Kelly’s Spin On Mariota, Foles And the QB Spot

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — As Chip Kelly approached his crowded table at the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday morning, he offered his expectations for the hour-long session with reporters.

“My yearly dental appointment,” Kelly muttered before he sat down.

The Eagles head coach touched on a variety of topics, but largely in focus was the team’s quarterback situation. That meant several questions involving Marcus MariotaSam Bradford and even Nick Foles. Read more »

Kelly And the ‘64,000-Dollar Question’

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Jeffrey Lurie said there are notebooks you could read about Chip Kelly‘s “incredibly defined” vision when it it comes to player evaluation.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s incredibly detailed, both psychologically, athletically, in so many categories,” said Lurie.

We know that Kelly seeks a specific kind of player from both a character, measurables and scheme standpoint. Now that he has full control of personnel, he has the ability to bring in precisely the type of  players he is looking for — and ship out those that don’t quite match his criteria.

By having such stringent parameters, you shrink the pool. And by shrinking the pool, don’t you run the risk of missing out on too many gifted players?

“It’s a 64,000 dollar question,” said Kelly during his hour-long session with reporters at the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday. Read more »

Kelly Responds To Tra Thomas’ Racism Claim

Howard Smith / USA Today

Howard Smith / USA Today

PHOENIX — Earlier this offseason, former Eagles assistant coach Tra Thomas suggested that race might have had something to do with the decisions Chip Kelly was making within the organization.

“One of the things that you’re seeing right now, and these are the things that you have heard from the locker room from different players is that … they feel like there is a hint of racism,” Thomas said on FOX, via

“Yeah, you have seven assistant black coaches, but only one black coach is over the segment. The other guys are assistants to the assistant coaches. Duce Staley is the only guy that’s head over his segment who is gonna be in charge of his group. The other guys are just assistants to an assistant coach.”

Today, at the owners meetings, Kelly was asked about Thomas’ claims. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bradford ‘Worth the Risk’

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX, Ariz. – For all the talk of power structures and system fits at Jeffrey Lurie‘s press conference Tuesday, the Eagles owner never strayed far from this fundamental point:

“The only model to me that correlates to having big success in the NFL,” he said, “is having a Hall of Fame, franchise quarterback.”

Coming out of Oklahoma, there were many around the league who believed Sam Bradford could be the centerpiece of a winning organization — including members the Eagles brass, apparently. Read more »

Lurie: Mortgaging the Future Can Make Sense

Jeffrey Lurie. Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY

Jeffrey Lurie. Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The question posed to Jeffrey Lurie concerned the power structure that he settled on earlier this offseason.

Was there risk in choosing a model where the head coach has complete control?

“The only model to me that correlates to having big success in the NFL is having a Hall of Fame, franchise quarterback,” Lurie said. “Then you can put any system around that player, and you can rationalize that structure.”

His comment was completely fair. Great quarterbacks oftentimes make mediocre coaches and general managers look extraordinary. And Lurie has been consistent in his belief that the Eagles need a franchise quarterback to finally bring home a Lombardi Trophy.

The question is: Who is that quarterback going to be? Read more »

Lurie: ‘Chip Had A Vision’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The last time Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media, he was very clear about his intentions to bring back Howie Roseman as general manager.

“Is that a question? Yes,” he said when asked if Roseman would remain GM.

He made a sharp turn in the opposite direction just days later, bumping Roseman out of the personnel business while handing Chip Kelly the keys to the Cadillac. What happened?

“I changed my mind,” Lurie said with a laugh to open up his 40-minute session with reporters at the owners meetings Tuesday.

Or, more accurately, Kelly changed his mind. The head coach suggested it was Lurie’s call to alter the power structure. While that’s technically true — Lurie would of course have to approve such a move — this was not Lurie’s idea. It was Kelly’s. Read more »

Lurie On McCoy: Chip Wanted a One-Cut Runner

Jeffrey Lurie. Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY

Jeffrey Lurie. Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY

PHOENIX, Ariz. — When Chip Kelly explained the LeSean McCoy trade a couple weeks ago, he made it sound like the decision was primarily a financial one. The Eagles wanted to free up some cap space and rid themselves of McCoy’s contract.

But that theory met some resistance when the team later threw $23 million guaranteed at DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media Tuesday afternoon and provided some clarity.

“We’ve been talking about the asset value of LeSean for a long time because he wasn’t the style of runner that Chip prefers, but a great player,” Lurie said. Read more »

Gone At 2? Whisenhunt Talks Mariota

Mariota and Winston. Courtesy of USA Today

Mariota and Winston. Courtesy of USA Today

Phoenix, Ariz. — Ken Whisenhunt spent the better part of his morning answering questions about Marcus Mariota. Seated at a roundtable alongside reporters during the AFC coaches breakfast, the Titans head coach was peppered from all angles about his plans at quarterback, and whether they involve Chip Kelly’s former signal-caller.

We’re in the middle of misdirection season, so any comments from a coach or general manager regarding potential draft plans certainly can’t be taken as gospel. That said, Whisenhunt came off as genuinely impressed by what he’s seen out of Mariota to this point in the evaluation process.

“Very high,” he said when asked about the quarterback’s football IQ. “He has very good spatial memory. You say, what is spatial memory? He remembers plays, he remembers fronts, he remembers things in the short term and the long term. We were talking about an unbalanced set that USC ran against them three years ago. And he said, ‘Oh yeah, that was in this game at this time.’ Those are the kind of things that to me are important to that position. You have to have a memory that can see everything and remember it, because when it happens in a game you have to come over and communicate that on the sideline and then you have to have a plan for how you are going to adjust to it. That’s what the really successful ones do. He exhibits that type of quality.” Read more »

‘Stunned’ Rex: McCoy Trade Took 30 Minutes

Rex Ryan. Brian Spurlock / USA Today

Rex Ryan. Brian Spurlock / USA Today

PHOENIX, Ariz. — On March 3, Buffalo Bills coaches, personnel people and owners were sitting in a room together going over their plans for the upcoming free agency period.

That’s when GM Doug Whaley’s phone rang.

“We’re sitting around making our plans for free agency, what our team looks like, what we want it to look like, and all of a sudden we get this call from Philadelphia,” said Bills coach Rex Ryan. “And I think that was when the trade started. Probably 30 minutes later, the trade was done.

“We never saw it [coming]. It was an opportunity, that’s it.” Read more »

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