Wake-Up Call: Parting Thoughts From Minicamp

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Three thoughts as the offseason conditioning program comes to a close:

Chip Kelly brings an unmistakable energy to the proceedings.


He runs from station to station. If there's a drill that requires an extra quarterback, he'll jump in and throw passes. When he demonstrates a point to a player, he really demonstrates it, whether that means crouching down low or thrusting his arm up high in a swim motion. He might surprise a receiver by reaching in to swat at the ball, as he did to Jordan Matthews Thursday. Sometimes barking, sometimes joking, sometimes teaching, but always in motion.

I remember seeing some old NFL Films footage of Andy Reid from his early days as coach of the Eagles, and being struck by how involved he was in the practices back then: flying around, constantly instructing, very hands on. Towards the end of his time here he came off as more of an observer, and spent a good portion of practice standing a little ways back from the action, often side-by-side with trainer Rick Burkholder.

“A coach stays in a place for so long, things get a little stale," said Todd Herremans, when asked about the players' drive under Reid. "The system gets a little stale. Maybe they soften up a little bit and kind of get away from what they were doing in the beginning to have the success that they had.”

Perhaps Kelly will mellow as time goes on. But there is no mistaking that the head coach is currently operating with a full tank of gas.

"I love the game of football.  I have a passion for it, so it's not like if a conversation comes up three days from now about football, I'm on vacation, I don't want to talk about it," said Kelly, when asked if he'd be turning off the switch during the break. "I'd probably be the one starting the conversation to be honest with you."

-- Can't imagine this spring went the way Matt Barkley was hoping it might. Mark Sanchez came in and started running with the twos from the jump. Barkley got a second-team rep here and there, but spent much of the OTA and minicamp practices (at least the ones open to the media) sharing third-team reps with G.J. Kinne.

"There is no decision.  There's no decision.  We're just getting reps.  So there's not a decision of who's who," Kelly said last week. 

That's not how it feels.  There is still a whole training camp and preseason to go, but it's pretty clear that Sanchez is currently ahead of Barkley on the depth chart.

I thought Barkley's arm looked a touch stronger compared to a year ago, but not to a degree that it really stands out. Does he have enough zip on his fastball to make all the throws on this level? Will his game translate? Questions remain. Not sure when he'll have the opportunity to truly answer them.

-- There was a moment during the special teams portion of Thursday's practice where Matthews fielded a kick and as he hit the open field, broke into this kind of elegant gallop that shot him through to the next level. There were a few instances like that during the spring that caught your eye and came off as high-end -- whether it was an effortless leaping grab over a defender on a loft pass from Mark Sanchez, or a quick turn and burst after a routine hitch.

Rookie receivers face an uphill climb and we have a ways to go before we know whether Matthews can contribute in a meaningful way this year, but there were flashes over the course of the last several weeks that were encouraging.

"Definitely a great learning environment. I couldn't ask to be part of a better team, a better organization. Coach Kelly, Coach [Bob Bicknell], Coach Pat [Shurmur], they've made it a great atmosphere for me to come here and actually learn, get better, I appreciate them for that, so now I just have to go out there and make sure I make plays for them," he said.

"I think I did alright. The main two things that I always want to control is my attitude and my effort. I feel like each day I was able to come out and give that 100 percent, so I'm happy with those things but I have to continue to get better at the little things, too."

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil's final running diary of the spring.

Chip goes Flintstones, 'Beautiful Mind' on us during his final meeting with the media before training camp.

Check out our latest photo gallery from minicamp.

"Do you want blind obedience or informed acquiescence or self‑governance?" Chip gets philosophical.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Geoff Mosher touches on the kicker competition in his minicamp roundup.

The battle between kickers Alex Henery and rookie Carey Spear is looking more and more like an ersatz job competition. Spear, who’s been inconsistent, missed three consecutive kicks on his last day, two of which hooked wide left, one which found its destination in a spare parking lot. Maybe he’s got some first-year jitters, but for those expecting "Murderleg" to unseat Henery, don’t hold your breath.

Jeff McLane offered this note on Vinny Curry:

There was a rare chance to watch Vinny Curry line up as a 4-3 defensive end. The Eagles second team defense had its nickel package on the field and Curry was on the left edge in a three-point stance. He zoomed around right tackle Andrew Gardner and shot to quarterback Mark Sanchez. The play continued, of course, but Curry would have sacked Sanchez. Curry was perhaps the Eagles’ best passing down rusher last season, but he did most of his damage from inside. I wonder if Bill Davis and Jerry Azzinaro will try to get him in more one-on-one situations on the outside where he was originally drafted to play.

COMING UP

We'll put a wrap on minicamp and start looking forward to training camp, which is only 35 days away.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • DirtyWaters

    35 long days until training camp.

