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:
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.
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.
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 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.
Eric Fisher has visited five NFL teams during the pre-draft process, including the Eagles. The 6-7, 306-pound Central Michigan product told PFT that he made trips to Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Detroit, Cleveland and Carolina.
Some believe he will be the Eagles’ pick at 4. Others don’t think he will last that long. What does Fisher think?
Casey Matthews cut off his locks and is sporting a fresh new look. Time to change things up, he said.
That has pretty much been the mantra of the Eagles this offseason. The organization — the city — is dizzy with all the alterations Chip Kelly is making. What is foreign to most, though, feels quite familiar to the former Duck linebacker.
To prove his point, Chip Kelly lobbed the question back into the media throng.
“Who would you take?”
“I don’t know,” a reporter responded.
“I don’t know, either.”
Just over a week away from the draft, and the new Eagles coach confessed that he doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to the No. 4 pick.
Jon Gruden’s quarterback camp is in full swing. Another year, another crop of QB prospects awkwardly interacting with Chucky in a film room setting.
The Mothership is getting even more out of the popular series this year. ESPN.com is printing Gruden’s scouting reports on the men he is working with. First up is Geno Smith:
Quarterback EJ Manuel is doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. In this installment, he talks about his upcoming visit to the NovaCare Complex, and watching Eagles games in person as a kid.