Eagles Trade Felix Jones For LB Adrian Robinson

The Eagles made a trade today, sending running back Felix Jones to the Steelers in exchange for linebacker Adrian Robinson.

The deal is pending physicals and was first reported by Adam Caplan.

Robinson (6-1, 250) played outside linebacker with Pittsburgh. The Eagles currently have Connor Barwin and Trent Cole at those spots, with Brandon Graham rotating in. The other outside linebackers fighting for roster spots are Chris McCoy, Everette Brown and Travis Long.

Robinson played his college ball at Temple, starting 38 games at defensive end. He signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent before last season and was active for 12 games as a rookie, but played only on special teams. According to Pro Football Focus, he did not register a special-teams tackle. And per SteelersDepot.com, Mike Tomlin called Robinson a “one-trick pony” last year:

If you heard the NBC broadcast of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night game against the Indianapolis Colts, you likely heard Cris Collinsworth talk about what head coach Mike Tomlin told him about undrafted free agent linebacker Adrian Robinson.

Collinsworth said that when he asked Tomlin about Robinson, who had solid first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers coach described the Temple product as a one-trick pony that gets up the field, can rush the passer, but doesn’t play special teams and doesn’t drop.

As friend of the blog Sam Lynch points out, Robinson is not practice-squad eligible.

Going forward, don’t be surprised if the Eagles look at outside linebackers who get cut by other teams. This is still an area where they could look to add depth.

As for Jones, he was unimpressive in the first two preseason games and was unlikely to make the roster. The Eagles have their first three running back spots set with LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker has a chance, but the Eagles could also add a running back from another team once more cuts are made.

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Eagles-Patriots Game Review: The Offense

Lane JohnsonWe went over a couple specific offensive concepts on Saturday, and you can click here for a breakdown of the defense.

But below is a position-by-position look at how the offense performed, after having reviewed the game.

QUARTERBACKS

* Michael Vick was sharp on the Eagles’ first two possessions, completing four of five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. He showed great patience in the pocket, finding Jason Avant for 22 yards over the middle on the first possession, a big-time throw with three defenders closing in. And his 47-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson was a beauty. It’s worth noting that pass came against a blitz from New England. The ball traveled 48 yards in the air and landed right in Jackson’s hands. Later, Vick delivered a strike to Riley Cooper on a rollout to his right. The Eagles slowed things down to start the game, and I don’t recall seeing Vick run a true zone read. But don’t be surprised if we see him go no-huddle next week vs. Carolina.

Nick Foles played well also, although the style of play was different when he was in the game. The Eagles pushed tempo and went with a more controlled attack. While Vick chucked it down the field, none of Foles’ six attempts traveled more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. He showed good command in the no-huddle though and completed five of six passes for 43 yards. The Patriots brought a five-man blitz on third down in the second, and Foles got rid of the ball quickly, finding Bryce Brown for 8 yards and a first down. He also did a great job with the play-fake before rolling to his left and finding Avant for a gain of 12. Foles will get the start Thursday vs. Carolina.

* Up-and down performance for Matt Barkley. He underthrew Russell Shepard deep on his first pass attempt and made too many throws that left receivers vulnerable to big hits. There were at least two throws that could have been picked off. Barkley made the right decision on a zone read. The DE crashed inside, and he took off for 8 yards. He seemed to settle down later in the game, finding Clay Harbor for a couple of big gains and leading the Eagles on a touchdown drive.

RUNNING BACKS

* The coaches decided to start Chris Polk since he played well in camp. He carried four times for 7 yards, and none of his attempts picked up more than 4 yards. Polk is the Eagles’ best blocking back, and that showed on the 47-yard touchdown to Jackson. He did an excellent job picking up blitzing linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Chris Polk

polk2

You can see Vick has a clean pocket to deliver.

* I thought Bryce Brown really played well. Five carries for 22 yards and two catches for 19 yards. Brown hasn’t flashed good hands at practice, but he got matched up against a linebacker and had a nice 8-yard catch and run on 3rd-and-5. He picked up 11 on another reception. There were a couple occasions where it looked like he might have missed his blocking assignments. One was when Foles faced an unblocked defender and scrambled for 11 yards. Brown also had the 8-yard touchdown run.

* Felix Jones did not look good. Eight carries for 31 yards. He also had a drop, and it looked like he missed a blitz pickup assignment.

* Matthew Tucker only had 33 yards on 10 carries, but he caught the 2-point conversion. Has a chance to stick if Jones doesn’t improve.

