What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Michael VickHere’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Alan Siegel of SB Nation with a good long read about Chip Kelly’s New Hampshire roots:

UNH’s all-in-one field house sits at the top of a hill on the edge of the Durham campus. One wall of the Paul Sweet Oval, the facility’s indoor track, has a tiny football coaches box built into it. The makeshift wooden structure is only accessible by first climbing a ladder, then perilously shuffling across a catwalk. It overlooks tiny Cowell Stadium.

Buried in the basement, underneath the indoor track, Lundholm Gymnasium, and Swasey Indoor Pool, was Kelly’s football laboratory. In reality, it was just a small office. But it’s where he honed an offense that was, in the words of record-breaking former UNH receiver David Ball, “his baby.”

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 20th in his power rankings:

It’s amazing, the similarity in scope of the careers of Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick. A colleague in the industry who has worked for the Eagles told me the team never will win a championship with Vick, and while I never want to overreact, it’s almost impossible to disagree with that sentiment.

That said, the Eagles’ defense played easily its best game Thursday night — Connor Barwin in particular made several impressive plays. Still, the unit could not overcome the giveaway-fest hosted by the offense and special teams; facing too many short fields proved to be too much.

The Eagles are 23rd in ESPN.com’s power rankings:

Early returns are positive on offense, as only the Packers and Broncos have more offensive touchdowns than the Eagles. But can Philly can run its track-meet offense at Mile High?

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com has the Eagles 20th:

The Eagles had five giveaways on Thursday night and have now lost eight straight at home.

In his QB Index, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com puts Vick in the “Almost There” category:

Whereas Tannehill and Flacco have been steady this year, Vick and Stafford remain up-and-down. The ups have been really sweet. Stafford put together two composed games to start the year before a roller coaster performance against Washington. When he misses, he misses by a lot. He lacks touch, but connects on plays he shouldn’t. Yin and yang.

SI.com’s Peter King thinks the Chiefs used Pistol creator and team consultant Chris Ault to slow down the Eagles’ offense:

Andy Reid hired Ault, who coached Nevada and developed Colin Kaepernick into an NFL quarterback, in the offseason to help his team in a variety of ways. Ault’s job is shrouded in mystery. But you can see his effect on both offense and defense. Andy Reid has adopted some of Ault’s stuff into his West Coast offense—Pro Football Focus had Alex Smith lined up in the pistol eight times Thursday night—and he’s also been active in helping the Kansas City defense against the wide-open offenses the Chiefs will play this year. I can only guess why Ault’s role is top secret: Kansas City travels to Washington Dec. 8. Ault and Kyle Shanahan, before Ault took this job, exchanged some ideas informally last winter. I can tell you Reid’s staff values Ault highly, and he had a big hand in divining what Chip Kelly was doing on Thursday night.

Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles 25th in his power rankings:

Quick “Did You Know?” here, on the heels of Philadelphia’s Thursday loss to K.C.: Chip Kelly lost his first Thursday appearance at Oregon, too — a game which also happened to mark his debut as Oregon’s head coach. Counting a Fiesta Bowl that happened to fall on that day, Kelly went 5-0 on Thursdays from there on out, winning those games by an average of 23.5 points.

Burke also has a mock draft out. And guess who he has the Eagles taking with the 10th pick?

Mariota is the rather obvious match here — he played for Chip Kelly at Oregon and is thriving in the offense Kelly left behind. The MMQB’s Greg Bedard reminded us, though, that Kelly recruited Manziel partially because Johnny Football played in a high school offense similar to Kelly’s attack. This one would be a lot of fun if it happened.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 19th in his power rankings:

The Eagles wrongly assumed they were done losing when Andy Reid was on the sidelines.

Frank Schwab of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner blog has the Eagles 20th:

I’m not sure if fans realize the irony in saying things like, “The media totally overreacted about Chip Kelly’s offense after one game! It’s horrible!!!!”

Vince Verhei of Football Outsiders had Vick as the 30th-ranked passer last week:

Between the 40s, Vick went 1-of-6 for 13 yards with one first down, one interception, and one sack. His three carries went for 61, 24, and 14 yards, and three first downs.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

0V3J9350A roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles after their 26-16 loss to the Chiefs.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland credits the Chiefs’ defense for slowing down the Birds:

As it turns out, slowing down the most-hyped offense in the NFL is actually pretty easy. Just take the two best defensive players in football through two and a half weeks, let them wreak havoc, and never give that offense the ball back. This football stuff is easy! The Chiefs didn’t reveal a blueprint for stopping Michael Vick and beating the Eagles 26-16 last night, because other teams can’t replicate what the Chiefs can do defensively. And the Chiefs are a scary team that nobody is going to want to play all season for that same reason.

