On Evan Mathis Release: Is Chip Kelly’s Ego Killing the Eagles?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

In the ripest days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was ruled by dictators named Khrushchev and Brezhnev, a dissident voice would be punished by a variety of human humiliations. “If you weren’t with us, you were against us,” was the refrain. And whispers in a potato line could get a family shipped to warm and friendly Siberia.

I thought about that a lot this week as I watched and listened to Philadelphia Eagles players support head coach Chip Kelly’s banishment of offensive guard Evan Mathis. See, in the world of professional sports, it’s odd to hear players turn their backs on teammates in times of contract squabbles. Players are normally in this fight together, brothers in arms, strengthened further by their own brotherhood union. Read more »

Notes: Minicamp Comes To A Close

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The 2015 Eagles got one more workout in Thursday before their six-week hiatus. Minicamp came to a close with a slightly-shortened practice under a light rain at the NovaCare Complex. One player was heard shouting “Freedom!” as the final horn sounded. A quick team meeting, and then school was officially let out.

“It’s a great group, we trust them,” said Chip Kelly, addressing the media for the final time before training camp. “They’ve got their individual workouts that they’ll be accountable for when they come back. Just enjoy your time off, you deserve your time off. They’ve worked extremely hard since April 20 and just looking forward to getting guys back here on the first (of August).”

What did the head coach learn about his team over the last eight weeks? Read more »

What’s Next For Sam Bradford?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Give Sam Bradford credit. As he approached a group of reporters on the practice field Tuesday, he knew what questions were coming before anybody said a word.

“Before we start,” Bradford said with a smile. “I do not know when I’m going to be back.”

The Eagles quarterback continued to participate in 7-on-7 drills, but he’s yet to take a snap during the 11-on-11 period.

Asked if he’d be ready for that by training camp, Chip Kelly said, “God, we hope so.”

Added Bradford: “If I’m not ready for 11 on 11 by training camp, then I think something has gone terribly wrong.” Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Tuesday’s minicamp practice.

11:22 – Before we get started, a few final thoughts on the Evan Mathis situation. Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Mathis’ camp asked for a release, and so the team gave him what he wanted.

Put quite simply, that request isn’t (or shouldn’t be) really relevant. Mathis was under contract. He was unhappy last year, but still showed up to all mandatory practices, rehabbed a midseason injury and played his butt off. Mathis says he was basically prepared to do the same thing again this year.

The Eagles had leverage. I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect all 53 guys to be happy with their contracts every offseason. And it’s certainly dangerous to give in every time a player asks for his release because he’s unhappy with his deal.

Maybe the coaches know something about the backups that most of us don’t, and the offensive line will be fine.

Or maybe the team will come to regret saying goodbye to a quality starting guard when one of the big goals for 2015 is to rely on the run game and keep Sam Bradford upright. Read more »

Chip Kelly, Mathis Address Release

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Evan Mathis didn’t want to play for the Eagles at his current salary, so Chip Kelly cut him loose.

That was the explanation Kelly gave to the assembled media prior to the start of minicamp Tuesday.

“We were asked by his agent for a release on multiple occasions,” he said. “We weren’t going to come to a conclusion in terms of a contract extension, we weren’t going to extend any contract or adjust any contract, so we granted what his agent asked for.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: How Will Eagles Split Up Carries?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes via Twitter:

For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume that you mean carries, not touches.

Chip Kelly has said he felt the run game relied too heavily on LeSean McCoy the past two seasons. Last year, Eagles running backs totaled 415 carries, and 312 of those (75.2 percent) were McCoy. Only DeMarco Murray (392) had more carries than McCoy in 2014.

In 2013, McCoy had 314 of the 400 carries by Eagles running backs, or 78.5 percent.

Obviously, when you sign two guys like Murray and Ryan Mathews, you expect to spread the carries around a little more, but I don’t see this as anything close to an equal time share. Read more »

What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Fletcher Cox

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB offers thoughts on Evan Mathis.

I think the biggest surprise of the Evan Mathis release is that the Eagles couldn’t recoup some value for him via trade. The $5.5 million salary must have been a non-starter, but his price tag could creep pretty high for interested teams in free agency. The fact that Chip Kelly made the move nonetheless, proves how committed he is to doing things his way.

Read more »

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