Roughly a year ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article that appeared by all accounts to be a preemptive smack-down from the officials to Chip Kelly.
“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino at the time. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two-minute drill.”
The article created a bit of a stir, and Kelly was asked about it. He made clear that the Eagles intended on playing by the rules and said he didn’t anticipate any issues.
Now, as Kelly prepares for Year 2, it appears that the officials are the ones doing the adjusting.
“The league also added a new wrinkle,” said NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington from the league’s clinic for officials. “On Friday, referees underwent a more physical assessment than they ever had before. That’s because the league wants to make sure that their referees can keep up with these faster-paced games.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
Chip Kelly has been asked the same question over and over again since he became the Eagles’ head coach: What are you looking for out of your quarterback?
His answers have varied, depending on the day. Kelly once said it was repetitive accuracy. Other times, he’s pointed to just being able to win games. And throughout, he’s maintained the importance of standing strong when faced with trying situations.
While all of those things factor into Kelly’s evaluation of his signal-caller, the No. 1 attribute he seems to value is decision-making. That’s why Kelly and Nick Foles seemed to have gotten along so well last year.
“Being decisive is very important,” Foles said, speaking to a roomful of reporters at the conclusion of last month’s minicamp. “It’s always important to be decisive when you’re a quarterback. And honestly you play fast, and what I mean by that is the guys are gonna look to the quarterback. What’s the speed of the quarterback? What’s his body language when you’re running the offense? Is he sort of just walking up and doing whatever? Is he intense, yelling the calls, getting it? Because if they see your speed and moving and just your intensity, then all of a sudden, it’s just human nature to just zap in and do it and just go. And I think that was probably the big thing.” Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
An author and public speaker by the name of Simon Sinek appeared at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia earlier this offseason to discuss concepts from his new book, Leaders Eat Last, “which explores how great leaders build confident teams by putting the needs of others first.” The main focus was the chemicals in our brain that influence our behavior and impact leadership capabilities.
Chip Kelly was among those in the audience.
One interesting thing about Kelly’s approach to his job is how frequently he looks outside his realm in hopes of gleaning something useful that he can pull in. Read more »
On the day he was introduced as the Eagles new head coach, Chip Kelly was asked whether he planned to be in Philadelphia for the long haul.
“I’m all in,” he said. “I think it was [Hernan] Cortes who burned the boats. I’ve burned the boats so I’m not going back. I’m in. I’m an NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of [not wanting to be in], I wouldn’t have made the jump. I made the jump and I’m here and I’m excited to be here.”
With that proclamation came a larger implied point: Kelly would closely examine every aspect of the way the Eagles were run, make changes to the organization where he saw fit and mold the entire franchise into his vision. This wasn’t a quick fixer-upper. There would be significant restructuring.
With Year 2 on the horizon, Kelly met with a roomful of reporters at the end of June’s’ minicamp and expanded on many of his philosophies. Read more »
Photo by: Jeff Fusco.
A week from today, Birds 24/7 will be on the sidelines at the NovaCare Complex observing the Eagles’ first training camp practice.
We can already smell the unique mix of fresh-cut grass, body odor and sun block in the air.
Football season is pretty much here. But for now, let’s get to some weekend reading. Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco.
Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive line, quarterbacks, outside linebackers and running backs. Now it’s on to the inside linebackers.
The pressing question: How will the Eagles spell DeMeco Ryans?
As you know by now, Ryans played more snaps than any other linebacker in the NFL last year. During the owners meetings in March, I asked Chip Kelly if he planned to spell Ryans more in 2014, and he said adding depth was a priority.
But free agency and the draft are unpredictable, and the Eagles were unable to add new talent to this position. Billy Davis was clear last month that he plans on subbing in more for Ryans. The problem? That’s not going to happen unless the Eagles like their backup options. Read more »
Before the drill begins, Jeff Stoutland shouts out a two-digit number, signaling the call to his offensive linemen.
He sets up a couple yards behind the line of scrimmage as Jason Kelce prepares to snap the ball, flanked by guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. With 16 offensive linemen in camp, Stoutland is in charge of the largest positional group on the roster. But that can be a good thing on days like this. Before it’s their turn for reps, a couple backups hold orange blocking pads and set up as down defensive linemen. Two more stand behind them imitating linebackers.
It’s an 81-degree day in early June, and the Eagles are on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex working on the blocking scheme for a familiar call: the inside zone. It’s a play Stoutland ran frequently at his previous stop, Alabama. And it was Chip Kelly’s go-to-work play during his time at Oregon.
When Kelly made the jump to the NFL last year, the inside zone served as the foundation for an offense that set franchise records in yards and points. So there’s a good reason why Stoutland yells the same number for the same call over and over again during practice. The pre-snap communication has to be mastered. The footwork has to be flawless. The combination blocks have to be executed. And the second-level linebackers have to be driven down the field with authority.
“It’s something we work on every day,” said offensive tackle Lane Johnson. “It’s always gonna be our bread and butter.” Read more »
Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive line, quarterbacks and outside linebackers. Now it’s on to the running backs.
The pressing question: Will Chip Kelly lighten LeSean McCoy’s workload?
On his way to setting the franchise record for rushing yards, McCoy led the NFL in carries (314) and touches (366). Only Chicago’s Matt Forte played more snaps. The Eagles added Darren Sproles in the offseason. Does that mean they want to give McCoy more of a breather in 2014? Read more »
LeSean McCoy says he can now tell when Chip Kelly is pissed off at him and when his head coach is pleased with him.
The Eagles’ running back talked to NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about what he’s learned about Kelly in the last year and a half. Asked specifically what pisses Kelly off the most, McCoy had an answer ready. Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco.
With T-Mac off this week, I’m subbing in with the Eagles mailbag. Let’s get right to it. Read more »