SI.com’s Don Banks says Chip Kelly’s Eagles looked a lot like Andy Reid’s Eagles on Thursday night:

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Chip KellyHere’s the weekly roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

ESPN.com moved the Eagles down five spots to No. 19 in its power rankings:

There’s the track meet everyone expected. Philly averaged 20.4 seconds per play, more than five seconds faster than last week, and gained 8.8 yards per play Sunday.

Stanford head coach David Shaw talks to The MMQB’s Peter King about Chip Kelly:

“That’s why I love Chip Kelly,’’ Shaw said. “He knows that I love him. He used to say it all the time and no one would believe him. He would just laugh, one of those smirk laughs that he has, and he would always tell people, ‘What we’re doing is not hard. We’re doing it faster, and we’re doing it with big kids who are smart kids.’ We’re like that—changing formations, making our players communicate, communicate, and the ball is getting snapped and they’re running something very simple. Now, with Chip, he gets the ball to DeSean Jackson in space, he gets LeSean McCoy in space, he’s created the same thing. So it’s not just schemes, it’s the combination of schemes and personnel. If you’ve got the guys to do it, to get guys in space, you can make big plays.’’

Bill Barnwell of Grantland looks at Kelly’s decision to throw the red flag last week:

Chip Kelly stretched his streak of somewhat-bizarre challenges to two, having challenged an obviously dropped pass at the beginning of the Washington game a week ago. (That play at least fit the first-down-deep-in-opposition-territory criteria from above.) Here, Kelly challenged a first-quarter sideline catch by Malcom Floyd that would have turned a nine-yard completion on second-and-12 into an incomplete pass. The two replays shown between the completion and the ensuing snap raised some doubts about the catch being valid without making it clear that Kelly would win the protest, but again, the context didn’t make much sense. The upside of the challenge was turning a third-and-3 from the Philadelphia 19 into a third-and-12 from the Philly 28-yard line. Given how bad the Philadelphia defense is, I wouldn’t trust them to stop Philip Rivers in either situation; you’d rather force the opposing team to need 12 yards, but is that difference worth throwing the flag on a call that was ruled a catch on the field without seeing any indisputable evidence suggesting otherwise? I have to think it wouldn’t be the case.

Former Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder reflects on Andy Reid’s time in Philly, via ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox:

“What happened to us at the end was it wasn’t about the process anymore,” said Rick Burkholder, who spent all 14 seasons with Reid in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ trainer and joined Reid in Kansas City. “It wasn’t about Wednesday or Thursday or Friday. It was about the Dream Team. It was about, ‘You have to win 12 or you’re a failure.’ ‘If he doesn’t win the Super Bowl, he should be fired.’

“I don’t know how he lasted as long as he did there. The pressure’s so great in that city. It just wears you down. Ten [wins] is not good enough. If he wins 10 games for 10 years in this city they’ll put a statue of him outside of Arrowhead. He won 10 games for 10 years in Philly basically and still in the end it wasn’t enough.”

Dick Vermeil talks to SI.com’s Don Banks about Reid’s return:

“It is a different experience for Andy in coming back,” concedes Vermeil. “He left after being relieved of his responsibilities, and I left on my own. But I think what’s the same is once you’ve coached in Philadelphia, you get emotionally connected with the city and the fans get emotionally connected with you. Once they identify with you, I think they hang with you. They’re very, very loyal, and that’s why I think there will be a strong consensus, a high percentage of fans who will react with the very positive side of their passion when Andy takes the field. They will appreciate what he got done here.”

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 18th in his power rankings:

Can Chip Kelly fix the defense? That’s the issue. They can score all they want, but they have major problems on defense.

Prisco predicts a 30-23 Eagles victory Thursday night:

The Eagles can score. The Chiefs have been really good on defense. Something has to give. I say it’s the Chiefs’ defense that gives a little. Mike Vick and the offense will have some success down the field against the Chiefs. The Eagles defense has been awful, but it is better here against a Chiefs offense that is just OK.

Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com weighs in on Kelly’s second game:

It took exactly one week for the NFL to adjust. San Diego held the ball for 40:17, converting 10 of 15 third down situations and posting 33 first downs, to keep the Blur Offense off the field. Fast-snap offenses accustomed to flying down the field as spectators gasp become frustrated when they have to stand around watching the opponent, and the visiting Bolts quickly got the home Eagles frustrated. Maybe in retrospect, Philadelphia jumped ahead of Washington 33-7 in Week 1 for same reason Green Bay jumped ahead of Washington 31-0 in Week 2 — the cover-your-eyes awful R*dsk*ns defense.

