Eagles Wake Up Call: SI On Chip Kelly

Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu / USA TODAY Sports

Greg Bedard’s piece on Chip Kelly for Sports Illustrated is now available online. It contains some good nuggets and is worth a read if you haven’t checked it out yet.

Here’s what stood out to us:

— We know well by now that Kelly puts an emphasis on measurables. Bedard dug up some specifics.

Kelly would like to have defensive ends that measure at least 6’ 6″ (seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik, out of Boston College, stands 6’ 9″), and he wants stout nosetackles. The most important characteristic? Knees with a circumference of at least 18 inches—an identifier of guys who are built solidly in the lower body and thus, the Eagles believe, less susceptible to injuries. At outside linebacker he wants long-armed players who, above all else, can set the edge in the running game; the ability to rush the passer from this position is very much secondary. And Kelly wants to man his secondary with tall, long cornerbacks because he runs a scheme similar to that of the Seahawks’ physical Cover Three. The Eagles didn’t give a sniff to elite shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis in free agency because they have no use for shutdown corners in their scheme. They much prefer having the length to disrupt passing lanes.

Kapadia and I, sadly, fall just shy of the knee circumference cutoff. The dream has been dashed. Good job by Bedard getting those particulars. I can’t get behind his assertions that an outside linebacker’s ability to rush the passer is secondary or that the Eagles “have no use” for shutdown corners, though. Pressure from the edge is paramount, and there’s not a system in the world that wouldn’t benefit from having a shutdown corner.

— In the piece, former Cowboys exec Gil Brandt compares Kelly to Jimmy Johnson. 

“Jimmy realized that you could replace a Herschel with a near-Herschel and still be pretty good,” former Cowboys personnel exec Gil Brandt says of the old Dallas coach. “Chip realizes the same thing, and he has an eye on the cap. This guy didn’t come in on the turnip truck. He was talking to NFL people, picking their brains, getting ready for this for a long time. He’s a lot more tuned in to personnel than people know.”

— One of the more interesting angles touched on is how Kelly’s methods shot up the ranks before he did. The Ducks pulled from Kelly’s playbook while he was still the coach at New Hampshire. And the Patriots began utilizing one-word play calls to enhance their up-tempo attack after consulting with Kelly while he was at Oregon.

New England started to install Kelly’s system in 2011, with mixed results. By ’12, the Patriots had six one-word calls at their disposal. They used those sparingly until Week 5 of that year, when they unleashed them against Denver. The Broncos were in complete disarray as the Patriots raced out to a 31–7 lead. New England ran 89 offensive plays (then the second most in team history) and made a franchise-record 35 first downs. Chip Kelly, it seemed, had arrived in the NFL before he even got there. A little more than three months later, Lurie hired him as the Eagles’ coach.

To read the story in full, click here.


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Geoff Mosher says there’s more than meets the eye to the hiring of former Dolphins executive Chris Shea.

If Shea’s multifaceted background and near three decades of front office experience sound to you like general manager material, now you’re putting two and two together.

Because despite the company line coming from Kelly about Roseman’s continued value and input, sources say the frost between the Kelly-Marynowitz tandem and the team’s executive vice president of football operations hasn’t thawed any this spring…

Shea’s addition arms Kelly and Marynowitz with an ally who speaks their scouting/analytics language, someone who can provide valuation and evaluation input and also be the buffer between Kelly-Marynowitz and Roseman on contract matters. And if Roseman eventually decides to show himself the exit, Shea could perform the cap and contract duties that Kelly and Marynowitz aren’t trained to handle.

Sam Bradford has not been participating in team drills so far this week, per Jeff McLane.

Mark Sanchez, who re-upped with the Eagles days before the Bradford trade, has been handling quarterback duties with the first-team offense.

The Eagles probably expected as much. Bradford is only nine months removed from tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second time in less than a year, and with the start of the season 31/2 months away, there isn’t a need to rush his recovery…

He threw during individual drills when Phase 2 of spring workouts began May 4.

Bradford impressed Eagles receivers with his arm strength, but he didn’t participate in practices the following week, according to league sources. It was unclear whether he suffered a setback or that a break was part of his rehabilitation.

Our first glimpse of the 2015 Eagles. We’ll speak to to Kelly at noon prior to practice.