Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Conversation Heats Back Up

Nothing but positive vibes emanating from the NovaCare Complex at the moment, as you might expect. The Chip Kelly era is still drenched with that new car smell. Players are energized and eager to impress the new head man. His ideas are fresh and untapped. Optimism and anticipation rule, as they should.

Where it gets interesting is when theory becomes practice, when the players get knee-deep in the process of changing their training, their approach and their mindset. Kelly is introducing a whole new operation to the Eagles, and in some respects, the league. He will ask veteran players, who have made it this far doing things one way, to buy into his methods even though they haven’t been tested on the NFL level.

The opening of the offseason program marks the very beginning of this experiment. The entire NFL community is watching intently to see how it plays out.

It seems inevitable. Whether out of stubbornness or otherwise, you would imagine some leftovers from Andy Reid‘s crew will not adapt to the Kelly Way. It could take some time before the new coach has the right collection of like-minded players.

“I don’t think you can institute a complete culture change and implement everything Chip wants to accomplish just by having one training camp and one offseason,” said Jeffrey Lurie at the owners meetings, when asked about his expectations in Year One.

Some predict a good deal of resistance to the new wave. Others believe the new wave has roots in the old school, and will be welcomed by the modern-day athlete.

Bill Walsh was always labeled with West Coast Offense. Nobody talked about the way Bill Walsh practiced, the way they had meetings, the way they traveled, the way they slept. Chip Kelly is into those little nuances,” said Chris Mortensen in a roundtable discussion with Mel Kiper and Trent Dilfer.  “He’s into lifting differently. Their practices are going to last about an hour and 20 minutes. You don’t think players are going to like that? They are going to be fast-break practices. And their meetings aren’t going to last too long.”

Added Dilfer: “He’s opened a bunch of new ideas, a bunch of new concepts, the science of athletes, how players learn. He values competitive temperament, values all of these things. But he says listen, there is also a tradition, a history that has taught us valuable lessons of how the game is supposed to be played, and I will adhere to those.”

It is telling that the simple opening of an offseason training program  would generate so much interest and conversation, both locally and nationally.  Whether Kelly’s time in Philly is spectacular or a spectacular flop, this is a story that will be followed closely.

“I think it’s the most exciting hire since I’ve been covering the league,” said Mortensen.


Jason Peters told reporters that he is motivated and healthy.

Brandon Graham also addressed the media, and got posed the big question: Is he now an outside linebacker?

Eric Fisher in the first round, EJ Manuel in the second? The latest mock draft roundup.

One national writer has some harsh criticism for Geno Smith.


Smith responded to the accusation that he does not have a strong work ethic.

It’s untrue in all things,” Smith told Jim Corbett of USA Today. “I heard about it [Monday] night when my quarterbacks coach called me to tell me about it.”

His old quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital, who now has Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, said Smith is a student of the game.

“I was laughing with Geno about it Monday night and I said, ‘Welcome to the business,”’ Spavital said. “I’ve been around Geno for two years. I thought he was one of the hardest-working quarterbacks I’ve ever been around.

“You have people who are about ‘What can football do for me?’ Geno is about ‘What I can do for football?’ If you take the game away from him, I think he dies. He is a dream come true for a coach.”

Nnamdi Asomugha found a home in San Francisco.


We’ll speak to DeSean Jackson and Nick Foles today, and pass along what they have to say.