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com has the Eagles 19th in his power rankings:

Well one thing hasn’t changed for the Eagles … the Swiss cheese defense.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 17th:

Chip Kelly revolutionizing the NFL in its 94th season lasted one week. At least now that the Eagles are 1-1, people will tap the brakes when it comes to anointing them the second coming of “The Greatest Show on Turf (Er, Grass).”

Of course, the offense still put up a 30-spot in Sunday’s loss. Philly’s weak spot — as we suspected would be the case two weeks ago — proved to be the defense. Still, win or lose, this is an exciting team to watch.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Looks like the national pundits are feeling the Eagles in this matchup. Here’s what they’re saying about Chip Kelly‘s squad heading into the Chargers game:

Pete Prisco sees a 33-20 Eagles win.

The Chargers looked good early against the Texans, then folded in the second half. The defense was gassed against the Texans. Can you imagine what Chip Kelly’s offense will do to them? Look for the Eagles to roll here. Mike Vick has a big day.

Don Banks of SI.com likes the Eagles 37-17.

A cross-country trip to the Eastern time zone in a short week, after blowing a 21-point second-half lead in your home-opener, is no way to reach mid-September. But that’s the reality for the new-look Chargers, who suddenly seem a lot like the old Chargers. As for the Eagles, they’re never going to be boring are they? The Andy Reid era got stale, but Chip Kelly’s tenure is off to a thrill-a-minute beginning.

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports sees a 34-23 Birds win.

I liked San Diego’s first 40 minutes of the season. The last 20? Not so much. Now, they’ve got to travel across the entire country, on five days’ rest, and try to keep up with the Eagles? Nope. Not happening.

All 13 of the ESPN NFL experts are going with the Eagles.

Same goes for the eight prognosticators at CBS Sports.

Bill Simmons  of Grantland is taking the Chargers (+8.5).

Chris Ryan’s Eaglegasm and Bill Barnwell’s football geekgasm collectively captured what happened for Eagles fans and football fans on Monday night. After Andy Reid left, all Philly fans wanted was a fun team that didn’t make them want to commit a felony. And all football fans wanted was for Chip Kelly to successfully answer the question “What would it be like if the greatest and most inventive Madden player ever took over an NFL offense?” Winner and winner! People are so gung-ho that Vegas bumped this line two points too high, knowing nobody wants to take San Diego when it’s much more fun to take THE MOST ENTERTAINING NFL OFFENSE OF ALL TIME!!!! Thanks for the free points — I’m grabbing the eight and a half. Regardless, Philly’s offense makes me happier than Walt Jr. waiting on Saul at the A-1 Car Wash.

Phil Sheridan predicts a 27-23 Eagles win.

There is some tape now for the Chargers’ staff to dissect. I think they will be able to slow the Eagles’ offense to some degree and find some weaknesses in their evolving defense. But a short week does not help.

John Castellane of Pro Football Focus highlights the Jason Peters-Dwight Freeney matchup.

Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney is in his second season of a conversion to pass rushing outside linebacker after a very successful stint at 4-3 defensive end. Freeney got off to a great start last week, tallying nine total pressures on the quarterback (6 hurries, 2 hits and a sack) in just 34 pass rushing opportunities. That made him the most productive pass rushing 3-4 outside linebacker in the league for Week 1.

It will be a true battle of strengths — in 2011, the last season that Peters played, he finished the year ranked fourth in the NFL in Pass Blocking Efficiency. That year he gave up just 21 total pressures in 570 pass blocking opportunities. Peters’ task of blocking Freeney is paramount because of how long Eagles quarterback Michael Vick tends to hang onto the ball. Last week he averaged 3.33 seconds to throw, longest in the league and his QB rating dropped from 136.0 when not under pressure, down to 81.6 when under pressure. If Freeney can get the best of Peters on a few plays he can really disrupt the Philadelphia offense and slow down the high tempo they desire.

 Jason La Canfora on the prospects of Vick (and the rest of the QBs) making it through a full 16  games.

The Eagles may go through four quarterbacks this season. They play so fast and loose with their protections and the quarterback is so utterly vulnerable so often, it’s hard to imagine Michael Vick being built for the long haul here … and Matt Barkley better keep himself in tip-top shape because Nick Foles could be churned up, too. It’s the bargain this offense is making — intense speed and trying to exploit matchups all over the field on every play at the expense of protection. It will be worth monitoring every time they play.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

A lot of people are saying a lot of things about Chip Kelly’s debut in the NFL. Here’s a roundup.

Grantland’s Charles P. Pierce offers his thoughts on Kelly:

So, it is entirely possible that, by the fourth week of the season, what Chip Kelly has wrought with the Philadelphia Eagles may either already be edging into obsolescence, or strangled through by natural attrition of the game, as Kelly tries to make it work with whoever’s well down the depth chart behind LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. But, for one night — the opening night of Monday Night Football — the Eagles got to go out there against the Washington Ethnic Degradations and reinvent the game … for a couple of hours, anyway.

