Chip Kelly has said repeatedly that he didn’t enter the NFL with any preconceived notions.
Still, one thing that surprised him last year was how committed most of the team’s veterans were to the program. At the time, Kelly explained that many of them bought in from the get-go and were focused on getting better and earning a job.
In Year 2, Kelly has done some more roster-churning. He's had full attendance all spring and has been preaching a consistent message to the 90 players at the NovaCare Complex: invest in yourself.
"Everybody has the same amount of time during the day, and you can either spend your time or invest your time," Kelly explained. "And that's what we are trying to get our players to understand. It's how you allocate your time. We all have 24 hours in the same day, and it's what you want to do. If you want to go play video games and watch TV and do all those other things, you're going to get beat out by the guy that is doing the little things that are going to make the difference between making the team and not making the team.
"When we talk about investing in yourself, we are challenging them to understand every action you have that has consequences to it. They can be positive or they can be negative. If at the end of the day your goal is to make this football team or your goal is to be a starter or your goal is to be an All-Pro, you have a say in that matter, and that's what we are trying to get across to our guys in terms of that."
In case you haven't picked it up by now, the whole culture thing is important to Kelly. And there is of course a trickle-down effect. If inexperienced offensive linemen see Jason Kelce at the facility working out every day in the offseason, perhaps they'll follow suit.
If younger defensive backs see Malcolm Jenkins going to the Juggs machine after practice, maybe they'll be more likely to do the same.
Or at least that's the plan.
"[It] just depends on what model of organization you want," Kelly said. "Do you want blind obedience or informed acquiescence or self‑governance? If you have self‑governance, I think the individuals have more invested in what's going on because they have a say and they have a stake in it. We are moving towards that model, but I don't know if we are totally there right now."
Chemistry and talent. In the end, coaches and GMs search constantly to find the right mix. Years from now, we'll be able to look back and see how Kelly did. But there's no mistaking what his core philosophies are.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Eagles practice observations on Brandon Boykin, the quarterbacks and more.
Says LeSean McCoy: "It's the small things you think about that you think nobody cares about, but in all reality, they do."
"I'm not a big fan of their corner group," says one NFC scouting director. What they're saying about the Eagles.
Some great photos from Jeff Fusco at Eagles mini-camp.
T-Mac on what to expect from Fletcher Cox in Year 3.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com on Matt Barkley:
Matt Barkley's arm strength is a major concern. He attempted to throw an out route that needed to be driven in there, and his pass lacked any kind of velocity at all. It had far too much air under it, and Curtis Marsh was able to jump in front of the intended receiver for an INT. I don't want to make too much of one throw, but if that was Barkley's maximum velocity, he's really going to struggle to stay in the league, in my opinion. You simply can't give opposing defensive backs that much time to break on a pass. Again, it's only June and there's a long way to go before the start of the season, but Barkley's play so far has been discouraging.
Paul Domowitch of the Daily News says OLB Travis Long could be a sleeper:
Long was a 4-3 defensive end his first 3 years at Washington State. But the Cougars switched to a 3-4 his last year there and he responded with the best season of his career. Had 13 tackles for losses and four batted passes in addition to those 9 1/2 sacks. But then he hurt the knee.Long said it took until last November before his injured knee finally felt whole again.
"About the middle of the season last year," he said. "I was able to do everything prior to that. But I was finally not thinking about my knee a year after [the injury]."
One final day of mini-camp. We've got you covered.