Matthews Doesn’t Dazzle In Debut

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

CHICAGO — Despite reports to the contrary, Jordan Matthews is mortal.

The rookie wide receiver took the field for the first time as a professional Friday night in Chicago and looked like a player taking the field for the first time as professional. He finished with four catches for 14 yards (3.5 average) on seven targets and had a pair of drops.

“He was inconsistent,” said Chip Kelly. “There was a ball on the sideline he could have caught. I don’t know if he was pressing, but there were some inconsistencies there. Sometimes it’s the first time for guys in the bright lights so they can have a chance to play that out of their system and calm down.” Read more »

Kelly Talks Foles, Sanchez And the Offense

NFL: Preseason-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

The word Chip Kelly used to describe his team’s offensive performance Friday night was sloppy.

The starters stayed in the game for three series, and the results were ugly: two turnovers and a punt.

“The second one was 2nd-and-4,” Kelly said, when asked about Nick Foles’ interceptions. “We didn’t get a great seal. It was a naked [bootleg] play. Those are the times where we’ve just gotta make the decision to throw the ball away. Let’s not force it in there. We’re in real good field position on their side of the ball. On the other one, I think there was a twist up front. There was some pressure. Again, they were playing zone defense. We’ve just gotta be smarter with the football.” Read more »

Foles, First-Team Offense Struggle

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
CHICAGO — Not a great start for Nick Foles and company.

The first-team offense played three series in the preseason opener against the Bears. Two ended in Foles interceptions and the third a Donnie Jones punt. Not the end of the world, but certainly not what Chip Kelly was hoping for out of his starters.

Foles finished 6-of-9 for 44 yards and a pair of picks. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Rookie Progress Report

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

From time to time, we like to check in on how the Eagles’ draft picks are doing. With the first preseason game a day away, here’s an update.

Marcus Smith, OLB – He’s been running with the second team at the Jack spot behind Connor Barwin. And in all likelihood, that’s where Smith is going to see most of his action this season. He has looked the part from the first day of camp – long, athletic and can move in space. A couple days ago, he showed some feistiness, mixing it up with James Casey after the whistle. Smith, who has never before been to an NFL game, will likely make some normal rookie mental mistakes tomorrow night, but overall, he appears to be on schedule to contribute. Read more »

Chip: Starters To Play 10-15 Snaps

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly plans on having the first team on the field for 10-15 plays Friday night for the Eagles first preseason game in Chicago.

“It really depends offensively and defensively how much success you’re having,” he said. “It could be you get a couple three-and-outs and you have to go back out there but two decent drives we feel like that’s what we’re aiming for right now.”

Kelly said that he is unsure whether Jeremy Maclin (leg soreness) will go. He doesn’t anticipate that Riley Cooper (foot) will play. He would not provide any further details about the injury, only that it is a day-to-day situation. It’s been over a week since Cooper suited up.

Nolan Carroll was sidelined the past two days with what Kelly called a “muscle deal” in either his hamstring or groin. He doesn’t anticipate Carroll playing against the Bears but expects him back within a few days.
Read more »

Three Leftover Thoughts On the Eagles

Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Three leftover thoughts before we head to the NovaCare Complex for practice today.

1. I had previously been on the fence in regards to whether Zach Ertz could really be a breakout player in 2014. The issue, to me, was whether he could be a good enough blocker in the run game to stay on the field. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur had a telling comment on that topic yesterday.

“It’s very important for tight ends, number one, to be efficient blockers,” he said. “You don’t always have tight ends that are just going to knock them into next Wednesday, but you have to be an efficient blocker, especially if your thing is to catch passes. I think Ertz is developing more and more and more. I see his confidence starting to really build.”

Last year, Brent Celek was outstanding blocking in the run game. The point Shurmur is making is it’s OK if Ertz doesn’t reach that level in 2014 – or really, ever. He was drafted because he can be a weapon in the passing game. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Huff’s Learning Curve

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Familiarity hasn’t totally worked to Josh Huff‘s advantage in the early going.

A common belief was that Huff, having played under Chip Kelly at Oregon, would be able to acclimate quickly given his intimate knowledge of the offensive system. The rookie had similar thoughts.

“He walked in here thinking, ‘Hey, I know this offense.’  He’ll be the first one to tell you there are a lot of things that have changed and been added from what he did at Oregon, which he just really had to do,” said Pat Shurmur. “We see a lot more defense.  We see a lot more man coverage in the NFL than they did in college.  So we’ve got a lot of the traditional things in the passing game that you would run at this level.

“So, that kind of shocked him I think initially that this isn’t exactly what we did at Oregon, but he settled in.”

Huff acknowledged that he was caught off guard and had to “re-tool and rebuild” his system. He would hear a play call and his mind would go back to Oregon’s offense so he would run the route that matched the concept from college. It took some time to work through that.

That’s one hurdle. The work load is the other. According to Shurmur, Huff has been given the most to learn out of all the young receivers.

Why is that? Read more »

On Kelly, DeSean And Press Coverage

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

More than three months after Chip Kelly said DeSean Jackson was released for football reasons, the Eagles’ head coach subtly clarified what he meant.

On the final question of a press conference last week, Kelly was asked about Riley Cooper. After praising Cooper’s ball skills, he offered up some fascinating insight about where he sees the league going at the wide receiver position.

“The fact that he’s a 230‑pound receiver, it’s tough to be really, truly physical and keep him pinned on the line of scrimmage,” Kelly said. “Now in this league, it’s continuing to go that way. Two of the best corners, Patrick Peterson, a guy that just signed an outstanding contract who I think is one of the tops in the league, [and] Richard Sherman, probably the two best guys are both big, physical corners and they’ll try to beat you up on the line of scrimmage.

“If you can’t get off the line of scrimmage, you’re done. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Foles No. 1 In Jersey Sales

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The last time we checked in on Nick Foles‘ jersey sales was shortly after his seven-touchdown performance against the Raiders in November.

The page where you can purchase a Foles jersey on the team site saw a 25 percent spike in hits following that showing in Oakland, yet sales hardly went up at all. Fans were looking at it, they were thinking about it, but weren’t quite ready to take the plunge.

Now they’re jumping in. Read more »

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