The Eagles jumped 11 spots to No. 14 in ESPN.com’s power rankings:

Michael Vick was an effective caretaker of the read-option Monday, running 41 zone-read rushes. Philly’s 245 zone-read rush yards were the most in a game in the past five years.

ESPN.com’s Gregg Easterbrook on Kelly and the Eagles’ offense:

Inevitably, Philadelphia will need to adjust as NFL defenses learn to counter what Kelly does. In the first half on Monday night, Washington played defense as if in a two-minute drill — backed-off and spread out. Philadelphia did much of its damage by rushing against a backed-off defense that was focused on preventing long gains. Kelly’s Oregon offense ran up the middle more than generally realized; against Washington, the Eagles threw 25 times and rushed 49 times. Last season, Stanford held Oregon to 14 points by taking away up-the-middle run lanes. NFL defensive coordinators will learn to do this to the Eagles, and that will bring the Blur under control.

In an MMQB column, Peter King weighs in on Kelly’s debut:

What a fun night Monday was for the future of football. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of Washington, and/or its star quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Fun is more plays, more chances for scoring explosions. And in the first quarter, playing at breakneck pace, Philadelphia quarterback Mike Vick ran 30 snaps and put Chip Kelly in the forefront of American football innovation.

Will he stay there? Time will tell. Maybe an enterprising defensive coordinator will find holes in the Eagles’ offense, and find a way to break through the zone-blocking scheme protecting Vick to disrupt his play-managing and -making. Defensive coordinators always figure things out—just look how first-year Eagles coordinator Billy Davis frustrated Griffin Monday night.

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com bumps the Eagles up seven spots to No. 16 in his power rankings:

The Patriots ran a league-high 89 offensive plays on Sunday and the Eagles were on pace to destroy that after posting 53 in the first half alone, but they had just 24 in the second half for a total of 77 on the game. For comparison purposes, the Redskins ran 70 plays.

Field Yates of ESPN.com on the Eagles’ offense:

What Monday night also reminded us all of is that the Eagles have a trio of supremely talented players in Vick, McCoy and Jackson (all of whom disappointed in 2012) who are simply spectacular in space. Kelly’s offense will afford them extensive opportunities to play in space and make the most of those gifts, suggesting each is due for a big year provided they can stay healthy and, in the case of Vick, avoid turnovers.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com moves the Eagles up 10 spots to No. 15:

Chip Kelly sure has brought excitement to the Eagles offense. It is fast, fun and explosive. Can they sustain it?

Prisco gives the Eagles a B+ for their Week 1 performance:

The offense was as dynamic as expected from Chip Kelly in his first game. LeSean McCoy had a huge night. The defense had a good first half.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has the Eagles at 15 too:

A rookie head coach a new system on offense and defense it will take some time. They capitalized on early turnovers by the Skins. Can they keep up that pace all season long?

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com moves the Eagles up 11 spots to No. 15:

So many bright spots to point out here, yet two under-the-radar things shone through: Trent Cole looks good at linebacker on that Eagles defense. The other? Effort. Kelly has this football team playing for him; just consider how Jason Avant sold out to convert a third down late in the game. Playing hard never gets old, even as Kelly continues to reinvent offensive football.

Chris Ryan of Grantland says Kelly is making football fun again in Philly:

Last night the Eagles beat the Redskins on Monday Night Football, 33-27. They won the game with a slim margin of victory, but in terms of how hard I fell in love with this team, it was a landslide. Football games can be long and arduous, and to be sure, with an approximately four-hour running time, and a dragging final one and a half quarters, this game felt that way by the end. But during the first half, and the very beginning of the second, Chip Kelly and the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Team took us on a journey.

Ross Jones of FoxSports.com on Kelly:

Kelly had a dilemma when deciding to ditch Eugene, Ore. for the bright lights of the NFL. Leave a known commodity and a proven winner that pumps out first-round talent into the NFL Draft or take his outside-the-box philosophies into the league. You know the story, but Kelly’s immediate success in the league is remarkable.

Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com warns to slow down on the Eagles hype:

Let’s pump the brakes on this bandwagon, and we say that after predicting the Eagles would beat the Redskins Monday night. (We also have them finishing second in the NFC East.) The reason? It’s not because we don’t think Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense can’t work — clearly, it can — but because of something much more mundane: injuries.

And finally, the guys over at The700Level.com have photos of the Rocky and Philly Phanatic play-call signs.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Chip KellyHere’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles going into tonight’s game.

Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com predicts a 38-28 Eagles victory:

I can’t wait for Robert Griffin III to start Week 1 just so I don’t ever have to hear about Robert Griffin III starting Week 1 again. I’m more excited for Michael Vick running the Chip Kelly offense. The Eagles’ wisely kept Vick running the up-tempo scheme under wraps throughout the preseason, but I woudn’t be surprised if we see some nifty, no-huddle come Monday night. Philly’s not winning the Super Bowl this year, but they’re going to be an awfully entertaining team to watch each week. I’m just not sure about the defense. That’s kind of a big deal.

Taking a +600 bet for the Eagles to win the NFC East isn’t a bad idea, writes Grantland’s Bill Barnwell:

One of a number of long-shot bets on divisional winners. I think each team in the NFC East has a minimum 20 percent chance of winning the division, and this line prices the Eagles in at a 14.3 percent chance of claiming the trophy. I won’t pretend it’s likely, but the 5-11 Redskins weren’t exactly favorites to win this division last year, either.

Barnwell also names the Eagles as one of his teams that will be better in 2013. His best-case scenario:

The Eagles are Redskins North. Vick is a borderline MVP candidate, the Eagles average six yards per carry on the ground, and the defense is passable enough for Philly to win 11 games.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com predicts a 29-26 Redskins victory:

I’m so looking forward to this Monday Nighter. It should be informative. We’ll learn together just what new Eagles coach Chip Kelly has in store for Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the NFL. Will Philly run 82 plays from scrimmage? That would be hard to do against a team that can run the football as effectively as Washington, with a 1,600-yard back in Alfred Morris. The Redskins will need Morris as much as they’ll need Robert Griffin III; if those two falter, Washington’s defense will be doing more panting than tackling.

Harrison has the Eagles 26th in his power rankings:

“Our defense is pretty terrible,” said one of our top researchers at NFL Media — and an ardent Eagles fan. “We’re gonna lose games 31-27.” Typical negative Philly follower, still upset about the ’93 World Series. There is a lot to be excited about regarding this Eagles offense, however, starting with LeSean McCoy. The guess here is that Chip Kelly really scaled it back in the preseason. The new head coach has to hope his secondary can hold ‘em.

SI.com’s Peter King on Cary Williams:

Cary Williams doesn’t lead the league in aggression and ticking off teammates and foes; Miami guard Richie Incognito does. But Williams would be in a battle for No. 2 on that list.

King predicts a 31-23 Redskins victory:

Robert Griffin III and Mike Vick set a land-speed record for number of plays (2,349) in a 60-minute game. I don’t trust the Eagles defense.

The Eagles are 25th in ESPN.com’s power rankings:

The Chip Kelly experiment begins with Michael Vick under center. Kelly’s Oregon team averaged 20.9 seconds per play last season, four seconds faster than the NFL’s fastest team (Patriots).

Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com likes the Redskins to cover the 3.5-point spread:

I want to see the Eagles stop a team on defense before I believe they can with any regularity. I don’t see why Washington’s zone running scheme won’t be even more productive this season. Robert Griffin III’s health is a minor concern I suppose, but with a healthy Pierre Garcon and with Brian Orakpo back to help the pass rush, I like their chances here. DeSean Jackson might exploit the Redskins’ secondary a time or two, but if the Eagles go super hurry-up, and that offense has some 3-and-outs, and Mike Shanahan concocts the kind of run-based methodical drives I think he will, then Philly’s defense might be gassed before halftime.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com offers 10 things to watch in Week 1:

Chip Kelly’s offense. How fast can the Eagles go? Kelly loves to go as fast as any offense has gone before, but can he play at the pace he wants?

Grantland’s Bill Simmons offers preseason thoughts on the Eagles:

Ottawa reader Neil Varan wonders, “Who’s the leading candidate for your 2013 Man-Crush?” The answer: Eagles coach Chip Kelly. I love his brain, love his system, love the rapid-fire play thing … I mean, I would have picked the Eagles as my 2013 sleeper if Michael Vick weren’t so prominently involved. Last year, we decided that (a) his decision-making just wasn’t good enough, (b) it was too hard for him to stay healthy, and (c) if he were an NBA star, he’d be nearing the “I’m gonna play in China” stage of his career. Now he’s going to spearhead an offense that runs 85 plays a game and relies on him to make MORE decisions? If Kelly makes this one work in Year 1, he’s even better than I thought. And I think he’s gonna be great. Eventually. Either way, the 2013 Eagles will be a pain in the ass to play, even if they end up going only 6-10 or 7-9.

