It won’t be long before DeSean Jackson‘s contract becomes a topic of conversation once again.
The well-documented two-year mini-drama between team and player ended when the Eagles appeased the mercurial receiver by giving him a five-year, $51 million deal in March of 2012. But the peace treaty is really neither that long nor valuable. We know in the NFL, contracts aren’t what they appear. What counts is guaranteed money. And after this season, that guaranteed cash runs out.
Troy Vincent was looking for a player who properly represented today’s athletes.
As the NFL’s vice president of player engagement, Vincent needed someone who would be open and honest in front of a room full of coaches, scouts and executives. So he gave the Eagles a call and came up with safety Patrick Chung.
“I didn’t want the typical guy that’s doing all the community outreach,” Vincent said. “I needed a real modern… I needed an edge kind of player. He’s an edge kind of player. He came in here with his golf shirt that he just got from the facility on his way over here. He had his earrings in. But that’s the reality.”
Trent Dilfer is decidedly bullish on Matt Barkley. He is on record as saying the USC signal-caller is a first-round talent. Predicted that he would be the Eagles’ starter within three seasons. Thinks he can man that post for 5-8 years.
In a phone conversation with Birds 24/7 on Monday, Dilfer drew parallels between Barkley and another NFC East quarterback, Eli Manning.
“There is not a lot of difference between Matt Barkley and Eli Manning in their senior film,” said Dilfer. “In fact, I would argue that Matt’s college film is slightly better than Eli’s film.”
Dilfer went on to say that Barkley has “slightly higher graduate-level passing skills” than Matt Ryan coming out of college.
Win the day.
It was Chip Kelly’s motto at Oregon, and it’s a slogan Eagles players can expect to hear quite a bit in the coming months.
The idea is not unique to Kelly. Scan the country, and you’ll find football coaches at various levels use different words to say the same thing.
Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.
Focus on getting better today, and you’ll see long-term results.
Kelly, Howie Roseman and the Eagles are in the process of striking a delicate balance.
Trainer Tom Anderson wasn’t focused on who was responsible for the hits, but rather on how to limit the punishment when those hits came. So he made boxing — and the art of avoiding the brunt of the blow — a central part of the training regimen.
In one exercise, Anderson would stand about two feet away from the quarterback and swing a foamed “Ninja stick” at his head or upper body, forcing Vick to turn his shoulders and “get skinny” to minimize the impact. In another, Anderson put an elastic band around Vick’s ankles and would have him slide from side-to-side while punching at a stationary bag. (Anderson wouldn’t let Vick make contact with the bag. “We’re not tuning up your knuckles,” he told him, “we’re making you more elusive.”) Blow the whistle. Slide, punch, slide. Thirty seconds on, 30 seconds off.
Chip Kelly wasn’t the only new face in the draft room for the Eagles this year.
In mid-February, the team brought Tom Gamble in as vice president of player personnel.
Asked about Gamble’s input, Kelly said, “It was really valuable. I knew Tommy from when he was with the 49ers because he was on our campus all the time at Oregon.”
Chip Kelly needed just a hand gesture to fend off the perceived complexity.
The Eagles had just used the 35th overall pick on Stanford tight end Zach Ertz even though they already had Brent Celek and James Casey on the roster.
Can you explain, a reporter asked Kelly, how you can make that work?
“Yeah. You go like that (holds three fingers in the air) and three tight ends go in the game,” he said, drawing laughs.
It would be natural for veteran Todd Herremans to wonder what the selection of Lane Johnson means for his future.
Or for Brent Celek and James Casey to question how the drafting of Zach Ertz is going to impact their roles.
Michael Vick and Nick Foles? Perhaps they were caught off-guard by the selection of Matt Barkley in the fourth round.
With those things in mind, Chip Kelly decided to get out in front of any potential issues. Throughout the offseason, when the Eagles have signed free agents or brought in new draft picks, Kelly has made a point to call the veterans already on the roster and touch base.
When the Eagles moved up to select Matt Barkley in the fourth round, it sent a jolt through the NovaCare media room — as I am sure it did through living rooms across the Delaware Valley. There were “Wow!”s and “Huh?”s and grunts, followed by the the sound of reporters frantically attacking their keyboards.
A beat later one of the Eagles’ PR men came in and announced, “Chip is on his way down, guys.”
A scramble to the auditorium. Chip Kelly swiftly made his way to the podium as the media was getting settled. One reporter said to Kelly as he walked by: “Man, I can’t figure you guys out.”
Kelly stopped. And turned. And said, “It’s really not that hard. Look at who the best players are. That’s who we’re going to take.”
Happy Draft Day, everyone. Sheil and I have gotten the recommended 10-12 hours of sleep, have our personalized smoothies in hand and are ready to roll. I’m sure you are, too.
Now that the much-anticipated day is upon us, mocking season is (mercifully) coming to an end. But not before a pair of heavy-hitters weigh in.
Peter King and Mike Mayock both rolled out their predictions Wednesday.
Tagged with: mock draft
Posted in Wake-Up Call