Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We’re Going Faster’

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The structure of Chip Kelly’s practices has not changed.

But when asked what’s different about Year 2 compared to Year 1, the Eagles’ head coach provided an interesting answer.




"Just that we're going faster," Kelly said. "We're getting more reps off, more plays off because the guys have a better understanding of the mechanics of it. But the basic structure of how we're doing things is the same. And our teaching in terms of how we want to train on the field, we have an understanding when it's a full-speed drill and when it's a teach period and all that.

"But I think we're getting more snaps off in teams on seven-on-sevens just because our guys are more comfortable with how we want to operate."

As we've learned since Kelly arrived, there will never be such a thing as fast enough. There's always another gear to strive for.

Kelly's practice philosophy has been dissected on several occasions. The basic premise is to go fast and maximize reps. If someone is confused or doesn't know what to do, boot him to the sideline and get someone in there who's ready. It's about getting a lot of plays on tape so that the coaches have something to teach off of.

Last year, the pace and structure were new not only to the players, but to most of the assistants. There is more of a sense of continuity this time around. The Eagles' offense returns 9 or 10 starters (depending on personnel grouping). The defense likely returns 10 starters - the only exception being Malcolm Jenkins. So it makes sense that the pace has kicked up a notch in Year 2.

"It's light years," Kelly explained. "I think for all of our guys they understand what we're doing. Every day last year was a new insertion and it was a new play and it was the first time in the red zone, first time coming out, first time in two minute. So all those things for the veterans have all already been in, they've understood them.

"For all those guys, there's a lot more, just a better understanding of what we're doing."

Of course, the reason Kelly likes to practice fast is not just to maximize reps. It's also because he wants to play fast when the games start. The Eagles successfully incorporated tempo last season, rarely huddling. The style forced teams to play them in a lot of man coverage, and while there were some stumbles along the way, the offense was a rousing success.

Kelly has said the core concepts on offense won't change. There will be new wrinkles (specifically to beat man coverage), and the gameplan will likely once again change from week to week. However, one thing to keep an eye on in 2014 is pace. When the Eagles want to use tempo in games, expect it to be faster. And expect them to dial it up more frequently.

"Last year at this time, we were trying to learn the offense," said Nick Foles. "It was very vanilla, every day was a learning curve and we had to re-do the plays. Right now we have a lot more stuff in, guys are very comfortable with running what we have, and we’re adding more. So I think it’s just a comfort zone with everybody and we can really go fast. It’s really helped the rookie learning curve because we have the vets who can teach them what to do and that helps a lot."

WHAT YOU MISSED

Thoughts on Marcus Smith, the Jack and the Predator. How will the OLB pieces fit in 2014?

Good perspective from T-Mac on how things have changed for Brandon Graham in the last four years and what's in store for him going forward.

What challenges are ahead for Foles in 2014? Our new intern Josh Paunil takes a look.

McManus shares his thoughts from OTAs.

Earl Wolff starts his days with 7:30 a.m. film sessions alongside Malcolm Jenkins.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz has Riley Cooper as a potential regression candidate:

Any time a player has a breakout season you have to wonder if he can repeat it. The case for Cooper is that he didn’t do anything amazing in 2013. He was a good fit for the role and he finally got regular playing time. That led to the production. The case against Cooper works on a couple of levels. First, complacency. Cooper just got a big contract. Will he let up at all? He’s not talented enough to succeed without maximum effort and focus. The other factor is that DeSean Jackson is gone. His presence helped Cooper. Jeremy Maclin is a gifted WR, but he doesn’t scare defenses the same way Jackson did. There could be some situations where Maclin gets single-covered and Cooper gets doubled. Cooper isn’t likely to fare well in those situations. Not many WRs do, but some top guys are still good enough to win even when doubled.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland notes how the Eagles' turnover differential changed in 2013:

How did it project 2013? Very well. The two teams that stood out like a sore thumb at the bottom of the turnover rankings were the Chiefs and Eagles; they were each at minus-24 in 2012, and nobody else was worse than minus-16. In 2013, much of their success was driven by a dramatic shift in this metric. The Chiefs had the second-best turnover margin in football at plus-18, while the Eagles were fourth with a plus-12 figure. Kansas City’s improvement of 42 turnovers is the most anybody’s improved in a single season since the strike year of 1987.

COMING UP

Thanks to T-Mac and Josh for holding it down while I was on vacation last week. It's good to be back, and we've got another practice to cover today. Check back for plenty of updates this afternoon.