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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Chip KellyHere’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

SI.com’s Don Banks offers 20 bold predictions, including one on the Eagles/Chiefs:

The Eagles’ Chip Kelly, with his fast-break football on display in Philadelphia, will be the most exciting and talked about new coach among the eight offseason hires in the headset fraternity. But it will be “Big Red,” now wearing red in Kansas City, who gets the last laugh. Former Eagles coach Andy Reid was the only guy to jump from one full-time gig in the NFL coaching ranks to another this offseason, and he’ll show that experience really does count for something, leading the talented and vastly improved Chiefs from 2-14 to an AFC wild-card berth.

Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com is high on Matt Barkley:

Regardless, TMQ is putting his chips on this wager — not only will Barkley win the Eagles’ starting job sooner rather than later, he will be the top quarterback of the 2013 draft class. But it’s hard to see Barkley operating a zone-read action. The compromise might be Barkley running a quick-snap spread. Under Andy Reid, the Eagles rarely went four wide, favoring conventional West Coast sets that focus on intermediate routes. Kelly could install four-wide looks with the dig-or-go passing routes favored in the current college game.

Easterbrook also rips Chip Kelly:

In the most recent academic year, Oregon cleared a $31 million profit on football, according to Department of Education data, while graduating just 49 percent of its African-American players. Exploiting young black males without conferring education ought to shame Chip Kelly, the University of Oregon alumni and trustees and the NCAA. Jon Anderson, why haven’t you apologized in public for Oregon’s terrible record of failing to graduate African-American football players? Meanwhile attending the University of Oregon costs $23,352 a year for a state resident and $42,702 for out-of-state students. What might parents paying these fees, or students borrowing to meet them, think of Oregon’s new four-star, athletes-only dining facility?

Ben Muth of Football Outsiders writes about the Eagles’ offensive line, and specifically Evan Mathis:

While Mathis doesn’t have the overwhelming strength of an Iupati, he looks more consistent because of two things: balance and tenacity. For the most part, everyone plays hard in the NFL, so when someone’s effort really stands out, I consider it a skill just like speed or strength. Mathis is one of those guys.

Michael Silver of NFL.com has the Eagles 19th in his “32 questions” column:

If Chip Kelly and Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones were locked in a kitchen with a blender, would they create a personalized smoothie with secret sauce?

Judy Battista of NFL.com offers 48 things to watch this season, including a couple Eagles-related items:

The speed. The secrecy. The soundtrack. Chip Kelly’s offense with the Philadelphia Eagles has it all, with a dash of Michael Vick thrown in for good measure. Can Kelly’s warp-speed approach — don’t look down or you’ll miss the next snap — work in the NFL? And how quickly will other teams try to copy it if it does?

When it comes to Chip Kelly, there probably hasn’t been a more heralded coaching arrival in the NFL since Jimmy Johnson. No pressure, Chip; you’re merely expected to usher in an offensive revolution while winning in Philadelphia, one of the league’s pressure cookers.

Michael Vick is set to end his bankruptcy, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch:

He is now ready to scratch another goal off his list: He will soon emerge from bankruptcy, having made arrangements to pay back the last of nearly $20 million in debts to dozens of creditors.

It is an unusual accomplishment in bankruptcy circles to fully repay debts in a Chapter 11 case, according to legal experts, and Vick’s case was anything but usual.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com asked five league executives whether the read-option is here to stay. Four of the five said yes. From one of them:

“I don’t see it going away any time soon. Several different teams had success running it last year and I’m sure a few more will incorporate it this fall. I’m really looking forward to watching the Eagles’ offense this year. I think Chip Kelly is going to throw caution to the wind and run more of his Oregon offense than people think. If it works, and he keeps his quarterback healthy, the NFL will quickly follow his lead.”

John Madden talks to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times about what he’s expecting from Kelly:

“I think Chip Kelly is going to have as much influence on the game and the way it’s played now as anyone,” Hall of Fame coach John Madden said. “If for no other reason, just the pace of the game and the number of plays.

“Everyone talks about it: Can Chip Kelly do what he did in college? Probably not in its entirety, but he can do a lot of it. Not only that, everyone else is going to do a lot of it.”

Four out of five ESPN.com experts pick the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. That includes Adam Schefter:

Kelly will have this offense flying; the question is whether someone can prevent the defense from sagging.

SI.com’s Peter King catches up with former Eagles fullback Kevin Turner:

“The year after Green Bay won the Super Bowl, I was on the Eagles, and we played them in Philly. I remember the opening kickoff, and then I remember, maybe late in the first quarter, going up to our backup quarterback and saying, ‘You’ll think I’m crazy, but are we in Green Bay or Philly? And how are we doing?’ He went and got a doctor. Turns out I had played a bunch of plays on automatic pilot. The doctor said, ‘Remember these words,’ and I couldn’t. And he gave me the test three or four times, and finally I think it was the fourth time, I remembered the words and they let me back in the game. You can’t imagine the fit I would have thrown if they wouldn’t have let me back in the game.”