  • Richard Colton

    They might both be getting 2nd team reps, but I’m not convinced we even have a #2 QB. Things look very shakey behing Foles.

    • Philip Soloninka

      JMatt can step in if needed.

      • Richard Colton

        He can’t throw and catch his own passes…or can he?

        • Philip Soloninka

          I know we all have a good time on the hype train with him, but I watched the Vandy-Ole Miss game from last year (that’s a lie, I skipped around). Anyway, watching him barf on the field after getting crushed (and making the catch AS he got crushed) AND THEN WATCHING HIM HAUL IN A 40 YARD BOMB ON 4TH DOWN TWO PLAYS LATER, made me fall in love, as I’m sure FOles (SHOUTOUT TO GEAGS I KNOW YOU’RE LURKING) already is.

          • Joe from Easton

            Just watched it…. BEAST MODE

          • Philip Soloninka

            RIGHT?! Can’t watch the clips of it, gotta find the actual game footage to really appreciate it but man, it’s real beast mode

        • Reasonableeaglefan

          This clip is crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s being called a hoax. Anyone know for sure?

      • Andy124

        Good. We need a fast quarterback for Chip’s system.

    • Andy124

      Kinne!

  • A_T_G

    “Spear, who’s been inconsistent, missed three consecutive kicks on his last day…”

    It sounds like he is getting more consistent…

    • Dominik

      I guess laughing is the best medicine against the Henery will still be our kicker illness.

      • Matt

        Only if you incorrectly believe that Henery isn’t good.

        Since he is good, the Eagles will be fine.

        • Dominik

          Lol, did I miss the irony?

          If 23rd FG% and 32nd kickoffs is good, then lol. If you’re joking, sorry, I missed it. ;)

          • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

            The percentage last year was a fluke compared to his history. Henery is a good MID RANGE kicker. But the odds of him hitting that 54yarder in December when you gotta have it are Slim to none. Sh%t, 48 yds is a stretch.

          • Matt

            I disagree. He could hit that. He missed a 60 yard kick only on wide right. He had the distance.

            And he hit 47,47, 48, 48, 49, 51 down the stretch. In fact, one of those was the game winner vs the Cowboys for the division.

            So 48 yards isn’t a stretch. And the odds of ANY kicker hitting a 54 yarder in December is slim to none.

          • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

            There are plenty of kickers capable of hitting from 50+ in cold weather. Hendry’s not one of em. More than that tho, is his inability to kick touchbacks. The fact that Fipp&Chip had to even devise that hairbrained scheme of kicking short vs. C.Patterson is ridiculous, and cost them the Vikings game. You gotta give your defense as much field as possible to give them oppurtunities to make plays.

          • Dominik

            Problem is, he can be good from 42 to 47, bot those 30-39 misses are killing me. It happens to some good kickers, too, but they don’t have a 51 career long. It’s that mix that Henery brings to the table that makes me cringe.

          • Matt

            Nope, I was serious. He wasn’t as good as he could have been last year, but that’s the nature of kicking.

            And you can’t use FG% as a basis, as that doesn’t take into account individual kick difficulty.

          • Dominik

            And what’s your take against this article, which takes difficulty into account. Also, why do you ignore kickoffs?

            http://mcnabborkolb.com/blog/2014/2/19/ranking-the-2013-nfl-kickers-or-why-alex-henery-doesnt-deserve-your-support

  • SereneBowrageyel

    my classmate’s
    aunt makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has
    been fired for 7 months but last month her paycheck was $15495 just working on
    the computer for a few hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

    • Johnny Domino

      Jordan Matthews will pay you twice that to leave us alone.

      • Philip Soloninka

        Jordan Matthews has deleted this comment.

        • Eagles1018

          Jordan Matthews has forgotten better things than anyone has ever thought of.

          Post mini-camp, in anticipation of training camp, Jordan Matthews will not sleep. He will simply wait…….

          • Philip Soloninka

            “Continue to hydrate, continue to eat right,” he said. “I know I’m going to work out, I know I’m going to train hard, continue to focus on the little things, nutrition, making sure I get enough sleep and those things. – Jordan Matthews

            Jordan Matthews logged into my account, found his own quote, and quoted himself in response to you.

          • Richard Colton

            The fact that Sheil is doing the Jordan Matthews thing makes this even better

          • Birds4Life

            That was classic how Sheil threw that in the diary yesterday! I was cracking up when I read that.

          • Philip Soloninka

            Classic Sheil.

        • eaglespur

          Oh Jordan,
          elegantly galloping,
          beautiful mane flowing lovely in the breeze,
          Sweet, sweet reverie, to fill my dreams for a fortnight…
          Curse! the 35 days I must wait til I may behold you once more!
          Tim McManus

          • Johnny Domino

            Next 35 days: Jordan Matthews haiku contest.