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  • Dominik

    “Thanks to T-Mac and Josh for holding it down while I was on vacation last week. It’s good to be back”

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation. With Chip Kellys tempo, there’s no time to rest otherwise, even for beat writers. ;)

  • JoeyJoeJoeJuniorShabadoo

    Man, training can’t can’t come any faster

  • TNA

    I hope defenses double on Cooper all day. The decrease in Coop production would hopefully lead to massive increases in production by Shady. As Foles said, if they don’t bring a safety into the box, they’re going to hand off to Shady every single time.

    • DetmerWonAHeisman

      Agreed. Plus, Chip has said on more than one occasion how good Maclin is against man coverage. So if the defense wants to leave Maclin in single coverage all game Nick will find him early and often.

      • anon

        Yeah it’ll be interesting, Chip seems to think he’s the best thing since sliced bread – I was always sort of meh about him. But if he makes a cooper-like jump; watch out.

        • John E. Zang

          He’s always been our best receiver it’s just that Andy’s offense kind of ignored him. It was all about getting Desean the deep ball. Additionally you had tunnel vision quarterbacks like Vick who just stared as Desean every play yet Maclin still had more receptions. But by design Maclin never really got the deep balls.

          • dnabrice

            I think Maclin could very well have an old school Marvin Harrison-like season this year. They’re similar builds (Maclin 5-10 lbs larger, though .07 slower combine 40) and Maclin will have a top notch QB this year. I think he can hit 1350 yards 9 TDs or so.

          • Steve

            If Maclin hits 1,350 yards this year I will buy you lunch, and I really hope I have to!

    • Maggie

      If Shady gets much more work he’ll be worn out in a year.

  • DetmerWonAHeisman

    I just hope the refs let this offense play as fast as Chip wants to go…..

    • Jerry Pomroy

      It looks like they’re going to try to. One of the main reasons they’ll be testing out another official on the field is the up tempo offense.

      • jpate

        The NFL knows fast pace tempo is entertaining to the fans, they will try to support it. And as we know from the rule changes NFL is all for more points scored.

    • John E. Zang

      Not the officials you have to worry about it’s the constant faking injuries by other teams which the league still hasn’t done anything about. Hard to prove but I think the league should just threaten a severe punishment to at least deter some of it.

      • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

        very easy fix- player has to sit out at least 1 down (honestly, I’d say series). that’ll keep guys from flopping, and it’s not like a team can just have 1 or 2 non-star players continue to do it

        • Warhound

          They already sit-out a down.

  • G_WallyHunter

    Oh lordy its the wake up calls like these that get me so giddy…

  • Kev_H

    Another reason why Cooper is a candidate to have worse stats is because he could be outplayed and lose playing time to teammates.

    • JosephR2225

      Have to figure if they believed there was a danger of that they wouldn’t have signed him to 5 years $22.5M.

      • anon

        that’s barely $4m a year. He can be your 3rd string at $4mm and i wouldn’t lose a ton of sleep over it.

      • Kev_H

        I don’t see how the word “danger” is relevant. After the injuries last year they were kind of stuck with Cooper even when he was struggling and people were getting on Roseman for not having an NFL starter caliber option. Hopefully with the draft picks and Benn added to the mix, the Eagles won’t be so thin there. If I recall, Cooper ‘s contract is essentially a two year commitment. He has a lot of value on special teams and can contribute on offense, but if he caught 25 balls for 300 yards, it wouldn’t surprise me and I’m hopeful that everyone stays healthy and more guys are added to the mix.

        • JosephR2225

          Only insofar as they were under no obligation to commit to Cooper at all. In his only year in Chip’s system he was among the best WR2s in the league, so it’s difficult to see him giving way to a rookie, even one as talented as Matthews. I think they really like Cooper, so I have a tough time envisioning them taking away too many snaps. It’s possible, of course. It happened with James Casey last year.

    • MattE

      Let’s hope Jordan Matthews outplays him to be the #2 WR on a rookie contract for the next 3 years.

      • All Things Bad@ss

        I don’t understand the logic of wanting Riley to be outplayed by someone else. Shouldn’t we be rooting for all of our guys to shine? I think the cap is the least of our concerns.

        • MattE

          No logic buddy, just an open competition and my prediction. Don’t be so serious.

          • All Things Bad@ss

            All good. But with all the negativity towards Coop and peeps throwing him under the bus before he even takes a snap in his 2nd season as starter, it’s not a stretch to assume you were echoing much of the same. I hope he straight balls out in 2014

  • anon

    Practice? We talking about practice?

    I’m so excited for these OTA reports it’s not even funny.

