Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly Calls On Day, Again
Ryan Day played quarterback for Chip Kelly when the coach was in full-out mad scientist mode. Serving as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator at the time, Kelly rotated offensive systems in and out at a dizzying pace as he searched for the perfect concoction. Day was the signal-caller in the middle of the whirlwind.
“At that time, we were changing offenses every week. We would go from Run ‘n Shoot to the Wing-T to the Veer. One week we threw it six times, the next week we threw it 65 times,” Day recalled. “Coach kind of had a laboratory there, and it was a lot of fun to be around.”
So much fun that Day found it hard to pull himself away — much to the detriment of his grade point average.
“Coach used to laugh: when I was in college, in the spring I would get like a 3.0 but in the fall I would be around a 1.5,” he said. “I used to spend pretty much the whole fall in there listening to the meetings, listening to some of the game-planning and kind of learning how that went, which is kind of why I became a coach. I just liked it and I got around Coach and he made it exciting for me. Maybe without that, I wouldn’t have gotten into coaching.”
Kelly gave Day his first gig, making him New Hampshire’s tight ends coach following his senior year. His career path since has led him from Boston to Philly and back again a couple times over. A grad assistant at Boston College (2003-04) and Florida (’05), Day was hired as Temple’s wide receivers coach in ’06. He left for the same position at BC and remained there for five years before heading back to Philadelphia to become the Owls’ offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach in ’12. Then it was back to BC, where he served as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach before Kelly scooped him up this offseason to coach the Eagles’ QBs. Day had been following Kelly’s career from afar and enjoyed watching the evolution of his offense as he took it from New Hampshire to Oregon and then to the NFL. With connections to both the city and the Eagles coaching staff, he viewed this as the right time and opportunity to move his young family.
The quarterback picture has been altered quite a bit since Day was first brought on board. He found out about the Sam Bradford acquisition through Kelly, who called him to deliver the news.
“You’re excited because you know that this is a guy that is really, really talented,” he said. “What a great opportunity him coming here into this offense, coming off a couple injuries to come in and have a breakout year. Just being able to be a part of it and try to help him get better every day, it’s an exciting opportunity.”
What has held Bradford back from reaching elite status to this point?
“I think it really has been [injury]. When you’ve had the season-ending injuries he’s had, it’s hard to kinda put the foot on the pedal and roll. So I think sky’s the limit for him that way.”
Kelly’s system has been generally kind to quarterbacks and coaches alike. Both of the QB coaches that preceded Day — Bill Lazor (Miami) and Bill Musgrave (Oakland) — landed offensive coordinator jobs after just one season in the role. The 36-year-old Day said that did not factor into his thinking when taking the job.
“I know that I’m loyal to Coach and Coach has been ultra-loyal to me, and I’m going to work as hard as I can for him and for the organization,” he said. “You just never know how things play out in this crazy business, but I’d like to be here as long as they’ll keep me.”
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Phil Sheridan weighs in on the John Moffitt signing.
Moffit also has another advantage. The Eagles already had Tobin and Gardner on the roster when they decided to seek more help. They tried to sign Chris Chester, a former starter who was released by Washington. Chester signed in Atlanta. When Moffit announced he was returning to the NFL after his 2013 retirement, the Eagles pursued him.
That all suggests that after watching Tobin and Gardner through organized team activities and a minicamp, Chip Kelly and his staff weren’t confident they had a replacement for Todd Herremans at right guard. So Moffitt will report to training camp on Aug. 2 with a legitimate chance to win the starting job. He might even be considered the favorite.
Over at PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Bo Wulf writes about Jaylen Watkins‘ chances of making the jump in Year 2.
As someone bouncing between positions in the secondary, Watkins’ partner at safety is a player to emulate. Jenkins, after all, was a cornerback when he first entered the NFL.
“We’re very similar players,” said the 5-11, 194-pound Watkins. “He’s much bigger (Jenkins is 6-0, 204), but as far as our skill set, we’re pretty much the same player, as far as knowledge about the game, we’re pretty much the same player, so we have a lot in common. We do talk a lot. (When) we were on the field together, it was good to actually be out there with someone who actually understands you and the way you play.”
Watkins has also taken well to new secondary coach Cory Undlin.
“Everything in our meeting room on the wall is about technique and he’s always talking about how technique overrides talent and he has us all believing that,” Watkins said of Undlin. “It’s just amazing to see all of us putting so much emphasis on our technique and you actually watch the film and you look like a totally different player because the emphasis is on technique.”
We’re now a month out from the start of camp.