Chip Kelly told reporters earlier this summer that even if he ran the slowest offense in the NFL, his practices would still be up-tempo.
“The only reason we practice fast is because we want to get more plays in. And if we get more plays in, guys will get more reps. The more times they get reps, the better they get as a player,” he explained. “We have 90 guys on our team that we’re trying to improve on a constant basis. So how do we improve them or make decisions or evaluate them if we never get a chance to have them on film?”
No matter your standing, you’re going to get plenty of work if you are a part of this team. That’s an attractive feature of the Kelly operation for reserve players looking for a home or to better their standing in the league.
“If you’re [second or third string], you want to be in our camp because you get more reps than anyone else,” said Kelly. “Because of the reps we get in practice, our guys get a chance to develop a little more. You go to some teams and the threes aren’t getting many reps — they are losing time compared to our guys.”
Interestingly enough, a good number of Eagles released in recent days quickly landed jobs elsewhere. Offensive linemen Karim Barton and Donald Hawkins were claimed by Cleveland. (Hawkins has since gone to the Cowboys). Emil Igwenagu got scooped up by Detroit. Joe Kruger went to San Diego. Houston claimed Damaris Johnson. Damion Square is now in Kansas City with Andy Reid. Henry Josey landed on Jacksonville’s practice squad while military veteran Alejandro Villanueva found a home in Pittsburgh.
Part of that speaks to the growing depth on this club. And part of it could be that Kelly’s methods regarding increased reps are proving beneficial.
“We told those guys on Day One, I hope that goal one for us is that you make this football team, but then goal two is that you get an opportunity to make another football team with the exposure that you get here,” said Kelly, “and hopefully we prepare you for that.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles signed eight players to their practice squad Sunday.
The first installment of our season preview series looks at life without DeSean Jackson.
Howie Roseman defends Kelly on the issue of having a lot of Oregon players on the roster.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor offers his thoughts on the practice squad moves.
[Will] Murphy. I get that Kelly likes the way Murphy practices. He must be the Jerry Rice of practice players. I don’t like seeing Murphy on the squad because I don’t think he’s got an NFL future and there seem to be lots of WRs out there with more talent. If this is Kelly’s one vice, I can deal with it. But I’m not a fan.
Why Tucker and not Josey? Tucker is a better blocker and STs player. He was here last year and knows the offense. I thought he had a real shot at the roster this year. Josey is a tough subject. I need to re-watch the Jets game before saying too much. There is no doubt that he lit up teams this preseason, but there are 2 key questions. First, how much of that was him vs the system and players around him? Second, could he have that kind of success against starting players?
Bob Brookover of the Inquirer thinks this could be the year when the Eagles finally turn it around at the safety position.
In 2014, safety could finally be a safe word to use around Eagles fans again.
“I feel like with me, Malcolm [Jenkins], and Nate Allen back there, we definitely have one of the best safety corps, but I’m not into talking,” second-year safety Earl Wolff said. “We’ll prove it this year.”
The proof, of course, must come on the field, but preseason confidence is high. The free-agent addition of Jenkins tops the list of reasons. He signed a three-year contract and left the New Orleans Saints, who opted to give Jairus Byrd, a more high-profile free agent, a longer and more lucrative deal.
“I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, but my motivation right now is more proving to the players on this team what I can do more than proving that to [the Saints],” Jenkins said. “My urgency is to prove my worth to this team right now, but I definitely have a chip on my shoulder from switching teams.”
Here’s to a safe and relaxing Labor Day for all our readers. Rest up. Football’s coming.