Peter King Q&A: “Chip Kelly Will Admit That Is An Issue”

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Peter King has been to 16 different training camps so far this offseason. T-Mac and I have been to one. So the MMQB Editor-in-Chief is one of the best people to compare the Eagles to other teams across the league. He visited NovaCare today and we asked him about their playoff chances, the team’s biggest question marks and more.

What did you think about Sam Bradford today?

“What I thought was really interesting about Bradford is that he’s not playing with a brace. I asked him about it and he goes, ‘Hey, I got hurt with a brace on it so why should I use the brace? It didn’t help me stay healthy so I’m not going to use the brace anymore.’ I thought Bradford was efficient. I was impressed mechanically with Tim Tebow; he looked different, he looked smoother. Sanchez had a beautiful deep throw today; Barkley looked good too. It’s all going to come down to how they play in the preseason games, but it looks like they could have an interesting choice at quarterback.”

How good is their secondary, particularly after the Brandon Boykin trade?

“What it comes down to is being able to find a good nickel. They’re okay with Maxwell and Carroll and it’s important now to find cornerback depth in this training camp. But this is the 16th team I’ve seen so far this summer and honestly, the cornerback depth is not great around the NFL. I don’t think it’s all that surprising that these guys choose to trade a guy who didn’t have a very good year last year and now are fighting to find another one. It’s going to come down to whether they can defend against Eli Manning, Tony Romo and some of the other really good quarterbacks on their schedule.”

How good will DeMarco Murray be this year after carrying the ball almost 400 times last season?

“Chip Kelly will admit that is an issue. He reads the history. He understands that the year after a guy runs the ball as much as Murray did that you’ve got a chance to burn out a little bit. That’s why they got Ryan Mathews. It’s a calculated risk. It’s probably riskier, to me, than Sam Bradford, but with Mathews being insurance, he’s not going to run DeMarco Murray 350 times.”

What did you see from Nelson Agholor today?

“He’s really, really quick. Really quick. He’s perfect for a Chip offense. He’s a versatile guy, got very good hands. That was a fantastic pick, especially where they got him. Even though a lot of people [called him] a second round draft pick, I didn’t think so.”

What about Jordan Matthews?

“I love Jordan Matthews. He’s one of these guys in the new football today where all these receivers are so big. You go to Tampa, and Jameis Winston is throwing to three guys 6’5″. He fits the mold of what’s happening in the NFL today: huge catch radius, very athletic. Jordan Matthews is going to be a top-20 receiver for as long as he’s healthy.”

With Evan Mathis’ departure, how will the Eagles’ offensive line hold up this year?

“I’d worry about it. That and cornerback depth is probably the thing I’d be most worried about. And the health of the quarterback. But two-thirds of the teams I’ve visited so far have significant offensive line issues, so it’s not that rare. The rarity in football would be to have no holes at this time of year; everybody’s got holes. And it isn’t just the right guard. To me, you have to worry about depth on the line. One of the biggest misconceptions in football right now is that Chip Kelly is going to want to pass it 50 times a game. He doesn’t. He’s going to want to run it 50 times a game. As important as keeping the quarterback upright is finding a good, mashing group of offensive linemen who can make sure the holes stay open in the running game.”

Who do you think will win the NFC East this year?

“I got to make a choice between the Eagles and the Cowboys. I haven’t seen the Cowboys; I’m going out there next week. I like the Eagles a lot; I ranked them higher in the preseason than the Cowboys, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of ifs here. Sam Bradford, you would say, ‘I think he can stay healthy. There’s no reason to think he can’t.’ But he has to do it. They’re clearly one or two in this division and they got a heck of a chance to make the playoffs.”