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What They Said About Watkins In 2011

There’s no doubt that the selection of Danny Watkins with the 23rd pick in the 2011 draft raised some immediate questions.

But those questions had less to do with Watkins’ ability than the pure logic of drafting a 26-year-old guard in the first round.

After two unimpressive seasons with the Eagles, the franchise is letting Watkins go and essentially admitting its mistake. We’ll hear from Howie Roseman later today, but I thought it’d be interesting to take a look back at what people said about Watkins back when the Eagles selected him.

Again, scouts, analysts and personnel people seemed to be pretty high on Watkins’ natural ability when he came out of Baylor.

From Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A self-described “glorified goon” when he was growing up playing hockey in Kelowna, British Columbia. Turned to fire-fighting at 16 and went to Butte (Calif.) Junior College. After being asked to walk on for football, he started two years at LT and then two more at LT for Bears. “He’s not as good an athlete as Sitton but he’s like him,” one scout said. “He’s a tough son of a (expletive) now.” Spent Senior Bowl at guard and, given his height, figures to play there. At least one team is eyeing him for center. “Big, powerful guy,” said [Colts vice chairman] Bill Polian. “I’m sure he’s a starter.” One drawback is his age. He will turn 27 on Nov. 6. “You can talk yourself into not taking him because he is older,” [Bucs GM Mark] Dominik said. “At the same time, he doesn’t have as much normal wear and tear at that age.” More than smart enough. “In terms of pure guard talent, goll-ee, he’s awfully exciting,” another scout said. “Very good natural anchor.”

From Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News:

Watkins is the safest pick in the entire draft – the one player you can confidently say will be in the Pro Bowl in 2012. He’s the best guard on the board, and some NFL teams were looking at him as both a center and tackle.

From Mike Mayock of NFL Network, via the Daily News:

“I put the tape on and he jumped out at me,” Mayock said. “He’s heavy-handed [meaning Watkins ‘punches’ well], he finishes, and he’s nasty; he reminds me a lot of the [John] Moffitt kid from Wisconsin. I look at the two of them and I think they’re both interior starters. I think they’re centers or guards, and they’re starters in the league. ”

From ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr.:

The selection of Watkins surprised some people, as he may have been available even into the early second round, but they may believe he has the capability to stay at tackle. I think he’s a guard.

From CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang:

The Eagles’ selection of a 26-year-old guard with the No. 23 overall pick will be criticized by some, though certainly not by me. Danny Watkins stepped in immediately for former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith (Rams) at left tackle in 2009 for Baylor, demonstrating great toughness and competitive fire despite it being only his third season of playing the game. What was most impressive, however, was how quickly he acclimated inside at guard at the Senior Bowl despite having never played the position. He’ll provide toughness inside for Philadelphia.

From SI.com’s Peter King:

The good — Danny Watkins is a day-one starter, mature and experienced, and can play either guard and, in a pinch, tackle, where he played last year at Baylor. The bad — He’ll be a 27-year-old rookie this fall.

From ESPN.com’s Todd McShay, via McNabbOrKolb.com:

I think Danny Watkins fits in immediately as a starter and you look at his make-up: he’s a tough, physical, nasty offensive guard that’s going to upgrade this team in the run game and also help in terms of pass protection.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com offers some thoughts on the Eagles’ offense:

Now, Vick threw two brainlock passes during the game—one an interception, one while he was going down for a sack that was the classic careless Vick we’ve seen at times in his star-crossed career. And this was probably his worst offensive performance of the three preseason games, though his numbers were good. “The thing I’m most proud of is I didn’t approach this preseason the way I approached the last three or four years. I came to play,” Vick said. The Eagles will struggle on defense, but they’ll be a constant chemistry experiment on offense.

Also on TheMMQB.com, Michael Irvin has some advice for Michael Vick:

I think Michael Vick really needs to start sliding. It’s a preseason game and he’s taking these unnecessary hits. You can’t miss another game, and you take that chance for that one yard that’s really superfluous. It’s mind-boggling. It means nothing. The only time you do it is when John Elway did it in the Super Bowl—when the game’s on the line. Outside of that, anywhere else in the season, you slide. Somebody’s got to say that, man. Stop putting your body in harm’s way.

