What They’re Saying: Following Belichick’s Lead?

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

Here is what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Sharon Katz of ESPN.com looked at the teams who fared the best in the NFL draft from 2002 to 2012. She concluded that the Eagles were third, just behind the Seahawks and the Packers:

The Eagles’ run of four straight NFC Championship appearances in the early 2000s was built off early-round draft success, but as the Eagles progressed through the decade, their greatest draft achievements came in later rounds.

In Rounds 5 through 7, no team had found more value than the Eagles since league expansion. The best of these late-round gems was Trent Cole, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft. Cole played 10 seasons for the Eagles — he was released this offseason — and ranks second in team history with 85.5 career sacks. That’s the definition of a value pick. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly’s Clout

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

As Sheil explained on Friday, we’re going to try something new for the Wake-Up Call in the offseason. Each day, we will choose a reader question and make that the topic of the morning post. You can submit your questions in a variety of ways: in the comments section, on Twitter (@Tim_McManus and @SheilKapadia), via e-mail (tmcmanus@phillymag.com and skapadia@phillymag.com) or on Facebook. We’ll choose one each day and answer it.

We’ll go through the questions once a month and randomly select a reader for a free Birds 24/7 t-shirt. Let’s get to today’s question: Read more »

Chip And the Up-Tempo Movement

Foles Steelers
Bill Walsh
predicted the up-tempo movement in his 1997 book titled, Finding the Winning Edge.

In a chapter called “Determining the Future Dynamics of Offense in the NFL,” he envisions a league where teams only huddle when the clock is stopped and use single-word audibles to call out a play.

The quarterback will look to the sideline the instant the whistle blows on the previous play to see which personnel combination is entering the game. The designated coach indicates the formation to the quarterback and whether he should audible his own play or will receive a play call from the coach. All of these steps will occur without a huddle.

The movement is upon us. Read more »

Ertz Opening Eyes In New England

 There is a growing buzz about Zach Ertz as he gets set to enter his second NFL season. Is he aware of what’s being said and written about him?

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I’m on Twitter now and then, on Instagram.

“My mom will retweet something or my agent will retweet something. And it will just be like, ‘Zach Ertz, breakout year coming’ or whatever. I read it and it’s good that there are positive things that are being said about me,” he said, “but at the same time if I go out and have a few drops, the last training camp they said I have bad hands, so it goes both ways.”

True enough. This camp there has been little to pick apart about Ertz’s game, though. He has been getting open with regularity and catching about everything that has been thrown his way. That trend continued this week during joint practices with the Patriots. During one period of 7-on-7s Thursday, Mark Sanchez threw a total of five passes. Three of them were touchdowns tosses to Ertz.

“He’s athletic. He’s fast, he’s faster than I thought,” said Patriots linebacker/defensive end Chandler Jones. “I feel like he is more of a skill player than anything. He runs his routes very well. I’ve had the opportunity to cover him during two days of practice and he’s been a handful.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Belichick On Kelly, Foles

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

FOXBORO, Mass. Bill Belichick said he didn’t study the Eagles’ offense last year. He had no reason to since they weren’t on the Patriots’ schedule.

But he clearly took notice of what his old pal Chip Kelly was able to accomplish – specifically offensively – in his first season as an NFL head coach.

“No, I think Chip is a good coach, does a good job,” Belichick said, when asked if he was surprised that the Eagles were 10-6 and won the NFC East. “They’re a good football team. I think that the play that they got at quarterback last year was real good. I’m not sure that anybody totally saw that coming, but that was a big part of it. They had a lot of explosive plays. They’re very dynamic on offense and created more explosive plays than anybody in the league. They do a good job.” Read more »

Foles: If You Don’t Play Well, You’ll Be Gone

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

Chip Kelly doesn’t have to worry about Nick Foles saying the wrong thing. He doesn’t have to concern himself with Foles getting too comfortable or not putting the work in.

It’s one of the reasons the Eagles’ head coach and quarterback connect well.

“The great thing about Nick, what you love about him, it’s the same thing we preach is that he knows he’s never going to arrive,” Kelly said. “I think it’s a great trait to have. Some guys get to where they want a job, and now they kind of kick their feet up and they go on cruise control and that’s not him.”

The numbers have been mentioned in the Delaware Valley hundreds of times this offseason: 29 and 2. Foles’ touchdown to interception ratio fits better in a video game than in real life. But the third-year signal-caller knows it was only one season, and he’s already seen how quickly things can go south in the NFL.

“If I don’t play well, it’s the NFL; you’ll be gone,” he said. “The most important thing is this team being successful, and it’s a team sport, but the quarterback really has to be sharp and execute. I know that. That’s why last year’s stats don’t mean anything because there’s a lot of guys that have a good year and then it’s tough the next year and I know that.” Read more »

Eagles-Patriots Practices: What To Expect

The Eagles will hold their first joint-practices since 1998 when they welcome in the New England Patriots starting today. Here is what you can expect:

When does it all go down?

The teams will practice with one another on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Start time around 12:30. No pads for Thursday’s session. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will speak with the media before practice, Chip Kelly afterwards. Tom Brady is scheduled to talk around 2:30 Tuesday.

How will it work?

The Patriots’ home base will be Lincoln Financial Field. They’ll get ready there and then bus it over to the NovaCare for practice.

The teams will practice separately for the individual portions, then will go head-up for 1-on-1’s,  7-on-7’s and 11-on-11’s. I don’t anticipate any tackling to the ground, but maybe they will surprise us.

