Eagles Wake-Up Call: What To Believe With Chip
Chip Kelly made a surprise appearance in the NovaCare auditorium Wednesday afternoon to address the media for the first time since the day after the season ended.
We recapped much of what he said yesterday, but there are a few points that require reading between the lines. Let’s go Q&A style this morning.
Can we finally put the Marcus Mariota rumors to bed now?
I know this will enrage some (and please others), but I really don’t think so. When asked about Mariota, Kelly said the Eagles would not mortgage the future to move up for any prospect, pointing out the limitations such a move puts on filling other roster holes.
But the phrase mortgaging the future is extremely vague, and as someone who was seated close by, I didn’t find Kelly very convincing. He could have said, “We’ll explore all our options.” But observers would have probably taken that to mean he was making a move for Mariota.
Instead, he took the opposite approach. I almost expected him to say, “Mari-who? QB? Never heard of him!” He added that the Eagles have not had discussions with teams about “any draft things” yet, which does not seem believable.
Meanwhile, Kelly just happened to mention how the Eagles had been offered a first-round pick for Sam Bradford Wednesday morning. Since when do coaches just volunteer that kind of information? Maybe it was just an off-hand comment. Or maybe it was an invitation for other teams to call in with offers too.
Consider this: If Kelly had no problem throwing in a second-round pick to land Bradford, what would he be willing to offer for someone like Mariota?
I realize there’s a leap to be made here, but the whole press conference was a bit strange. Aside from post-draft, this was the first time in the last two years where Kelly addressed the media when he didn’t have to. Part of me thinks there was a reason for that.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but to conclude that Kelly’s no longer going to try to land Mariota because of what he said would be a mistake.
So, the 2014 draft was all Howie Roseman?
When asked about Marcus Smith II, Kelly could have easily said that it was a team call, a collaborative effort. Instead, he pointed out Roseman had final say on that pick. Asked about how the front-office setup is now different, Kelly said he now has final say on the draft and free agency.
Clearly, whatever process the Eagles were using last year was flawed. But to pretend the picks were more on Roseman seems silly. Kelly has admitted that he watched college tape during the season on Saturdays, and we all saw him at those Pro Days. Throw in the Josh Huff and Taylor Hart picks, and it seems naive to think Roseman had more influence on the drafts than Kelly.
Regardless of how the 2014 class turns out, both guys should be held responsible.
The front-office shakeup was Jeffrey Lurie’s idea, huh?
There was clearly an organizational decision made on how to handle this one. And I can’t really blame the Eagles for their spin. But the idea that the shakeup was Lurie’s idea is laughable. As T-Mac pointed out, a week before Lurie met with Kelly, he mocked reporters for even asking if Roseman would return as GM.
Suddenly, after a meeting with Kelly, Lurie changed his mind. But Kelly’s suggestions/feedback had nothing to do with that? Again, I understand why Kelly addressed this topic the way he did, but c’mon.
Kelly did, however, go to bat for Tom Gamble.
“That was made on the other side. That wasn’t my call,” he said of Gamble’s firing. “I like Tom. I think Tom does an unbelievable job and is a great football guy, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. So I couldn’t make any impact on that decision.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
DeMeco Ryans will be back with the Eagles, says Kelly.
DeMarco Murray will visit the Birds today, per a report.
Kelly says he won’t mortgage the future for Mariota, but also announced that the Eagles have been offered a first-round pick for Bradford.
Kelly says the front-office shakeup wasn’t his idea and points out that Roseman had final say on the last two drafts.
I tried to make sense of the Eagles’ trade for Bradford.
The Eagles signed CB Walter Thurmond to a one-year deal.
The Eagles are reportedly signing RB Ryan Mathews as well.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz says he’s losing faith in Kelly:
Kelly has burned through a lot of trust with his moves in the last year or so. I totally get that and it is more than fair to question him right now. The Bradford deal could be a stroke of genius that will put the Eagles over the top or it could be the beginning of the end for Kelly. This time next year GM Howie Roseman and Coach Bill Davis might be unveiling their plan to fix the Eagles.
I’m still a Chip Kelly fan. I still have faith in him. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that faith was starting to get seriously tested.
That Kelly, who places such a high value on players who can stay on the field and give him snaps, would be willing to take a major risk on a guy with an injury history like Bradford’s seems out of character.
It explains why the Eagles acted so quickly over the weekend to re-sign Mark Sanchez. They wanted to make sure they had an experienced backup as insurance in case Bradford suffers another serious injury or isn’t ready to go by the start of the season.
Things have generally been pretty boring around these parts. I’m thinking of taking a nap. Will keep you posted.