John Clayton of ESPN.com ranks the league’s starting QBs. He’s got Vick at No. 25:

In a fast-paced offense designed to have 80 plays a game, Vick could put up some crazy numbers. Even though he’s 33, Vick still has the running and throwing skills to make Chip Kelly’s offense work. His only downsides are turnovers and injuries. If he’s healthy, this offense should easily post 400-yard games each week.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com predicts a 5-11 record for the Eagles:

There’s a new coach with zero NFL experience in Chip Kelly. And watching his new college principle-based offense will be very interesting. It’s made for Michael Vick, but can he stay healthy? The defense has not looked good enough to win in their conversion from a 4-3 to a 3-4. I expect plenty of hybrid 4-3 looks to better suit the available personnel, but this side of the ball is a work in progress. What intrigues me most: How much fast-paced, hurry-up offense can Kelly run in November when fewer than 40 men can even practice on a Wednesday?

Kirwan has the Eagles 24th in his power rankings:

Can Michael Vick stay healthy for 16 games? If he’s out, can Nick Foles run the up-tempo offense? Is the defensive personnel suited for this 3-4 package? They open at Washington in front of 91,000 Redskins fans.

Chris Burke of SI.com ranks all of the teams’ backfields. He’s got the Eagles at No. 9:

Guys like McCoy and Spiller may have claims to higher spots in terms of straight RB1 rankings, as each is a terrific dual threat when healthy. However, each has a question behind him — McCoy with the young, unproven Brown; Spiller with the rapidly aging Jackson — and is moving into a new offense this season. Those changes could play to the benefits of McCoy and Spiller, but the jury is out until the regular season.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has the Eagles as his sleeper team:

I like the Philadelphia Eagles to turn things around after two disappointing campaigns. They had more talent than their record suggested last year and they play in a weak division. Throw in the Chip Kelly factor, and the Eagles can win 10 games.

Michael Silver of NFL.com predicts that Vick will rise again:

Now, having beaten out Nick Foles in a surprisingly protracted quarterback competition, Vick has a chance to reinvent himself again, this time as the director of Kelly’s fast-paced, user-friendly offense. Certainly, it could be boom or bust. I’m going with the former. I see Vick getting rid of the ball quickly, making plays with his feet and giving us yet another cool comeback story.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here is some pre-game reading before the Eagles take on the Jaguars tonight at 7:30.

We’ll have a live chat with updates and observations during the action, so be sure to stop back.

Until then…

Andy Benoit of TheMMQB.com previews the Eagles. He’s not impressed with the team’s safety situation:

The situation at safety is just as bad. Hard-hitting Patrick Chung has never been a mentally sharp pass defender. His running mate, Kenny Phillips, has scintillating talent but chronic knee problems. If one of these downhill thumpers are unavailable, the Eagles will have to call on either former second-round stiff Nate Allen, the perpetually out of control Kurt Coleman or the athletically limited (but at least more reliable) Colt Anderson. In fact, taking the whole group into consideration, Philadelphia may wind up seriously considering fifth-round rookie Earl Wolff in a starting spot.

According to NFL.com, it looks like Nnamdi Asomugha is going to make the 49ers’ roster:

According to Rapoport, 49ers coaches realize Asomugha no longer is the player he was at age 25. They love the “chip on his shoulder” as he’s out to restore his reputation after two miserable seasons in Philadelphia, but they also plan to limit Asomugha’s snaps and spell him from time to time.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times indicates that the Raiders could still have interest in Matt Barkley down the road:

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com offers a thought on tonight’s game:

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew revealed this week that coach Gus Bradley wants to run roughly 85 plays per game. That would put them among the league leaders. They face a Chip Kelly-led Philadelphia Eagles squad that should play even faster. Every Eagles game, even in the preseason, is becoming a must-watch affair. Also keep an eye on how Jones-Drew looks in his most extensive action since foot surgery.

Jason Babin chimes in on facing his former teammates, via TheMMQB.com:

I think playing the Eagles, my former team, next week in the preseason, will be more like playing Chip Kelly than playing the Eagles. It’s not the guys that I left. I do have a few players, a few buddies who are still on the team that I talk with. They’re coming to our place, so we’ve got to represent.

Les Bowen of the Daily News identifies 10 Eagles on the roster bubble, including defensive tackle Antonio Dixon:

Everybody pulls for Dixon, in his second tour with the Eagles, who grew up homeless and has made a career for himself, taming a severe stutter in the process. When the Eagles went to a 3-4, he seemed a good fit at nose tackle. But a hamstring problem kept Dixon from making an impact, while rookies such as Bennie Logan and Damion Square forged ahead. Plus, coordinator Bill Davis stresses versatility on his defensive line, and Dixon is strictly a tackle. He needs a big night, and maybe for someone else to get hurt.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News projects the 53-man roster. He’s got Clay Harbor making it:

Harbor is going to be a TE/WR swingman, which saves Chip Kelly a roster spot to use elsewhere. I think he’ll keep five wideouts in addition to Harbor, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he only kept four. If Shepard doesn’t make it and no one else claims him, he’ll likely be on the practice squad.

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