Why do it?

It breaks up the monotony of camp, gets the juices flowing and gives the players new looks and situations to deal with. Kelly also sees efficiency in the joint practices, because it saves the Eagles the trouble of doing installs of the Patriots prior to Friday’s exhibition game.

“I think it helps you.  I think from that standpoint you don’t have to spend a lot of time having your players learn the Patriots’ offense because it’s going to go against our defense,” said Kelly. “Our offense is going to go against the Patriots’ defense. We’re not playing them in the regular season.  Not only are they not in our division, they’re not in our conference.  The only opportunity you would have to see them would be the last game of the year.

“I’ve known coach for a while, have a lot of respect for him.  It’s a great situation for I think both teams.  He’s done it in the past.  I think he did it with Tampa Bay and with the Saints.  He’s got some familiarity with it.  When I talked to him at the combine a little bit about it, I thought it was a good idea.”

Will the quarterbacks have the chance to work with and learn from one another?

“This isn’t summer camp,” Kelly quipped.

What the Patriots are saying (per ESPN Boston):

Belichick: “We have to react to what they do, just like in-game situations, and vice versa. I think that will be good for the players [and] the coaches. We’ll have to make adjustments down there. They [have] a new coaching staff, new scheme, new system, some new players. We’re not doing a whole lot of scouting and preparation for them. We’ll just see what we get out there. We’ll have to react to it and adjust to it, but that will be good for us.”

Danny Amendola: “We’re all ready to go, we’re all ready to hit somebody else besides our own guys. Everybody will kind of get the gist of what it is to go against other guys and other defenses and read coverages and stuff like that. It’s going to be a learning process for everybody.”

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Kelly On Joint Practices: Belichick Called Me

The Eagles announced their training camp schedule earlier today, and it included a pair of joint practices with the New England Patriots on Aug. 6 and 7.

Asked how the arrangement came about, Chip Kelly said, “He [Bill Belichick] called me. I didn’t call him. He called me.”

The Boston Globe reported previously that Kelly had visited Gillette Stadium three times and discussed the up-tempo, one-word no-huddle with Belichick.

At the owners’ meetings in March, Belichick called Kelly a good friend, but downplayed any influence the Eagles’ head coach might have had on what the Patriots are running.

“I’ve known Bill for awhile. I used to go visit the Patriots when I was in college,” Kelly said. “I’ve got a ton of respect for him. When he presented it, it just makes sense. You’ve got to prepare for your first preseason game anyway. Instead of us trying to give looks to our defense of what the Patriots’ offense is going to look like, the Patriots’ offense can give us some looks.

“We’ll cooperate and spend some time in terms of how we’re going to practice together, but when he presented the idea to me – he’s done it before I think with the Buccaneers with Greg [Schiano] and the Saints – it sounded like a good idea to us. And they’re coming here, so it really doesn’t upset our schedule whatsoever, so I think it’s a positive thing.”

The practices are scheduled to take place at the NovaCare Complex and will be closed to the media. The two teams face off in a preseason game at the Linc on Friday, Aug. 9.


Michael Vick said last month that Kelly had taught him how to carry the football so he wouldn’t fumble so much.

But Kelly today downplayed that notion.

“I didn’t teach Mike how to carry the football,” he said. “He was swinging it loose one day, and I told him to keep it tight. He’s been playing football for a long time and has played for a lot of really, really good coaches. I think Dan Reeves may have said something to him when he was in Atlanta.

“It was just reiterating fundamentals, and it’s like that with everybody. When I see someone carrying the ball loose, I want to make sure they carry it tight. That’s our job. I didn’t teach him anything that he hadn’t learned before.”

Vick has fumbled 32 times in his last 35 games.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Belichick: Kelly’s Influence On Pats’ Offense Very Limited

PHOENIX — Much has been made of Chip Kelly‘s trips to Foxborough when he was coaching at Oregon. He reportedly made three visits in all, and passed along to Bill Belichick the keys to his super fast-paced no-huddle, which included one-word play calls.

“I was interested to hear how he did it,” Belichick said, via the Boston Globe. “I would say he expanded it to a different level and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing. Certainly I’ve learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that.”

The Patriots revved up their no-huddle and simplified their play-calling this past season. Belichick, though, downplayed Kelly’s influence on New England’s offense during a session with reporters at the owners meetings Tuesday.

“Chip’s a good friend , I have a lot of respect for Chip and we’ve had dialogue on a number of occasions but from a strategic or football standpoint it’s been very, very limited in both directions,” said Belichick. “But you know we talk football and stuff like that but as far as us running his offense or him running our offense or something like that, there couldn’t be anything further from the way it is.”

There is no question, however, that both coaches value the up-tempo game, and the league is now trending in that direction. The AFC coaches breakfast revealed that defending such an approach is on the minds of many across the NFL.

“I think that’s what you’re going to see most teams have so now defenses have to be able to get all their signals in,” said Titans head coach Mike Munchak. “They’re not going to be able to substitute the way they used to because teams aren’t going to allow that. I think there is now going to be more of an emphasis on how to best get the right people on the field, how to substitute, how to signal in.

“It definitely adds an element to the game of giving defenses more to think about, more to work on, maybe limiting their packages because they are too concerned about keeping it simple, so you’ve done your job as an offense because you have made them simpler.”

Munchak said that NFL teams are relying on college coaches and members of the staff with recent roots in college football to help try and solve this new wave — a wave that Kelly has been on for some time.

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