Three Highlights From Chip Kelly

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly met with the media this afternoon before the Eagles returned to practice. Here are three things that stood out.

1. The only players that are not practicing today are wide receiver Josh Huff (shoulder) and offensive lineman Matt Tobin (ankle). Huff had been handling kickoff return duties, but that job will now go to Nolan Carroll II (assuming Huff doesn’t play Sunday).

Asked why Carroll fits over guys like Darren Sproles, Kelly said: “The way we’re doing things from a return standpoint, I think the way Nolan hits things, he really fits in terms of what our blocking scheme is right now. But you’ll see Darren back there. You asked me who the first guy is, that doesn’t mean he can’t be on the second kick. Brandon Boykin could be back there. Brad Smith could be back there. We’ve got a lot of guys that have returned kickoffs.”

Carroll has not returned kicks since 2010. That year, he averaged 24.26 yards per return, which ranked 16th in the league.

2. Kelly seems to have grown tired of the kicker questions. Alex Henery lost his job during the summer, and the Eagles will roll into Week 1 with rookie Cody Parkey.

Asked if he’ll have a short leash with Parkey, Kelly said: “I don’t have another kicker, so it’s not like we’re gonna put the No. 2 guy in. He’s gonna kick. …I’m thinking about today. He’s gonna go. You can be the doom-sayer and worry about the negative part of it. I’m worried about being positive, and let’s go. He’s our kicker.”

There’s no doubt the kicking game warrants plenty of attention – especially early in the season. The Eagles didn’t address it back in the spring (aside from signing Carey Spear) and are now left to cross their fingers and hope that Parkey comes through.

To the rookie’s credit, he booted a couple of 50+ yarders in the final preseason game and looks like he has a strong leg.

The truth is, there aren’t a ton of options out there. Unless he’s a complete disaster during the first few weeks of the season, Parkey will likely be the guy.

3. There is an alternate universe in which the Jordan Matthews hype this summer could have been Marqise Lee hype.

The Eagles had high grades on both receivers and wanted to get their hands on one of the two when the second round started. The Jaguars snagged Lee with the 39th pick, and the Eagles traded up to take Matthews three spots later.

“He was on our board,” Kelly said. “Very talented kid. We were really, really high on Marqise, had a very, very high grade. I saw him up close and personal in the times we played USC. He had a great knack for the deep ball, does a great job adjusting to it.

“He’s an unbelievable competitor. Any ball that’s thrown, he really thinks is his. And he’s got a great mentality from it. Really fun kid to be around, has a great work ethic. I think everybody at USC still just raves about him as a practice player. He’s everything you want. Excited to compete against him because I know what type of player he is. He put up some very good numbers on us so hopefully we can shut him down a little bit better in the NFL than I did in college.”

In a 2012 game, Lee caught 12 balls for 157 yards and two touchdowns against Kelly’s Oregon squad.

Many (including yours truly) thought the Eagles might take Lee with the 26th pick once they traded back. Instead, they went with Marcus Smith II, banking on the possibility that they’d be able to move up to get a receiver in the second round. And that’s what ended up happening.

Around The Web

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.

  • Guest

    I love our savior J-Matt, but if Lee’s injuries were a fluke he’s going to be an absolute stud. He’s probably who they would have preferred walking away with in round 2.

  • Could have done Marquis Lee at 26 and still picked Matthews in the 2nd round. As it stands, we took two in the top three. Yeah – we would have been upset that pass rush wasn’t addressed, but as it stands, it wasn’t.

    • B-West

      Thought it was the 26th pick. These mistakes are very unlike Sheil, consider me concerned.

      I agree on the draft though… If you wanted one, maybe playing out the depth made sense. But it seems like the planned to restock at WR all along, so why not just grab guys the guys you like?

      • sdk152

        I am in a rut. The hamstring injury is really affecting me. From now on, I won’t count the reps and will make the reps count (oh, and I’ll fix the mistake). -SK

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          Love that you mix it up with us common folk Sheil. This is the greatest web page I’ve ever found… well except the ones I don’t tell anyone about.

          Seriously though, You, Tim, and these guys have helped me take my Eagle fanaticism to an entirely new level. Thank you.

        • B-West

          Don’t let it get you down, you’ve got years of good tape. We know what you bring to the table around here.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            This is a “what have you done for me lately” league. Sheil could be a surprise veteran cut next summer if he keeps this up.

          • joeblow

            Dude, Sheil is getting old. Soon, he will be like Champ Bailey, out there tripping people with his walker.

        • Andy Six Score and Four

          With the 3-letters/3-numbers, you are clearly a Penn State man! Yes!

          I knew there was a reason you were so good at this stuff.

        • CHRIS – CB with dreads

          That’s what the preseason is for, Sheil. Review the tape and clean it up for the regular season.

