Weekend Reading: Kelly’s League-Wide Influence

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

A week from today, Birds 24/7 will be on the sidelines at the NovaCare Complex observing the Eagles’ first training camp practice.

We can already smell the unique mix of fresh-cut grass, body odor and sun block in the air.

Football season is pretty  much here. But for now, let’s get to some weekend reading.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has Chip Kelly as one of the 10 most influential figures in the game right now:

5. Eagles coach Chip Kelly: He’s incorporated a new faster tempo for the game to be played, as well as innovative ways to train and utilize nutrition. With no previous NFL coaching experience he led the Eagles to the division title in his first year.

Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 13th in its power rankings:

Barring injuries, the biggest reason to think that the Eagles may take a step back is that Foles is unlikely to throw 27 touchdowns against two interceptions again this season. More turnovers would put more pressure on a defense that’s still finding its way and that could lead to worse results this time around.

Given how strong the offense looks, though, Foles would have to pick up some of Sanchez’s habits from the Jets to keep the Eagles from competing in the NFC East even if the defense doesn’t make any major strides this season.

Matt Waldman writes about LeSean McCoy’s vision:

When McCoy was a rookie he had the agility to make any NFL defender look as foolish as he does now. But the difference in McCoy’s game then and now is a product of enhanced vision.

McCoy often made that one extra step and tipped-off the defense. The reasons he did so are common issues with many young NFL backs transitioning to the league — a lack of confidence at the point of attack and/or indecisiveness that comes form adjusting to the speed and athleticism of the NFL. It’s this extra move that sometimes prevented him from earning extra yards as a first-year player and it is common with a lot of young, talented backs.

The Eagles are the 17th-most valuable franchise ($1.314 billion) in sports, according to Forbes:

The Eagles are wrapping up a two-year, $125 million renovation of Lincoln Financial Field in time for the 2014 season. Changes include new HD video boards and HD TVs around the stadium, as well as 1,600 new seats.

Hugh Douglas talks about his ESPN firing and his issues with Michael Smith:

[Smith] says ‘Don’t you ever effing do that again.’ And so I looked at him and I’m like ‘Mike what’s the matter?’ And he walks away, so I walked behind him. And I’m like ‘Dude, what’s going on?’ So, he stopped and he’s talking to this young lady. So I walk up to Michael and I whisper in his ear. I said ‘Mike, don’t you ever talk to me like that again, because I will beat your M F’ing A.’ Just like that.