DeSean Jackson‘s relationship with Andy Reid and the Eagles got off on the wrong foot.
The receiver and his family were already in the midst of a stressful day. Their draft party back in April of 2008 turned tense as the projected first-rounder slipped and slipped…until finally he was taken 49th by the Eagles. The celebration that ensued was quickly dampened following Jackson’s call with his new head coach.
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“With Andy — especially with me coming in later in his career after he had built up such a reputation in Philly among the players in the locker room — there was an aura around him where you never wanted to be yourself around him. You always had to have this front up,” Jason Kelce told 97.5 The Fanatic Tuesday. “You always had to be, ‘Yes sir.’ You had to be on your P’s and Q’s. He was a hard man to kind of talk to and be loose around.
“It was always an uptight conversation whenever I had one with him. Whereas Chip is a lot more — at least at this point — one of the guys. He’s still the head coach and you still have great respect for him, but he converses with everybody, he strikes up conversations. He’s much more of a loose guy to be around than Andy was, that’s for sure.”
The Eagles’ fourth overall pick toiled quietly in the background Monday, running with the second team while Dennis Kelly got the reps at right tackle with the ones. Jason Kelce — wearing a large brace on his right leg — got some work in but sat out teams drills, giving way to Dallas Reynolds. Evan Mathis‘ only appearance during practice was on Twitter.
Just how close are we to seeing this line in its (presumed) most potent form?
There was one sequence during Chip Kelly‘s blindingly fast practice Monday where all five quarterbacks dropped back at once. Five receivers running five different routes down the same stretch of field. Music blaring in the background. Five QBs side-by-side. Five snaps, five reads, five throws. Five balls darting through the air simultaneously.
As Kelly promised, there were plenty of reps to go around as OTAs got underway at the NovaCare Complex. That’s what happens when you are moving non-stop for two straight hours. Players rotating in and out. One play rolling right on top of the other. Enough throws to tire out multiple arms.
Still, there needs to be order amid the controlled chaos, even in what the head coach has termed a wide-open quarterback competition. When individual drills gave way to team exercises, it was Michael Vick that was typically the first signal-caller in, followed by Nick Foles and then Matt Barkley. Foles got a healthy amount of work with the first team, though, and Kelly made the case afterwards that the reps with the ones were virtually split between Vick and Foles.
We will get our eyes on a Chip Kelly practice for the first time today, as the Eagles kick off OTAs at 10:40 a.m.
Rookies who got their first taste of Kelly’s up-tempo style over the weekend couldn’t help but comment on just how fast-paced it was. You could tell some were caught off guard. Now, with the room still spinning, they’ll be thrown in with the veterans to compete for a roster spot — or in some instances, a starting job.
“I advise you guys not to blink,” said Jeremy Maclin on what to expect today. “It’s going to be fast. It’s going to be a lot of guys flying around. I think you’ll see a bunch of people in different positions. That’s the joy of this offense. I can play every position on the field.”
Here are three specific things we’ll be honing in on, assuming we can make sense of the blur:
Russell Shepard is probably as happy as anyone to be through the draft process and onto an NFL practice field.
Not only did the LSU wide receiver go undrafted in late April, but got off on the wrong foot with the team that eventually scooped him up — the Eagles — by telling a Louisiana radio station that he signed a deal with Philadelphia while the draft was still ongoing. Teams are not permitted to negotiate a contract until the draft concludes. A league representative told Birds 24/7 that they were looking into the situation to determine the facts. The Eagles had to put out a statement denying Shepard’s claims.
It wasn’t an ideal first impression.
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Matt Barkley met with the Philadelphia media for the first time Friday. A large crowd swiftly gathered around him just outside the NovaCare building as he stepped to the microphone, leaving no doubt who the biggest draw of rookie minicamp is.
The former USC signal-caller, who has been rehabbing from a separated shoulder, said that he is not on any kind of pitch count and is full-go. He got a good workout by the sounds of it on Day 1 — every rookie that met with the media was quick to point out how fast Chip Kelly had them moving. For Barkley, the challenge is moving fast while trying to digest a new system.
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A couple notes to pass along while we wait for the first day of rookie minicamp to wrap up.
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, Zach Ertz
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Jeremy Maclin gave us a peek behind the Chip Kelly curtain Thursday.
Kelly has said that the quarterback competition is wide open, and that very well may be the case. But to start, it’s Michael Vick getting the most work with the first team.
“I mean right now, you’ve got Mike going with the ones,” said Maclin, “and Nick [Foles] sprinkling in some reps here and there.”
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Will the Eagles sign Felix Jones? Can Michael Vick survive and entire season under Chip Kelly? And what will define this defense? We address these questions and more in the latest Twitter Mailbag.