        • dnabrice

          We have a spot open for the Birds247 writers in the blogs “official” fantasy league.

          We figured between you, Tim, and the intern, you could field a team.

          Draft is Thursday at 4.

          You guys up for it?

        • hillbillybirdsfan

          You should be fine, Sheil. In completely unrelated news, Phillymag has signed a new sports reporter known as ‘Murderpen’

    • JofreyRice

      funny, because Chip must have had a REALLY high opinion of M. Smith II, to pass up Lee 2x. I believe he called Lee the best receiver he had ever coached against, at one point. Maybe they were thinking that the injury and reduced production would have him drop further, but then when they saw him go off the board, decided they needed to go up and get Matthews before they really had to panic & reach at the end of the round.

      • if that’s true, and there’s no reason to think it isn’t, then both 1st and 2nd picks were panicky.

        • JofreyRice

          Where did Matthews go? Top half of the second? Yeah, I guess I imagined him being more a later second/early third guy, so if I ruled the world I could call that a bit of a reach. When you watched him play at Vandy it was like he was slightly less than the sum of his parts. Size, crazy production, work ethic.

          I mean, the thing is, I think Chip has a great plan for using Matthews in a specific way, and I think Matthews will be productive in that role, so how much does it really matter? Like you wouldn’t just set Marques Colston up outside and ask him to beat outside cornerbacks all day, but he has a vital role in that offense from the slot. I mean, Kelly can make Jeff Maehl appear vaguely competent, and Matthews is much better than Jeff Maehl. As I said at the time, if I had my druthers it probably wouldn’t be Matthews. It would have been Lee or Paul Richardson or Allen Robinson. It’s just IMO, when it comes down to it, outside of the system and everything else, I just like those guys better with the ball in their hands, moving around. But Chip knows a lot more about football than I do in general, and a lot more about who he needs for his offense to work, in particular, it’s just strikes me as weird that after getting rid of Jackson, the first priority was to upgrade on Jason Avant.

          • Matthews was a guy that I really liked there, so I’m glad they pulled the trigger when they did. Your’s was an interesting hypothetical. I never considered the round 2 WR a panic move until I reconsidered the things they said about Lee.

          • Travis Papa

            A lot of ppl had Matthews as high as the late 1st rd. He was a late riser from all the mock drafts. If the draft was a month later he would have been a mid 1st rd guy.

          • CHRIS – CB with dreads

            Random question: is your profile pic supposed to be a young Howie Roseman reaching for draft picks?

          • JofreyRice

            No, absolutely not. It’s Howie Roseman at his actual age. He’s very youthful.

          • CHRIS – CB with dreads

            With his access to age-defying smoothies and great facilities, I can believe it.

          • Breathe 21

            Well, Maclin replaced D Jax. Chip upgraded our recieving core. I see Maclin and Matthews as an upgrade over D Jax and Avant. Avant was horrible in this offense. We also added Sproles. I think we will have less deep throws, but more YAC and more effeciency.

          • JofreyRice

            I suppose if I saw Maclin as an upgrade on Jackson I’d feel the same way. I think he’s got some health concerns, along with the fact that he was never as shifty or speedy in the open field as Jackson.

          • dnabrice

            And McCoy will have better blocking downfield so he’ll score more long TDs.

          • wee2424

            Jackson suprisingly would attemp to block and for his size wasnt horrible at it. He at least got in the defenders way. Maclin just doesnt want to block. There are ALOT of instances of that. Shady got into it with him on at least one time that i can remember. If chip.felt as though the team was better without Jackson then im for it. But i do think people saying he took plays off is at times over stated. Remember in 2008 against the Cards when Mcnabb threw that pick in the NFCCG, Jackson ran all the way down feild and stripped the defender. That was hustle. He kept us in that game. I dont think Maclin would have done that. Overall i.think Jackson showed more hustle and fighting spirit then Maclin ever has.

          • John E. Zang

            Really? Maclin is defintely a way better gamer than Jackson ever was or will be. He plays with intensity and is always locking heads with defenders I don’t know what you’ve been watching. He’s a physical reciever and that’s part of what Chip likes about him. Just because Desean hustled one time in his rookie season doesn’t mean anything compared to the rest of his body of work.

          • wee2424

            So you occasionally saw Maclin push a DB after the whistle blew. Yeah i saw that too. How about Maclin continuosly running out of bounds instead of fighting for extra yards. How about Maclin occasionally going down before any real contact is made. Dude, do some research, there is a reason he is nick named self tackling Maclin. And i know you are going to say i never heard that. Just because you never heard it doesnt mean its not true. The general consensus is that Maclin is a little soft and obviously a bit fragile. There are alot of articles out there about Maclin not giving alot of effort blocking downfeild. Hopefully Chip brings something better out of him because Reid didnt. You never closely watched him. It was maddening at times.