WIDE RECEIVERS

* Not much to add that hasn’t already been mentioned on DeSean Jackson. Vick said he went deep because the Patriots had a single high safety. I’m curious about what his route would have been had the coverage been different.

* Great job by Jason Avant not only going up for the 22-yard catch in between three defenders, but also getting down quickly and avoiding a big hit.

* Riley Cooper got the start opposite Jackson and came down with a 19-yard grab in the second.

* Russell Shepard led the team with six targets, but didn’t get much of a chance to make plays. He had just one grab for 4 yards. Nice effort on the deep ball from Barkley that was underthrown.

* Ifeanyi Momah simply does not look like he’s ready. Poor job as a blocker when Barkley took off on the zone read in the second. Momah then had a false start on the very next play. He got laid out down the right sideline in the third. And Momah was shoved out of bounds by the defender on the next play. Practice squad seems likely for 2013.

* Very nice 62-yard punt return by Damaris Johnson.

* I probably haven’t shown Greg Salas enough love up to this point. I thought Kelly said it best after the game: Salas just keeps showing up. Great individual effort on the touchdown in the fourth. Salas got no blocking on the quick screen, but avoided three defenders and scampered into the end zone. He also made a sensational 35-yard grab on the final drive. He’s got a chance to stick.

TIGHT ENDS

* Per Pro Football Focus, 14 of Zach Ertz’s 22 snaps were pass plays. And Ertz went out into his route on 13 of those 14. He was in the slot on the first two plays from scrimmage. Two catches for 10 yards on three targets. Did not look good as a blocker. Ertz was slow to get to Brandon Spikes on an early Polk run.

Did you see Brent Celek in the backfield on the Eagles’ first play? He fumbled after making a grab in the second. At this point, looks like a much better blocker than Ertz.

* Still not sure if there’s a spot here for Clay Harbor, but he made a couple nice grabs – a 22-yarder and a 20-yarder from Barkley in the second half.

OFFENSIVE LINE

* Really liked what I saw from Lane Johnson as a run-blocker. This was the second play of the game. Johnson is matched up with outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

johnson1

johnson2

Couldn’t get a good shot of Johnson taking Ninkovich to the ground, but that’s exactly what he did. And afterwards, Johnson used Ninkovich to prop himself up.

johnson3

Later, he showed off his great athleticism, starting off on a double-team with Celek, before peeling off and looking for a defensive back to hit downfield. Johnson had some issues in pass protection, but an encouraging start for the rookie.

* Given his resume, there’s probably no need to panic, but Todd Herremans did not play well. He whiffed on his block, pulling to the left side on a Polk run that picked up just 1 yard. And Herremans got beaten badly by Tommy Kelly on the Foles sack/fumble. The bright spot for Herremans was his block on Brown’s TD run.

* As for the rest of the starters, Jason Kelce looked good, especially on Brown’s TD run. Evan Mathis was solid as usual. And Allen Barbre was up and down. No one’s going to confuse him for Jason Peters, and he had some issues in pass protection, but was OK overall.

* In terms of the backups, Danny Watkins had a few good moments. He did a nice job on Barkley’s deep attempt to Sheppard. And later, he switched off his man against a stunt on a Barkley incompletion. Watkins was called for holding in the third. Matt Kopa had issues. And Julian Vandervelde played center with the second team. He got overpowered at times and was called for holding, but otherwise was OK. Looked better than he did last preseason.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: RB Training Camp Preview

Each day this week, we’ll take a look at a different position group as we count down to training camp.

What’s changed?

Chip Kelly’s Oregon squad totaled 21 running plays of 30+ yards last year, tied for most in the country.

That’s excellent news for LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. While the exact identity of the Eagles’ offense has yet to be revealed, all signs point to Kelly leaning on the running game and featuring a healthy dose of his top two backs.

McCoy averaged 4.2 yards per carry and 70 yards per game in 2012 – his lowest numbers since his rookie season. But he was running behind a banged-up offensive line and often had nowhere to go.

Brown, meanwhile, averaged 4.9 yards per carry and showed he has the size/speed to break off big runs. Brown had six gains of 20+ yards on 115 attempts (one every 19.2 carries).

The Eagles also have second-year player Chris Polk, free agent addition Felix Jones and undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker.

The pressing question: Can McCoy bounce back?

The 25-year-old was one of Andy Reid’s biggest supporters, but he should welcome the offseason changes. The key to how quickly the Eagles can pick up Kelly’s offense will be the offensive line. With Todd Herremans moving inside to guard, and Jason Peters and Jason Kelce returning, this group has a chance to be one of the best run-blocking units in the league.

