Wake-Up Call: Kelly’s Outside Influences

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

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 »

Wake-Up Call: Coaches Remain High On Watkins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Much of the attention paid to Jaylen Watkins faded as the draft gave way to OTAs and minicamp.

The more that was learned about the Florida product after he was selected in the fourth round by the Eagles, the more expectations grew. A team captain who ran a 4.41 40 on a bad wheel that can play safety and corner? Some wondered if he could make a push for playing time from the jump.

Like many of  his fellow rookies, though, the Florida product found himself working with the third team for most of the spring. Any thoughts of him skyrocketing up the depth chart were put on hold as he began negotiating the steep NFL learning curve.

While he may not have captured the headlines or flashed as much as, say, fellow corner Nolan Carroll this spring, the coaching staff remains optimistic that Watkins can have an impact in 2014 — though there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Villanueva An ‘Intriguing Prospect’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Safe to say Alejandro Villanueva has had his plate full since signing with the Eagles as a rookie free agent back in early May.

For starters, he hadn’t played the sport since 2009. The U.S. Army Ranger was on active duty for the past four years, which included three tours in Afghanistan. When he did play last it was at wide receiver and before that, offensive tackle. He has been not only reacquainting himself with football but is learning a new position — defensive end — and doing so on the game’s highest level. If that’s not enough, Villanueva still has Army requirements that need to be fulfilled.

“I’ve been kind of partially amazed that he could do what he’s done,” said Chip Kelly. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Kelce On Culture Change

Jason Kelce

Jason Kelce has developed into a respected voice over his three-plus years in Philadelphia, so his comments regarding the team’s decision to move on from DeSean Jackson — delivered just 20 minutes after the receiver was cut — carried some weight.

Some took this as evidence that Jackson’s teammates were glad to see the enigmatic receiver go. This theory was bolstered by a report — filled with anonymous quotes allegedly coming from various  members of the organization — suggesting Jackson was a “blatantly insubordinate” distraction that needed to be removed. Kelce was quick to distance himself from those who did not attach their names to their opinions (“You’ll never see me hide behind the title ‘Unnamed source,'” he said), and on Monday explained the intended meaning of his message as the clouds of controversy swirled outside the NovaCare walls. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Wolff Under Jenkins’ Wing

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Malcolm Jenkins and Earl Wolff meet in the NovaCare film room every morning at 7:30, before the building is filled and the day officially begins, to get some extra classwork in. There’s no question who is the teacher and who is the student when the film starts to roll.

“We’ll watch tape and even if it’s just practice [film] , go over some plays that he might have messed up and tell him what he should have seen, how to see the big picture of things, how to broaden his vision in his zones. Just little things that I had to learn early to kind of take that next step,” said Jenkins after Thursday’s practice. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: On Some Money Matters

Eagles QB Nick Foles talks to WR Desean Jackson during the Eagles-Cowboys game. 10/20/13
Now seems like a good time for a little cap clarity.

The 2012 draft class will be eligible for new contracts at the end of the season, and that’s a pretty big deal for the Eagles. Their philosophy is to identify the key young players, invest in them, and build out from there. The ’12 group consists of Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Nick Foles and Brandon Boykin. That’s a big part of the projected core moving forward, and includes a Pro Bowl quarterback that could be in line for a monster raise.

Howie Roseman recently suggested that releasing DeSean Jackson was financially-driven in part, and that tough decisions like that have to be made in order to build the team properly.

But was it really necessary?  Were there alternatives? What kind of money will Foles command? And what type of financial shape is the team in overall? For answers, we called on former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: As the Secrets Get Out

Chip Kelly
Secrets don’t stay secrets for long in the NFL. Ownership of schemes, philosophies and practices is fleeting.

As hard as you might try to keep the family together and its recipe in-house, it’s impossible. Howie Roseman says that the roster turnover rate across the league is approximately 20 percent each year. (A study from ESPN.com in 2010 seems to back this up.) That’s about 11 players on average that will leave the nest, free to dish any and all inside info to their new employer.

Assistant coaches will move on as well, and apply what they learned at their previous stop to their new venture. We were reminded of this recently when a member of the Dolphins’ offense — now run by former Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor — said Miami’s attack is “reminiscent of Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia, with the tempo and style.”

This was to be expected. Read more »

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