          • dnabrice

            I don’t remember all those instances, but we’ll certainly get to see what he does this year.

    • Tom w

      Yea bc the way the eagles fo operates is to address immediate concerns in the draft and overlook concerns. Nobody was expecting smith to overtake cole this season and as it stands he is learning a different position. He was drafted to replace cole next year. Same thing will happen at ilb next draft. They will draft demecos replacement in the first three rds and prep him as a backup for a year.

      Beyond that, they took smith at 26 after they got a third rounder. Skins were set to take smith at 2.2 so the eagles drafted him at 26 rather than risk trading down again w the vikings. It worked out. The eagles got the most well rounded olb in the draft outside of mack and barr and still got a stud wr arguably better than lee in matthews from atleast a health standpoint. 54 was too late to get a olb and that proved out when the chargers got the last good one right before we woukdve picked. That third we turned into watkins and hart and more. Two more solid contributors.

      • well, maybe. Depends on how Smith works out in the long term. You know I don’t like reaching for need at any round, at any position, save QB.

        I also don’t buy the Redskins story. Just don’t. I’ve heard it from the Eagles before, and it scares me. Because the last time I heard it, that guy, Jon Harris, turned out to be a stone cold bust.

    • MagatBrackendale

      “Bradley called him out for lack of effort a few weeks ago and he got an unsportsmanlike also. Doesn’t he sound like a Desean clone?”
      A quote about Lee from the piece on the Jags on this board.

    • Glenn

      Excellent point. Should have picked Marquis Lee at 26. For the very reasons that Kelly made. Was hoping for either Cooks or Lee. And then, they could have picked up Matthews in the 2nd round, who may have fell to them. Two future good to excellent starters that could play for years in this system. I don’t believe Smith will amount to what you expect from a first rounder, and has proven it so far. I don’t think he should have been picked above 54, let alone 26.

  • paul from nc

    Didn’t Oregon have any Kickers we could sign?

    • DuckFan

      Surely you are being facetious with that comment. Kickers have kept Oregon teams out of the Natty on more than one occasion.

      • DuckHunterSThompson

        The natty… Just keep that to yourself. It’s embarrassing.

  • Kev_H

    Can’t win for trying with these media types regarding kickers. Keep Henery– questions/issue. Get rid of Henery– questions/issue. Draft the best kicker in the world in the first round — why’d you spend a high pick on a kicker.

    To me, you pick a guy who can do it and who has a good work ethic, put him on a well researched and proven successful training regimen, stick with him and accept the results. The new guy has a better leg than Henery, so any issues were addressed. Press on.

  • Andy

    This team could have ended up with Dee Ford and Marqise Lee if the draft had fallen just a little bit differently.

    • Tom w

      Dee fords own coaches doubted he can play olb in the nfl. Lee is an injury prone train wreck.

      • John E. Zang

        But he has that “high motor”. He had prototypical Andy pick written all over him. If I’m not mistaken he’s nearly the same size as Brandon Graham.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      Could have traded up for Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney had the draft fallen just a little bit differently.

    • Will, Always Shady in CA

      True, but Ill take what we have in Smith II and Matthews. I wouldn’t mind going back in time and getting another player in place of Huff though.

  • Eagles1018…Please no more du

    Who’s not pumped up yet about the season? Well here you go! Watch this video and get inspired!

  • damrvrhunter

    Why is everyone getting suckered into the bullshit praise he is heaping on M. Lee, you can insert Manziel’s name into the same comments and it would be exactly the same things he said about him as well? We all saw how that went after the Cowboys passed on Johnny Football.

    • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

      How’d you get away with putting bs in there? I’m not even brave enough to try it.

      • damrvrhunter

        Feeling saucy about supposedly knowledgeable fans falling such transparent coachspeak.

  • bushisamoron

    Let’s check back in three years. The only thing we can say for certain now is that the Reid era 2011 draft choices (i will not list because if you’re reading this then you know the picks by heart) was horrible. It helped to cement our 4-12 record that next year and Andy getting the heave ho at the end of that year. Not that anyone could actually give Andy the heave ho, really just a figure of speech.

  • johnr

    I can see why Kelly is tired of the kicker questions. The whole “we will just have to cross our fingers and hold our breath every time Parkey kicks” attitude seems a little unwarranted at this point. He kicked for a major BCS program, got a look at Indy, but happened to lose his job to a future HOFer. Then he comes here and makes 50 yards look easy. The least we could do is give the guy a chance to miss a field goal or two before we look to see if they have a guy starting to warm up in the bullpen.

    • Anebriated

      funny story, Brandon McManus also lost his job to said “future HOFer”…

  • NinjaP

    marquise lee sucks and all reports from jags world is that he has been truly dreadful. lucky we dodged that bullet.