Even last year, McCoy was one of 14 running backs to carry the ball at least 200 times and average 4.2 yards per carry or better. And he still had his elusiveness. According to the Football Outsiders Almanac, McCoy broke 44 tackles on 254 touches. The FOA crew projects McCoy for 1,155 yards, eight touchdowns and a 4.8 YPC average in 2013. Those numbers certainly seem reachable from this perspective.

Don’t be surprised if…

Brown fixes his fumbling issue. That was the problem in Year 1. He fumbled four times on 115 carries (136 touches), but remember that Brown was not your average rookie. He had only carried the ball three times in game situations since the end of the 2009 season. It seems reasonable to think he would need some time to get adjusted to the speed and chaos of the NFL.

The Football Outsiders Almanac cited a few running backs who had similar fumbling rates (percentage of touches with a fumble) to Brown as rookies. Ryan Mathews saw his rate drop from 2.8 to 1.8 in his second season. Toby Gerhart went from 2.9 to 0.8. And Chris Ivory from 2.9 to 0.0.

If history is any indication, Brown, whose fumbling rate was 2.9 last season, should be able to improve his ball security in Year 2.

Roster battles to watch

The only thing to really to keep an eye on here is depth. Polk didn’t play an offensive snap as a rookie, but shed weight this offseason and is looking to get into the mix.

The Eagles took a flier on Jones as a free agent. Last year, Jones was one of only eight players with at least 100 carries to average worse than 3.7 yards per carry. But for his career, he’s one of six active players to average 4.7 yards per carry on at least 500 attempts. It seems like Jones has been around forever, but he’s only 26. The Eagles are hoping he can get provide depth and versatility.

Tucker was a rotational player in college, but Kelly obviously liked his skills and measurables.

There’s a chance the Eagles will go four-deep at running back since they’re not keeping a fullback on the roster, but it’s also possible only one other player joins McCoy and Brown.

WHAT YOU MISSED

DeSean Jackson predicts that Michael Vick will win the starting QB job.

Do we expect to go 46-7 over the next whatever years? No,” says Kelly.

In yesterday’s camp preview, we looked at the offensive line.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Peters had charges dropped from an arrest for racing last month, per CSN’s Derrick Gunn:

Peters on June 12 was charged with speeding and resisting an officer by flight in Monroe, La.

According to CSN’s Derrick Gunn, via the District Attorney’s office in Monroe, those charges were dismissed on June 20. Instead, he was charged with having improper equipment — an after-market muffler.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com looks at the Eagles’ offensive line situation:

The Center position will be just fine if Jason Kelce stays healthy. Dallas Reynolds was a mess early last year, but improved as the year went along. He had some snap issues that must be fixed, but he did show that he could be an effective NFL starter. Matt Tennant was strictly a role player in 2012. He would like to win a spot and challenge for time this year. We’ll see how that goes.

COMING UP

We’ll do a national media roundup and more.

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Projected Depth Chart: Eagles’ Offense

We went over the defense yesterday.

Here is the projected depth chart for the Eagles’ offense, based on what we saw during spring practices. Explanations below.

 
First Team
Second Team
Third Team
QBMichael Vick/Nick FolesMichael Vick/Nick FolesMatt Barkley
RBLeSean McCoyBryce BrownChris Polk
LTJason PetersDennis KellyEd Wang
LGEvan MathisDanny WatkinsNate Menkin
CJason KelceDallas ReynoldsMatt Tennant
RGTodd HerremansAllen BarbreMatt Kopa
RTLane JohnsonDennis KellyMatt Tobin
TEBrent CelekZach ErtzJames Casey
WRDeSean JacksonDamaris JohnsonGreg Salas
WRJeremy MaclinRiley CooperIfeanyi Momah
WRJason AvantArrelious BennRussell Shepard

Quarterback: You can view it as a cop-out, but really this is the most accurate way to rank them. Vick and Foles split first-team reps at every practice I attended. I know some people charted overall reps, but that can be a bit deceiving. For example, if a quarterback throws a 50-yard touchdown on the first play of a drill, he generally comes off. That’s only one rep, but it’s a successful one. The same thing happens if the quarterback throws an interception.

Expect Vick and Foles to continue the back-and-forth well into the preseason. Chip Kelly wants to see how each guy responds when faced with the possibility of getting crushed by an opposing defensive player. He has plenty of tape to go off of, but Kelly needs to see how each quarterback handles the new concepts he and his coaching staff have implemented.

