Gone At 2? Whisenhunt Talks Mariota

Mariota and Winston. Courtesy of USA Today

Mariota and Winston. Courtesy of USA Today

Phoenix, Ariz. — Ken Whisenhunt spent the better part of his morning answering questions about Marcus Mariota. Seated at a roundtable alongside reporters during the AFC coaches breakfast, the Titans head coach was peppered from all angles about his plans at quarterback, and whether they involve Chip Kelly’s former signal-caller.

We’re in the middle of misdirection season, so any comments from a coach or general manager regarding potential draft plans certainly can’t be taken as gospel. That said, Whisenhunt came off as genuinely impressed by what he’s seen out of Mariota to this point in the evaluation process.

“Very high,” he said when asked about the quarterback’s football IQ. “He has very good spatial memory. You say, what is spatial memory? He remembers plays, he remembers fronts, he remembers things in the short term and the long term. We were talking about an unbalanced set that USC ran against them three years ago. And he said, ‘Oh yeah, that was in this game at this time.’ Those are the kind of things that to me are important to that position. You have to have a memory that can see everything and remember it, because when it happens in a game you have to come over and communicate that on the sideline and then you have to have a plan for how you are going to adjust to it. That’s what the really successful ones do. He exhibits that type of quality.” Read more »

‘Stunned’ Rex: McCoy Trade Took 30 Minutes

Rex Ryan. Brian Spurlock / USA Today

Rex Ryan. Brian Spurlock / USA Today

PHOENIX, Ariz. — On March 3, Buffalo Bills coaches, personnel people and owners were sitting in a room together going over their plans for the upcoming free agency period.

That’s when GM Doug Whaley’s phone rang.

“We’re sitting around making our plans for free agency, what our team looks like, what we want it to look like, and all of a sudden we get this call from Philadelphia,” said Bills coach Rex Ryan. “And I think that was when the trade started. Probably 30 minutes later, the trade was done.

“We never saw it [coming]. It was an opportunity, that’s it.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: How Teams Defend Chip

Chip Kelly (right). Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY

Chip Kelly (right). Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY

Phoenix, Ariz. — Today’s question comes from Josh, via Twitter:

We now have 33 games worth of material to answer the question: How do defenses defend Chip Kelly’s attack? Read more »

Notes: On Murray, Mariota And Chip

DeMarco Murray

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Greetings from the owners meetings. Some notes to pass along while Sheil gets in a few laps at the Biltmore hotel pool:

* Jerry Jones found himself alone in the center of a Philly media scrum as he tried to navigate his way to a meeting Monday. Safe to say he won’t rank that interaction along with his career highlights. Read more »

Eagles Notes: Kelly ‘a Fan’ Of Tim Tebow

Chip Kelly. Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today

Chip Kelly. Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today

Phoeniz, Ariz. — Chip Kelly got to the owners meetings in Arizona early this weekend to check out the NFL’s veteran combine.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bradford And the System

Sam Bradford. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Sam Bradford. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Today’s question comes from reader George via email:

 A lot of people are saying one of the reasons Chip might have been interested in Bradford is he excelled with the version of the spread he ran in Oklahoma.  I’m not a college football guy, could you guys write a bit about what Oklahoma did with Bradford and how it compares with the sort of offense Kelly has been running and expects to run with Bradford?

Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com talked to Bradford back in 2013 about the type of offense he ran at Oklahoma. With Bradford at the controls, the Sooners’ coaching staff  moved from a more traditional scheme to an up-tempo, spread attack. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Analyzing Chip

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

Marcus Hayes of the Daily News caught up with Joe Banner:

That’s why he loves how Kelly is destroying what Banner built. To Banner, growth occurs best through constant, remorseless change.

“Chip has the confidence that he and his coaching staff can prepare the replacement player to play,” Banner said. “How many times have we seen a coach start Player X, when most people believe Player Y is better, but Player X has the experience; then, Player X gets hurt, and Player Y finally gets to play, and is clearly better? It happens all the time.

“I’ve been preaching this for years.”

Read more »

McCoy: ‘I Thought It Was a Panic Move’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

In the days after the Eagles traded him, LeSean McCoy kept an eye on what his former team was doing to fill its hole at the running back spot.

After Frank Gore backed out of his deal, the Birds added both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to the mix. Chip Kelly said afterwards that the Eagles were able to essentially get two running backs for the price of one (McCoy). But looking at the numbers closely, that’s not really the case. Murray’s deal for the next three years is almost identical to the one McCoy had with the Eagles.

The only differences are Murray gets $18 million guaranteed, and none of McCoy’s contract was guaranteed. McCoy also had a higher cap number for 2015.

Appearing as a guest on The Rich Eisen Show, McCoy addressed the fact that Kelly was willing to pay for Murray, but not for him. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Did Chip Rush the Foles Trade?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at San Francisco 49ers

Today’s question comes from reader Gavin, via e-mail:

My personal thoughts on the trade aside (I’m sure you can guess what they are), I don’t get the timing aspect of this. What was the rush to get this deal done? To my knowledge, there were no salary cap changes/implications/deadlines on the immediate horizon for either Nick Foles or Sam Bradford. I can’t grasp a logical reason as to why this deal had to be made now, and not closer to, or on draft day.

I think the question depends on how you look at Chip Kelly’s motivation to make the deal. If you think he wanted to unload Foles, then I agree with you. The timing was a little strange, especially when you consider what Kelly said afterwards. Read more »

All-22: What To Expect From Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Sam Bradford. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Before Sam Bradford had fielded the first question, he smiled, looked around and offered up an observation.

“It’s already more people than in St. Louis,” he said to a roomful of reporters at the NovaCare Complex.

When a quarterback is taken with the No. 1 overall pick, the expectation is that he’ll make it to the second contract with the team that drafted him. But that expectation does not always become reality. Bradford started 49 games in five seasons with the Rams. He’s been on the field for just seven games in the past two seasons, and the last time Bradford took a meaningful snap was 17 months ago.

But two ACL injuries did not dissuade Chip Kelly from making a move for the former Heisman Trophy winner.

“I think we had some inside information because [offensive coordinator] Pat Shurmur had the opportunity to coach the kid for a year [in St. Louis], so he knows what he’s like in the meeting room, and he knows what he is like on a daily basis. He knows the consistency that comes with him, and he understands his work ethic. He’s an unbelievable competitor. Read more »

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