Chip Kelly spoke to reporters on Tuesday. Here are three items that stood out to us.
1. We have written a lot in this space about Kelly’s favorites. Guys like Brent Celek, DeMeco Ryans, Cedric Thornton and Jason Kelce,whom he will often go out of his way to praise.
Even though he hasn’t played a game yet with the Eagles, it sure sounds like Darren Sproles is making his way onto that list.
Asked what he’s learned about Sproles, Kelly said: “I don’t think I learned anything. We knew he was a really, really talented player, and when he got here, he showed that right from the jump. We heard from the coaches that coached him what an intelligent football player he is and learned that from the first day he was in this building and how sharp he is and how dedicated he is.
“I talked to Norv Turner, and he remarked to me when I saw him at one of the pro days, he said, ‘You’ll have to slow him down because he only knows one speed.’ And that’s the same thing you see. Darren practices and trains at one speed. It’s awesome. He fits in with the culture that we want in terms of preparation, but it’s everything we wanted when we got him here.”
Sproles has been practicing as the second-team running back. We should get a better idea of how exactly the Eagles plan to use him this summer during training camp.
2. The weak spot on the Eagles’ offensive line in terms of pass protection last year was the right side – and specifically, Lane Johnson and Todd Herremans. Both players were better at the end of the year than the beginning. And Kelly offered an interesting take when asked about Johnson’s progression.
“He’s different,” Kelly said. “Obviously he’s not a first-year player and he’s not relying on Todd Herremans to make the call for him. Similar to Mychal Kendricks, I think sometimes Mychal leaned on DeMeco [Ryans] and didn’t make the decisions himself. Last year a lot, Lane made decisions with Todd Herremans, and Todd just told [him] what to do and executed. Now Lane knows what to do, and he’s communicating a little bit better with those guys.”
As we wrote about earlier this offseason, Johnson has the tools to be an excellent player. If he can make the second-year leap, the offensive line will be in great shape.
“No, he did that one day so far because DeMeco wasn’t here,” Kelly said. “He mimics what DeMeco says, but if you listened to the call, DeMeco is making the call. Mychal is just getting comfortable. If for some reason DeMeco is not here, gets an injury, rolls an ankle, he’s sick, Mychal can step in.
“That’s just part of everybody getting outside of their comfort zone and expanding their role. Instead of waiting for someone to tell him what we are going to call, he’s going to make the call himself, not a big deal.”
By all accounts, the Eagles have no plans of reducing Ryans’ role. But it certainly can’t hurt for Kendricks to learn some of those responsibilities.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Our running diary of Eagles practice observations from Tuesday’s session.
Undrafted free agent Trey Burton is hoping to snag a roster spot with his versatility, writes Intern Josh.
“There’s no dollar sign on me when I’m throwing the ball,” says Nick Foles.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Paul Domowitch of the Daily News catches up with Celek:
“I thought last year that I blocked really, really well,” said Celek, 29. “But after watching more of the film [after the season], there are a lot of places I can improve.
“I think I can get better at finishing and doing certain things. But overall, it definitely was my best year blocking. But, like I said, I think I can get a lot better. I think I can be one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.”
The Inquirer’s Zach Berman talks to Trent Cole:
“You can’t feel old,” Cole said. “Your body is going to tell you when it’s time to quit. But that’s not the case right now. Everybody wants to know. They can call me old, but I could care less, because my actions speak louder. Tell them, if you don’t know, go watch the film. Because the footage don’t lie.”
No open practice, but still plenty to get to.