Barkley appears to be a clear No. 3 at this point, but I’m not ready to rule anything out.

Kelly has said consistently that the competition will play itself out on the field, and the best performer will be named the starter. His track record at Oregon suggests that’s one of his core beliefs and not just lip service.

Settle in. I wouldn’t expect a winner to be announced until close to that Week 1 matchup against the Redskins.

Running back: McCoy and Brown both figure to see plenty of action in this offense.

Behind them, Polk, Felix Jones and undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker will be competing for roster spots. Polk has dropped weight from a year ago and seemed to be ahead of the other two during spring practices.

Jones provides versatility and could have a leg up if he can be effective as a returner and stay healthy.

Since the Eagles don’t have a fullback on the roster, they could potentially keep four running backs.

Wide receiver: This was a tough one. You’ll notice that the depth chart I’m using features “11” personnel, or one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers.

Avant is a difficult player to evaluate in this scheme. He doesn’t have exceptional size or speed, but he catches anything near him and is the toughest receiver on the roster. Avant is also someone who can set an example for younger players. He’s already taken Sheppard under his wing this offseason.

Benn is not exclusively a slot receiver, even though I put him behind Avant. He was a disappointment in Tampa, but has a versatile skill set. Benn’s chance to prove himself will come in the summer when the pads are on. He’s probably the best blocker among this group.

Cooper and Johnson return from last year’s squad and will have to earn spots. Johnson improved throughout the course of his rookie season and showed the ability to make plays after the catch. He’s also in the mix as a return man. Cooper didn’t do much when given the opportunity to start last year, but he has good measurables and is only 25.

Sheppard looked good during the spring, and Momah’s size (6-foot-7) is intriguing.

This is a crowded position with players with different skill sets. We’ll find out a lot about what Kelly is looking for from his wide receivers after the roster is trimmed down to 53.

Tight end: The depth chart here is a bit misleading. By all accounts, the Eagles are expected to use a lot of two tight-end sets under Kelly. I still think Celek will play the most snaps this season, but he could be on the field with Ertz or Casey quite a bit.

Ertz missed spring practices because of the NCAA graduation rule. And Casey spent several practices on the bike, following arthroscopic knee surgery .

Left tackle/right tackle: Peters has drawn glowing reviews from coaches and teammates, and Johnson has taken over as the starting right tackle.

Kelly looks to be the favorite to be the first backup at both spots (which is why he’s listed twice). He doesn’t appear to have a lot of competition.

Left guard/right guard: Mathis missed time with an ankle injury, but returned last week. Herremans makes the switch to right guard from right tackle.

In terms of depth, Barbre and Watkins are vying for the first backup guard spot.

Center: Kelly has praised Kelce for being in the building rehabbing all offseason. The third-year center is coming off of ACL surgery, but participated in team drills for the first time last week. He’s expected to be fully cleared by training camp.

The backup spot is up for grabs. Reynolds and Tennant are both in the mix.

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Staley Getting Backs Ready For A Ground Party

Jason Peters recently said that in this offense, there is “a lot of running the ball; the passing is mixed in.”  If you were to describe Andy Reid‘s approach, you would likely say the exact opposite.

The ground game is coming to Philly. Envious, Duce Staley?

“Ahhh, of course I am,” said Staley with a laugh Thursday. “If you’re a running back, you should be excited.”

Staley will have to settle for coaching this group of running backs, who are more important than ever to the success of the Eagles. And he has an intriguing group to work with.

In LeSean McCoy, a Pro Bowl talent that is coming off a down campaign and a rocky offseason. Staley serves as a mentor to the 24-year-old, and believes he is pointed in the right direction.

“LeSean will be the first to own up to the mistakes he’s made. Now he’s trying to move on and get better from those, learning from those so he won’t repeat them,” said Staley. “He’ll tell you first-hand that we’re on the same page when it comes to life and things that come along with life. I think he’s getting a better understanding when I explain certain things to him. By any means necessary he is going to get it and he’s going to correct it and he’s going to move on. He’ll be OK.”

Behind McCoy is Bryce Brown, who is as raw as he is gifted. In order to be a reliable No. 2, he will have to solve his fumbling issues.  Staley said that they are taking measures on the field and in the classroom to clean up that part of Brown’s games.