            Winner will receive total consciousness, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    I’m going to be watching Curry this preseason to see if he pass rush translates to the outside. I think he brings about as much as Graham, but the extra weight Curry has added may change that. I’ve always rooted for Graham, but why keep him if Curry replaces him off the edge and Smith is an upgrade in space, and they are both cheaper?

  • Scott J

    Hmm, what am I going to do for 35 days? Sixers draft is coming up. I could jump back on the Phillies bandwagon since they’re on a winning streak.

    • Philip Soloninka

      World Cup…USA…. #every4years

      • peteike

        yes, yes and yes to all 3

      • Warhound

        #Soccer-Who Cares? [ Showing my age :) ]

        • peteike

          interest is off the chain right now, first time maybe ever for soccer in the states.

          • Warhound

            Yeah – just going for a chuckle ;-)

  • Screaming Eagle

    “broke into this kind of elegant gallop” kudos to McManus for recognizing that you can’t describe anything Jordan Mathews does with one verb like “run”. An adjective and a verb consisting of more than three letters was most appropriate here.

    • Philip Soloninka

      That’s the influence of The Intern.

  • cliff henny

    was never huge on Barkley, but he’s an Eagle now so i’m hoping it works out. but yesterday he got a little snippy with Jimmy Kempski (of all reporters) on reddit about soemthing he wrote (poor reads, arm strength, etc, pretty much what every reporter has been writing). i like JimmyK, as comic relief, really couldnt care less about his football opinion, plenty of others i go to before him. all i thought was ‘why in the world would Barkley give a ratazz what JK wrote?’, even though Barkley was probably 100% correct. felt, to me, like a struggling backup over-hyped qb getting rabbit ears. not good.

    • Andy124

      If Jimmy knew that criticizing a QB would get him a chance to play catch with that QB, he’d be tearing Nick apart on the daily.

      • cliff henny

        did you see the tweet or whatever reddit calls it? MB was fired up. be one thing to respond with ‘clueless, stick to stick-figures’ ,but Barkley went meltdown mode. picking a fight with Kempski is like coming home and kicking the dog. really dont like qbs with rabbit ears

        • Andy124

          Yeah. I replyed to the same tweet from Mike Kaye that you did. I didn’t actually think Barkley was THAT bad in his response.

          Still, responding at all does no good for the public image.

          Jimmy mentioned it in his recap: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/eagles/Eagles-minicamp-practice-notes-Jordan-Matthews-Nick-Foles-continue-to-impress.html

          So I asked him to tell Nick I think he has a weak arm so I can get in a game of catch with him. The technical term I used was “farfalle arm” in reference to his Alex Henery noodle leg picture.

          • cliff henny

            true, it’s always who. like shady gets a pass for, well, just about everything from me. when you are struggling to beat out stinkchez, just shut your mouth.

    • Kev_H

      It’s tough on a guy like Barkley who has always been “the Man” his whole life to even process what he needs to do right now. If he can’t, he won’t have much of a pro-career. He’s a 4th round pick, so it’s no great loss if he doesn’t make it, but I always prefer guys who had to work for it- Brady was in and out his whole college career and didn’t get any love in the draft and the great Jordan Matthews had a tough time getting recruited to college. Guys who had to fight for it have a chip on their shoulder and are better in the face of adversity than the guys who coast. I think that’s why Peyton Manning has won fewer championships than Eli Manning (who has that chip just by being Peyton Manning’s little brother) and why Donovan McNabb not only threw up in the Super Bowl, but looked like he was about to during the national anthem. I can see Barkley completely blowing up because he can’t figure out how to make a solid pro career out of the situation he finds himself in.

  • anon

    I’m excited for Nolan Caroll II’s training camp. He sounds like Boykin was last year and we know the kind of year boykin ended up with. Could the secondary actually be a strength of this team?

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I said not to sleep on Carroll & Watkins. Carroll came here for a reason & it wasn’t to ride the pine. Watkins is an athlete that’ll make noise once he gets his sea legs under him in the NFL.

      I don’t know about it being a strength…yet. That is yet to be determined. But it is certainly deeper which makes it a much stronger unit as a whole.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    You say gallop, I say long strider. Funny thing is that when I was making my case for the Eagles to target Matthews pre-draft, there were a lot of people hung up on smaller guys and said Matthews seemed slow. Once he hits stride, he takes off. Sneaky fast due to his long legs.

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Dowling of Chip’s drive. …..I read a quote from some former NFL coach about how ice cold a convo with Chip is unless you came to talk X’s&O’s. Any other topic, football related or not, was unworthy of his time, and earned you a very quick dismissal. I can’t help but love that he seemingly has nothing else going on in his life besides football. I picture him breaking down the importance of offensive linemen’s footwork to a prostitute who’s thinking to herself, “He really does do everything fast! “