There is a host of pressing issues when it comes to the Eagles’ secondary, but you’ll have to excuse new defensive backs coach John Lovett if he doesn’t yet have all the answers.
“I don’t know how long everyone else has been here but I walked into the office today for the first time,” said the 62-year-old Lovett on Monday. “In fact I rode over here with [inside linebackers] Coach [Rick] Minter just so I can figure out how to drive over here and not get lost. We had a full staff meeting and a defensive staff meeting, then the phone guy comes in and a guy comes in to put a computer in. It’s been that kind of a day. Everyone is still kind of rolling around.”
Billy Davis sat at the head of one of the cafeteria tables inside the NovaCare Complex Monday, surrounded by a swarm of reporters trying to get a feel for one of Chip Kelly’s most curious hires. Certainly his most important.
Eventually, the subject of Davis’ less-than-sizzling resume as defensive coordinator came up. His units ranked 32nd and 26th in his two seasons as DC in San Francisco. In Arizona, his defense finished 20th and 29th in yards. Those are not the most comforting statistics for fans who have little else to go off of.
“In my past I’ve got good stats and I’ve got bad stats, like most people,” said Davis. “There are a lot of reasons for all of it, I’ve got no excuses for any of them. Everywhere I’ve been I have had good people, I’ve learned lessons from those experiences and I think I have gotten better because of it. It’s something I’m bringing to the Eagles now, I’ve got some experience in calling games and working schemes and game-planning and adjusting. At the end of the day we’re problem solvers. You learn from your experience and you move forward.”
DeSean Jackson has spoken with Chip Kelly, and believes he has an idea how he will be utilized by his new coach.
“Kind of similar to what DeAnthony Thomas was doing at Oregon. He’s like a little brother to me. I actually talked to him,” Jackson told the Inquirer. “He was passing on information to me, like I’m going to be pumped up and psyched to be in that offense. It just keeps defenses off guard any time you go in motion, fake play-action, go down the field. There’s just so many things you can do.”
Jackson said Kelly told him to be prepared to have the ball in his hands more than usual, but other than that provided little detail.
Kelly has to be excited about working with a burner like Jackson. But can he really use him like he did Thomas?
The void Jim Johnson left when he passed away back in July of 2009 has not yet been filled. The Eagles went through three defensive coordinators in the last four seasons, and they all fell short. It is one of the biggest reasons why Andy Reid is now coaching the Chiefs.
The importance of assistant coaches can be lost to a degree when so much focus is on the head man. Chip Kelly is the story, he is the draw. He is also nothing if his staff can’t pull its weight.
The Eagles are showing interest in quarterback Dennis Dixon, a league source confirmed to Birds 24/7.
Dixon, who spent this past season on the practice squad for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens, is free to sign a futures contract with another team. The Eagles and Dixon’s representation have been discussing a potential deal. If negotiations go smoothly, the former Oregon Duck will be reunited with Chip Kelly.
What does it all mean?
Let’s focus back in on EJ Manuel.
The former Florida State quarterback was on 97.5 The Fanatic Wednesday and restated his desire to come to Philadelphia to play for Chip Kelly.
“I’m just hoping that he gives me the opportunity,” said Manuel. “I would love to come and play in his offense, I would love to play for him and I would love to be his guy. It’s kind of starting off his tenure in the NFL, and I would love to be his first quarterback. I think it would be a great relationship.”
Mobile, Alabama was taken over this week by scouts, coaches, agents and, of course, Birds 24/7 writers, all looking to spot the next big thing. There is value to Senior Bowl week, as the NFL decision-makers get to visit with the prospects and watch them compete up close against top-tier collegiate talent. It is also dangerous to put too much stock in what you see.
With that in mind, a look at some players whose arrows appear to be pointing up after a week in the Mobile sun. We’ll focus on potential positions of need for the Eagles.
A tiny nugget to start with:
There is a good chance the Eagles switch over to a 3-4 under Chip Kelly — a sizable project in what will turn out to be a rather extensive remodeling effort this offseason.
Kelly hasn’t publicly committed to the transition, and perhaps it would be best to officially have a defensive coordinator in place before doing so. But there is a sense that he would like to make the move.
According to Howie Roseman, the team’s preparations for such a change predate Kelly coming on board.
If you play offense for the Eagles, chances are you are pretty pumped right about now.
Fast break. High-octane. Dreams of stats, points, and more stats. The Chip Kelly attack is coming Philadelphia.
“I’m real excited,” said Brent Celek in a phone conversation with Birds 24/7. “It’s obvious from his track record in college how good he was. I’m excited to see how it translates and for us to play well.”
As Week 2 of the coaching search nears its conclusion, a lot of Eagles fan are asking: What is going on with Gus Bradley?
It was back on January 4 when word came down that the Eagles requested and were granted to speak to the Seahawks defensive coordinator, but all has been quiet since then.