“The first thing you have to do is show him where the problem is. You have to show him the film over and over again to make sure he undertsands traffic,” said Staley. “That’s one of things that I talk about with Bryce all the time is traffic. When you look at the type of runner Bryce is, Bryce is an aggressive runner, he wants to hit the hole and he wants to break tackles. When you hit the hole and break tackles, it gives a chance for other people to catch up with you. He has to make sure he continues to pull that ball in tight.”

Chris Polk has dropped some weight and is quicker, according to Staley. He said that Felix Jones is looking good as well. Rookie Matthew Tucker rounds out the group.

Last season, Oregon averaged 53 rushes per game. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 rushing attempts. De’Anthony Thomas had 92; Byron Marshall 87.

History suggests that there is a sizeable workload coming for not just McCoy, but several of these Eagles running backs.

“I’m lucky to have some running backs where all those guys bring something to the party. It’s not like one guy has all the tools — if I had to say one had all the tools it would be McCoy right now — but every guy that I have brings something to the party,” said Staley.

“I think you have to add all those guys in the mix because we’re going to need all of them.”

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Eagles Depth Chart Outlook: Running Back

This is the sixth in a series. Click here for the earlier posts on the defensive positions.

Chip Kelly’s Oregon team averaged more than 52 rushing attempts per game in 2012, sixth-most in the nation.

Part of that was because they ran so many plays overall. Part of that was because they often held big leads. And part of that was, well, because it’s what Kelly liked to do.

Going into the 2013 offseason, the one area where the Eagles did not need much of a makeover was at running back. LeSean McCoy didn’t match his 2011 performance, but at 24, is still a key component of the team’s future. Seventh-round pick Bryce Brown had fumbling issues, but still captured the imagination of fans with back-to-back 178- and 169-yard performances in Weeks 11 and 12.

The Eagles dealt Dion Lewis to the Browns in the offseason and signed veteran Felix Jones. They also added TCU’s Matthew Tucker as an undrafted free agent and still have second-year player Chris Polk.

Here’s a look at all the running backs:

 
Height
Weight
Age
Years/Starts
Bryce Brown6-0223221/4
Felix Jones5-10215265/23
LeSean McCoy5-11208244/44
Chris Polk5-11222231/0
Matthew Tucker6-1227210/0

Pencil ‘em in: McCoy, Brown.

McCoy has had a couple off-the-field transgressions this offseason, but on the field, he should be as excited as anyone about the hiring of Kelly.

“There’s definitely a difference,” McCoy said, when I asked him to compare the new scheme to the old one. “Just being in shotgun all the time, for one.

“And two, being able to run the ball a lot more. I mean, look at his track record. A lot of his backs touched the ball quite a bit, so that’s the other different point that you’ve got to look at. And just the ability to get the guys in the open field. Our defensive guys can get so mixed up from trying to follow their keys, and there’s so much misdirection, going here, going there, the bootlegs, going deep, then running it. There’s so much you have to look at where sometimes a big hole might just happen from guys being out of place. The backs we have here, you don’t even need that much room to get going.”

McCoy’s numbers were down across the board last year (4.2 YPC, two rushing touchdowns), but he was playing behind a depleted offensive line that offered very little help. According to Football Outsiders, he broke at least one tackle on 44 plays, a league-high. McCoy should have the opportunity for plenty of big plays in Kelly’s offense.

And Brown too. The second-year back averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a rookie, totaling 564 yards on the ground. Brown’s issue was holding onto the football. He fumbled four times, or once every 28.75 attempts, way too high of a rate. If he can get that problem fixed, he should see plenty of touches in 2013.

Fighting for spots: Polk, Jones, Tucker.

The Eagles will likely keep one or two players from this group.

Polk was active for seven games, but did not play an offensive snap and was a non-factor on special teams. For what it’s worth, in college, he didn’t have much success against Oregon, running for 280 yards on 73 attempts (3.8 YPC) in four games.

Jones has a skill set that appeals to Kelly and is only 26, but when a free agent who’s not asking for a lot of money can’t find a team until May, there’s usually a reason. Jones will have to show he’s healthy and can be productive to stick.

Tucker was a rotational player in college and will have to beat out one (or both) of the players listed above.

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Felix Jones Excited about Playing In Kelly’s System

The Eagles have added another option to the mix at running back, signing Felix Jones to a one-year deal and releasing wide receiver Marvin McNutt.

Jones, 26, spent his first five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He dealt with knee, shoulder and rib injuries last season and played in only 34.7 percent of the offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Jones did not miss a single game due to injury in 2012, but he was on the injury report 10 times (probable seven times, questionable three times).

