4. But the spot I’m most fascinated by is inside linebacker. The coaching staff seems to really value the intangibles associated with this spot. They love the way DeMeco Ryans leads and gets everyone set up before the snap. Ryans has his strengths – primarily defending the run – but had some issues last year on passing downs.

One of the first-round names to keep an eye on is Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. By all accounts, he has the intangibles the Eagles value, and he projects as a valuable three-down player. If Mosley somehow slips to No. 22, will the Birds pounce?

Come draft time, one way or another, we’ll learn more about the way they plan to allocate resources under Kelly.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Tuesday’s close-up was on Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard.

One analyst thinks replacing Jackson could be pretty simple with the Eagles’ first-round pick. Here’s what they’re saying.

The Eagles say they were doing Jackson a favor with the timing of their release – 35 minutes after the NJ.com gang-affiliation story. I’m finding that hard to believe.

Mychal Kendricks, a cast and meditating on an old Indian reservation. T-Mac explains like only he can.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Mike Mayock talks to Paul Domowitch about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Canadian offensive lineman the Eagles have shown interest in:

“This guy is intriguing. When he first got to college, he was a 250-pound three-technique [defensive tackle]. He’s naturally grown into a longer, bigger body. He has athletic ability. He’s intelligent. He went to the East-West game. Once he got himself acclimated there, his last couple of days of practice were pretty good. I think he’s a right tackle, or somebody might kick him inside. But the athletic ability is what’s intriguing to me. I think somebody will take him in the fifth round. He’s a raw developmental guy that I think has starting traits.”

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his take on the Johnny Manziel rumor/non-rumor:

Chip Kelly recruited Johnny Manziel to come to Oregon. Chip absolutely loved him and thought Manziel would be perfect for the Oregon offense. Someone asked Chip about Manziel on Monday and he joked that Johnny broke his heart by not coming to Oregon. There is now a very distinct possibility that Manziel will be on the board at pick 22. Would the Eagles take him? Is Manziel still a player that Kelly covets?

My take…no. The Eagles don’t want him. I think they are spreading the rumor that they like him so teams in the late 1st round and early 2nd round will have to consider trading up if they want Manziel.

COMING UP

Eight days away from the draft. Take a deep breath. We’re almost there.

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