Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘You Can’t Fake Football’

Summer break. A much-needed respite from the grind that will allow the players to recharge and come into training camp fresh and ready for the season. Right, Coach?

“I don’t think that,” said Chip Kelly. “I’d be here every day if I could.”

Chances are Kelly will be at the NovaCare just about every day leading up to camp, but the veterans don’t officially report back until July 25.

If Kelly had to give his team a grade following OTAs and minicamp, it would undoubtedly be an incomplete. He has mentioned  on numerous occasions that it would be unfair to create a depth chart at this point before the players put the pads on. Kelly noted that in college teams are actually allotted more practices in the spring, and you’re allowed to hit. You can make evaluations in that environment, but few in this one.

That doesn’t mean nothing got accomplished. Two-thirds of the offense was installed according to Kelly, and the first-year coach seems pretty pleased with this group.

“[I’m] real happy with where they are and where I expect them to be.  I didn’t have any expectations going in.  My expectations were that they improve every day, and I feel like they’ve improved every day,” said Kelly.

The rookie program runs until June 21 (Zach Ertz and Jordan Poyer will join the team around the 14th following graduation). The vets are on their own, but can work out at the facility. The strength and conditioning coaches have written out a program for them to follow. Kelly says he’ll know whether his guys adhered to it or not.

“It’s on them in terms of what they do in the summertime in terms of coming back. We’ll see them in July.  We’ll know.  That is the great thing about this: You can’t fake football,” said Kelly. “If you didn’t do any work from the time you left here on June 6th and show up on July 25th, we’ll know because your body will tell you what you can do.  You can’t just take time off.”

Over the next couple weeks, the coaches will be busy going over breakdowns for their first four games against the Redskins, Chargers, Chiefs and Broncos. Kelly said there is always work to do, and hopes his players have the same mentality.

“I expect them to be professional and prepare like this is their year.  And that’s what I think they expect of themselves,” he said. “So this is your job and this is what you lived your whole life to do: play in the NFL. Now you have an opportunity.  So there is a responsibility that goes with that.  So it’s, I believe, a privilege to play in this league, and with that privilege goes responsibility.  So I expect our guys to work their tails off.”


One more running diary from Sheil before the break. Savor it.

Michael Vick says “it’s tough” splitting reps with Nick Foles. 

Some thoughts on Vick, DeSean Jackson and the secondary in the latest Twitter Mailbag.

Kapadia focuses in on the sports science angle. 


Vick is hopeful Kelly will name a QB before training camp. From Geoff Mosher:

“Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won’t have to answer that question, so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day.”

Asked if tension could mount between he and Foles as the competition plays out this summer, Vick said, “Yeah, but hopefully we’ll have an answer by then, so I’m not going to answer that.

“I won’t want to continue to answer those questions. I won’t continue to answer those questions until Chip makes a decision.”

Domo points out that the Eagles would benefit financially if either Nick Foles or Matt Barkley wins the job.

Foles, who started six games last season as a rookie, has a $635,800 cap number in 2013. It increases to only $750,800 next year. Even if he threw a gazillion touchdown passes and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl this season, he can’t get a raise until after the 2014 season.

Barkley, a fourth-round pick in the April draft, has a $531,000 cap value this year, $621,500 next year and $711,500 in 2015. He must play under his rookie deal through ’15.

Why is this important? Because for at least 1 more year, the league’s salary cap is expected to remain relatively flat, while a number of Eagles player contracts will increase substantially after this season…

“There are no perfect players,” Roseman said. “People are punching holes in all of these players before the draft. If you see a quarterback who has the things that translate to your system and hit on one, you have an opportunity to build your team with a young quarterback like San Francisco and Seattle did. And then you can use your [salary-cap] resources in other areas.”


The offseason program is over, but we march on.