“I’ve seen Coach [Chip] Kelly do his thing when he played his Bowl games at Oregon,” Jones said. “It seems like a fun system, a fun thing he has going on. No huddles and things of that nature. It’s exciting. I can’t wait to learn the playbook and get going.”

Clearly, Jones (5-10, 215) was not his usual self when he was on the field, managing just 402 yards on 111 attempts and averaging a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. Among the 44 players who had at least 100 carries in 2012, only four had a worse YPC average than Jones.

“Well, obviously none,” Jones said when asked what the interest in him was like when free agency started back in March. “Once I got here and checked out the team and coaches and the organization, I felt like it was a great fit.”

For his career, Jones has averaged a healthy 4.8 yards per carry and shown the type of versatility that Chip Kelly covets. Last year, he caught 26 balls for 266 yards, averaging 10.2 yards per reception. Jones had 33 catches in 2011 and 48 in 2010. At his best, Jones can line up in the backfield or as a wide receiver and be used to create mismatch problems.

He also has experience as a kick returner and said he caught a couple during his first practice on Tuesday.

“I’m excited about kickoff returns,” Jones said. “It’s something I always did, something that I always wanted to do. Whenever coach gives me an opportunity to go out there and do it, I’m definitely ready to go.”

The Eagles have LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown as their primary backs, but there are depth spots up for grabs. Chris Polk is still on the roster, and the team signed undrafted free agents Miguel Maysonet (Stony Brook) and Matt Tucker (TCU).

By all accounts, the Eagles plan on using an up-tempo attack with an emphasis on the running game. That means there will be plenty of carries to go around. Jones will have to show he’s healthy, but he’ll have a chance to compete for a roster spot during the next several months.

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Twitter Mailbag: What Does A Chip Kelly Defense Look Like?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @russman30: Any idea if they will sign Felix Jones? I guess they do need a vet behind McCoy. Last yr McCoy was injured.

The Eagles believe Felix Jones is a solid player, and were doing due diligence by bringing him in. Nothing imminent as of last night, but I think they would consider adding him if the price is right.  Jones is visiting with New England today.

It looks like Chip Kelly wants to build some competition at the running back position. The Eagles signed a pair of undrafted free-agent backs in Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet and TCU’s Matt Tucker, then took a look at Jones. That’s not to say that he is unhappy with the LeSean McCoy-Bryce Brown-Chris Polk triumvirate. But this is an offense that will lean on the ground game. Oregon ran the ball an average of 53 times per game last season under Kelly. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 attempts. De’Anthony Thomas carried the ball 92 times; Byron Marshall 87. It’s not enough to have a premiere back in this system. You need multiple reliable options.

From @jkh_76: will this new offense help mike vick play an entire season at 2010 level?

I recently wrote about the challenges that face Vick in a Chip Kelly offense. I’m not only curious about whether he can play an entire season at the 2010 level (a lofty goal, no doubt), but whether he can play an entire season, period. He has appeared in no more than 13 games in a season since joining the Eagles, and has played in all 16 games just once in his career (2006).

With all the read-option talk, you wonder if Vick’s 33-year-old body can absorb all the blows. But according to the quarterback, Kelly’s system will not open him up to much punishment at all.

“You’ll understand why when you see us practice or when you see us play,” he said. “You don’t have to take a hit.”

There is an argument to be made that Vick will actually end up on his back less under Kelly than he did Andy Reid. Where Reid designed plays that often took time to develop, Kelly seems intent on getting the ball out quickly. But can he really avoid taking hits in read-option situations? I’m anxious to see how it all works.

From @MacStewie: Does Dixon have a realistic chance at getting the starting job?

No sir, I do not believe he does.

From @PHLFour: We’ve heard a lot about Kelly’s offense, but what is his defensive philosophy? Score the most points? Leave it to the D Cord?

Kelly prefers the 3-4. More specifically, a hybrid 3-4. That’s what he used at Oregon, and that’s what you can expect come September. He explained his defensive philosophy at his introductory press conference.

“In terms of what we want to be, we’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game,” he said. “I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”

Kelly has a scheme and style preference, but that’s about where he leaves it. He is not into micromanagement, and will let Billy Davis steer the ‘D’.

“When I was an offensive coordinator, I was fortunate that the two head coaches that I coached for allowed me to work,” said Kelly. “We’ll have discussions during the week about where we’re going with things, but on game day, those guys have to be able to not worry about who is second guessing them and who is over their shoulder. If I do have to second guess them and I do have to look over their shoulder, then I hired the wrong person.”

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