Wake-Up Call: What Players Think Of Chip’s Moves
A bunch of Todd Herremans’ former teammates joined him Thursday night at Vie for his foundation’s third annual Hoops For Help fundraiser.
Herremans signed with the Colts after the Eagles released him, but he said he plans on eventually settling down in Philadelphia and will continue to be active in the community here.
Joining him were several former Eagles who now have new homes, like Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Current Eagles Jason Kelce, Connor Barwin and Beau Allen were also in attendance, along with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Earlier this week in Phoenix, Chip Kelly and Jeffrey Lurie did their best to explain the team’s offseason moves. But what do the players – both current and former – think? And do they believe Chip knows what he’s doing?
We asked them. Here’s what they had to say.
Herremans: “[The McCoy trade] didn’t really surprise me. I figured something was gonna happen. He was gonna get a lot of money this year, and it’s tough for any program to pay any running back that much money. But I think LeSean deserves it. He made his money, and he’s up in Buffalo and going to make a good chunk this year and the next couple years. So I’m happy for him. It didn’t really surprise me just kind of the way Chip is. He’s not scared to let anybody go. That could go as both a message to the public and to the locker room. Nobody’s above getting cut.
“I knew there was going to be a few things happening this offseason. I didn’t expect myself to be one of them. But then after that happened, I was just like, ‘Wow. Shit might hit the fan this offseason.’ He’s just trying to clean house. I understand every move that he made. I like the additions that he made. I think the Eagles are gonna be in good shape this year. I know a lot of people are questioning it, but I think they’re gonna be competitive. I think the biggest shock was the [Nick] Foles trade for [Sam] Bradford. I just didn’t really see that happening. I thought maybe drafting [a QB] or sticking with Nick again, but that made me raise my eyebrow a little bit. But he’s a man with a plan. Whether anybody understands it or not, he’s gonna carry out his plan.”
Barwin: “As a player that’s been around for a little bit of time, you know that this happens every year. Obviously, you have personal relationships with those guys and will miss those guys. You feel like it’s unfortunate sometimes. But that’s the nature of the game. And then you’re happy for them sometimes. They’re gonna have another opportunity somewhere else to do well. Speaking of the guys that left here, I think a bunch of them made a bunch of money going somewhere else too, so it worked out pretty good for some of them.
“As a defensive player, you have to be happy. Those guys are proven in this league, and hopefully they can bring what they’ve done in other places to Philly and hopefully be even better in our system.
“We’ve always know it was Chip’s vision and his culture. So hearing everybody talk about it right now, it doesn’t change from our perspective. We’ve always known it’s Chip’s vision. He’s in charge. It’s his culture. He instilled that in us the first year he was here.”
Cole: “Chip has a plan. He has this big master plan, and we’re not in it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Chip wants to bring in his guys. He wants to bring his guys in there, and that’s how he wants to do things. There’s nothing wrong with change. …Chip’s come in, new coach, starting fresh and new. He’s the coach. They put him there. They paid him to be the coach. And he’s gonna coach, and he’s gonna do what he’s gotta do. You have to respect the man for that. He wants to do what he wants to do. We’re moving on.”
Maclin: “I still believe in Chip. I think Chip’s gonna do great things here. I have the utmost respect for him. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anything worked out, but at the end of the day, I’m very excited about playing for Kansas City and playing for Big Red.
“He’s won 20 games in two years. He took over a team, we were in a tough situation going through a lot of tough things. And he’s had success so far. I think he’s gonna be able to win here. On the back-burner, I’ll be a Philly fan, so I hope they win here.”
Kelce: “Obviously surprised as much as anybody else was. But that’s part of the nature of the business. Everyone I think knew there was a chance we were going to lose Mac in free agency. That’s the way free agency goes, unfortunately. And then the trades, I think Chip and the front office have shown they’re going to try to do anything they can to try to improve the team, improve the salary cap number and everything like that. I guess that’s just the nature of the business. This is the first time I’m kind of really seeing it this much in one offseason.
“I’ll put it this way. It’s kind of been made out in the media where people think Chip’s shooting from the hip or doing things nonchalant. I think that there’s a clear direction, a clear vision from this front office and mainly from Chip where he wants this organization to be and where he wants each player at each position to be. I think that everything is calculated. I think that everything happens for a reason. So I’m still fully on board. And I think that we’re gonna have an outstanding team next year.”
Note: McCoy declined comment.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Keep up with all the pre-draft visits with our prospect tracker.
“I don’t recall seeing such a pit-bullish session in my years covering the meetings.” Philly media does not exactly blend in at owners meetings.
How will the holes be plugged at safety, corner, guard and receiver? Kelly offers some hints.
Ten leftover thoughts on everything that’s happening with the Eagles.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jason La Canfora believes Marcus Mariota is going No. 2.
The Marcus Mariota smokescreens — falling down the draft, all the various knocks on him — will continue. But after spending more time around team executives, including some who have at least a moderate interest in perhaps making a move up to get him, the strong sense I continue to get is he’s not getting past the second overall pick.
Other teams view the Titans as legit trading partners with that pick. Of course, if Tennessee’s asking price is too high, then maybe nothing develops and the Titans just end up picking him. But the price-point is developing at second overall as the idea of trading with the Redskins (at five) or the Jets (at six) doesn’t hold water as a real possibility to get the Oregon quarterback with the people I was talking to.
“He’s going second overall,” said one of the general managers who is paying particular attention to the Mariota market. “I don’t know to which team, but he’s going second overall.”
Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports appreciates’ Kelly’s boldness.
The league needs some personality in the coaching ranks. It needs the occasional unconventional spirit who repeats that he’ll trade anyone on his roster for the right price (which Kelly has said repeatedly). It needs someone who looks a little nutty.
People thought that of Jimmy Johnson once. He was brash, loud and smarter than everybody. You’d almost never corner him into an, “I don’t know,” and he loved making sure you knew that. And trading Herschel Walker became a clear-cut win only over the course of time. But Kelly is right, it showed that more ammunition, more players, more bodies – if selected by the right hand – can alter the landscape of an entire league. It showed that calculated chance can be more valuable than blind sentimentality.
But right now, we know Kelly will swap out roster parts like he’s restocking a shelf at Walmart. He’ll let go of McCoy, Maclin and Foles (among others), and plug in Bradford, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews (among others). He’ll do things his way, with guys who believe in his plan. Most of all, he’ll be happy to solve your $64,000 question. Not because Kelly believes he knows the answer. But because deep down, Chip Kelly believes he is the answer.
We’ll have a post on Ed Marynowitz and more.
Tim McManus contributed to this article.