  • knighn

    “Work it Harder, Make it Better
    Do it Faster, Makes us Stronger
    More than ever, Hour after
    Our work is Never Over”

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Been meaning to ask you this, is your tag name there supposed to be a play on the #9?

      • knighn

        Yes and No. It is an intentional misspelling of the number 9 but it has nothing to do with Nick Foles. I’ve used this ID in various online communities for around 20 years.
        To answer a question you haven’t asked yet:
        Yes, I am both old and nerdy.

        • Andy124

          Yes, I am both old and nerdy.

          Welcome to the club.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Right!

        • Chris

          Ah! I thought it was a play on “K-9″. Makes sense

        • Maggie

          Sometimes miss dial-up. Life on the Internet was so much simpler then.

          • knighn

            Slow and simple? Careful: there’s a bad joke in there somewhere!

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Why are so many people trying to delegate Cooper to the practice squad already here? The guy finally put together a respectable year. Don’t hate on that. It’s a good thing. I get that everyone is enamored over Matthews. I wanted him pre-draft & many here pissed & moaned for us to move up to take Evans. But damn the kid hasn’t even played a snap of real football yet and y’all are anointing him your lord and savior. Let’s get him on the field first before we go kicking Cooper to the curb. I mean damn, he hasn’t performed any miracles to my knowledge yet. But I did hear that he saved a child from a burning building while out at the NFLPA rookie meetings. ;-)

    • Andy124

      I mean damn, he hasn’t performed any miracles to my knowledge yet.

      He got Token to say something positive. That counts.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Hallelujah!!

      • EagleDuck

        Pics or it didnt happen.

    • JofreyRice

      Is there something more to what Lawlor said? He’s generally way too pollyanna for me, but I think the paragraph above is thoughtful and well-reasoned. I took what Lawlor was saying as a prediction that Cooper might go back towards his career averages, not that he’d be fringe roster material.

      • Andy124

        Yeah, Lawlor wasn’t making any predictions at all, only pointing out guys he thought had a notable risk of regression. And he wasn’t really talking about Riley completely falling off the map so much as performing/producing at a lower level than last year.

        I think Riley’s production in 2014 is pretty hard to predict because of the balancing factors.
        *There’s the fact that he’s was very prodcutive with Nick at QB, so his numbers should go up with Nick playing the full season.
        *There’s the fact that there are more weapons to spread to ball to, so his numbers should go down.
        *There’s the fact that this is his second year in the system so his numbers should go up.
        *There’s the fact that Defenses will be more aware of him so his numbers should go down.
        *There’s the fact that Maclin may receive less attention from Foles than DJ did, so those targets could go to Riley and his numbers should go up.
        *There’s the fact that Maclin may receive less attention from defenses than DJ did, so that attention could go to Riley and his numbers should go down.

    • kpm

      Evans had a Real temper Problem

  • cliff henny

    ah, this regression talk is more fantasy football to me. think Foles will put up monster numbers again. there were so many plays left on the field, by both him and Vick, it’ll be scary when Kelly get’s the precision he truly seeks. if Cooper puts up 700/6 but the WR corps as a whole outplays ’13, which I do think it will, did he regress? think we saw the tip of the iceberg in ’13, Eagles offense is going to take it to another level in ’14.

  • mtn_green

    Faster play is coming. Fans love it. Even non eagles fans love to watch Chip Kelly at warp speed. Anything that draws more viewers is going to be looked at supporting.

    The fake injuries is kinda a bummer cause it makes an unfairly beleaguered fan base look worse, booing every time an opposing defensive player lies on the field for more than 5 seconds. From 100 feet we don’t know if he is injured or what.

    I propose eagles fans sign the fighting song or the E A G L E S chant instead of booing. The fake injuries suck, but explaining why fans are booing to an 8 year old sucks too. Maybe save the booing for when that player comes back in game.

  • Glenn

    I have watched NFL network tape of Eagles games. And you always hear Chip on the sidelines urging everyone to move faster. It is clearly a top priority of his. And he wasn’t happy with how slow things were moving at times. The faster they move on offense, the greater their advantage over opposing defenses. This will make this team reach another level.

  • Chris Jones

    I suspect Matthews will beat out cooper or atleast steal a majority of his snaps by years end. His ceiling is so much larger then coopers. Not saying he doesn’t belong, he would be a great depth guy. Just sayin Matthews is a future stud wideout.

  • Eagles1018

    Sheil….dude, don’t ever leave again. Thanks.

    I’m kidding but not really.

  • kpm

    Tommy lawlor
    Maclin said D-Jackson was double teamed twice last year, you insinuate he was doubled always..

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