What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says Chip Kelly’s moves have not been as unconventional as some might have you believe:
The Eagles traded Foles, a 2015 fourth-round pick and a 2016 second-rounder to St. Louis for Sam Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round choice. Why throw in the second-rounder next year? Because talented quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall carry value even when there are strikes against them. When Kansas City acquired Alex Smith from San Francisco in 2013, the Chiefs gave up a second-round pick that year (34th overall) and a conditional second-rounder in 2014. In 2011, Oakland sent a 2012 first-rounder and a conditional 2013 second-rounder to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer. Both quarterbacks were No. 1 picks.
Jeremy Maclin talks Kelly, via SI.com’s Don Banks:
“It was fine and I have nothing bad to say about Chip,” Maclin said. “Everybody knows Chip likes to do things a certain way, which is fine. He’s in control. My relationship with him is fine. As a matter of fact, Chip texted me a couple days ago, so we’re fine. I don’t get into all that. Now, Boykin’s relationship with Chip is different than mine. It’s not my place to say anything about that. My relationship with him was fine, and he texted me the other days, saying ‘Good luck, you’re a beast.’ I texted him back saying, ‘Good luck, Coach. Hope you all do well.’”
Kelly talked to Albert Breer of NFL Network about his ex-wife:
“She’s awesome,” Kelly said of ex-wife Jennifer Jenkins. “She’s a good person. And I was married for a while. And I never tried to hide that — it was in the University of New Hampshire media guide, just like it always was. And I was never asked the question before. No one ever said that, so I don’t know why it’s a revelation. Not a revelation to me. Everybody in my life — my family, my parents, her family, my girlfriend now — they all know what my life is all about. I’m not a People Magazine or an US Magazine guy.”
To a large degree, though, the NFL has embraced that idea of football-as-soap-opera.
Kelly can’t stop it. But he can choose not to participate.
“I have a very bland, quiet life,” he said. “There’s not a lot there. And I’m not hiding anything, either. There’s no revelations. You wanna talk football? I’ll talk football. That’s my job.”
Ashley Fox of ESPN.com caught up with cornerback Byron Maxwell:
As for living up to his contract, Maxwell said that no one will put more expectations on him than he will.
“Whatever ya’ll are talking about, yeah that’s fine, but this is me,” Maxwell said. “This is what drives me, and it has nothing to do with everybody else. This is what I feel like I want to do. It’s me. So yeah, it’s pressure, but what I put on myself is nothing. What are ya’ll, what’s everyone else thinking? I’m like, ‘Whatever. I have to do it.'”
Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB says Sam Bradford has more work to do than any other NFL player:
I think it’s hard to imagine an NFL player with more work to do in training camp than Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. On Sunday, just 43 days before Philadelphia’s season opener, he took off the brace on his left knee and did his first 11-on-11 work since tearing his left ACL for the second time last August. In 43 days, he has to shake off nearly a year’s worth of rust, become comfortable directing a new offense and build up the endurance required to run Chip Kelly’s up-tempo system.
Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report talked to Joe Banner among others about Kelly and the Eagles:
The Eagles’ offseason transactions flew in the face of both conventional wisdom and the football management survival instinct. A new coach on a rebuilding team might swap quarterbacks, running backs, and much more to jump-start his regime. But coaches of 10-win teams are hardwired to keep the team intact for 10 more wins so everyone stays employed. Gamble big and lose big, and the house goes on the market, the kids get pulled out of school, and everyone’s careers go (at best) sideways.
“The conventional wisdom in the league is: ‘No, no, you can’t have this much change.’ I personally don’t agree with that,” Banner said. “I think if you have the right coach, he should be able to manage the cultural challenges. If you have the right position coaches, they should be teaching well enough to get them ready.”
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com weighs in on Bradford:
We don’t care if Bradford was accurate in the first few days of practice. Just being on the field without restrictions is a huge victory for his rehabilitation.
It would be strange if he looked sharp in his first full-team workouts in a year, especially in a new system. Chip Kelly sent a message by giving Bradford all the first-team reps to open camp, and most of the reps on day two. This isn’t a true competition. Barring a setback, which is always on the table with Bradford, it doesn’t look like this will be a true competition with Mark Sanchez.
Doug Farrar of SI.com says the Eagles have the No. 8 offensive line in the NFL:
Right guard Todd Herremans was also cut in Kelly’s drastic off-season roster purge, leaving the projected starters at guard as Allen Barbre on the left side and Matt Tobin on the right, a duo with 15 combined starts. Right tackle Lane Johnson developed pretty well after his four-game PED suspension to start the season, but this line will continue to rest on the excellence of left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce. Worth watching: Peters gave up one sack in each of the last three games of the 2014 season.
Robert Klemko of The MMQB offers his thoughts on Kelly:
I think Chip Kelly opened himself up to the kind of public scrutiny he’s facing now—jettisoned cornerback Brandon Boykin told CSN Philly he believed Kelly to be uncomfortable with “men of our culture” and former Philly running back LeSean McCoy said the head coach “got rid of all the good black players”—and I don’t think any of it is remotely fair. His decision to retain documented hate-speech user Riley Cooper, coupled with the secrecy with which he runs the organization, makes him a target. But I’m convinced Kelly’s roster moves are the mark of a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to raze a roster in a hurry to get there, not a racist. I think there’s also some truth to the notion Kelly’s decisions are colored by his career experience managing powerless amateurs as opposed to millionaire pro athletes.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com says the Eagles have the second most improved backfield in the NFL, behind the Buffalo Bills:
It is uncommon for a team to jettison a former rushing champ … and improve its ground attack. But that is indeed the case in Philadelphia. After facing harsh criticism from many observers for trading away LeSean McCoy, the Eagles landed a pair of downhill runners (DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews) ideally suited to play in Chip Kelly’s spread system. Murray, in particular, is a workmanlike runner between the tackles, displaying superb balance, body control and vision on inside runs. Additionally, Murray is a terrific pass catcher adept at making plays on screens and check-downs. Although Mathews isn’t as accomplished as a runner, he is an electric playmaker on the perimeter with soft hands and superb receiving skills. At the end of the day, both newcomers employ a north-south running style that fits Kelly’s scheme, while McCoy is shiftier in his approach.
John Breech of CBSSports.com says only eight teams have an easier path to the Super Bowl than the Eagles:
Someone in the scheduling office must like Chip Kelly. The Eagles get three of their final four games at home. Also, Philly gets one of its biggest games of the season (at Dallas) coming off a bye. Strength of schedule: 23. Las Vegas strength of schedule: 17. First four games: 25. Avg. rating: 21.67. Overall difficulty: 24.)