Notes: Chip And the Offensive Line
In the oft-referenced presentation Chip Kelly gave at the NIKE coaches clinic back in 2009, the head coach declared: “The five offensive linemen are the key to your football team.”
Considering how much he values the run game and offense overall, it’s unlikely that he left that philosophy behind at Oregon. And yet his actions have done little to back that philosophy up since arriving in Philadelphia.
The Eagles did use the No. 4 overall pick on Lane Johnson during Kelly’s first year with the team. However, they have made 20 draft selections since then spanning three years, and not one has been an o-lineman.
“I mean, I just think it unfolds the way it unfolds,” said Kelly. “When you pick, there are probably a couple guys that go a couple picks before you that you’re, ‘Jeez I wish that guy was there. If he was there, he’s probably rated higher than the guy we had.’ But, when we look at the draft itself, we are always just kind of going all the way down. And as the names get picked, you take them off and then you look at them and just say, ‘Who is the best available?’
Kelly said that he felt the offensive line depth coming into the season was good, “but I also don’t think you can take players just for the sake of taking players.”
He noted that the team did not have any offensive linemen on their board that carried third-round grades in this past draft, so instead of reaching they went with the top-rated guy on their board, which turned out to be Jordan Hicks. While that is certainly a good example of why you don’t chase need, it is still pretty remarkable that the stars haven’t aligned since the Johnson pick to where they felt comfortable pulling the trigger on a big man.
As for deciding to lay low in free agency this offseason, Kelly said the price tag was more than they were willing to spend for the available players. (The top guard, Mike Iupati, got a five-year, $40 million deal with $22.5 million guaranteed from the Cardinals, for reference.)
That explanation makes some sense as well. But that doesn’t do anything to change the situation. The Eagles decided to part with both of their starting guards from last year, their cornerstone left tackle is 33 years old and yet little has been done in the way of adding reinforcements. With Peters ailing and Matt Tobin stepping in at right guard for Andrew Gardner this week, offensive line remains a top storyline heading into the Washington game.
Anatomy of an okie doke
Connor Barwin‘s fake-out move on Jets guard James Carpenter got a lot of play on social media this week. Here it is in case you haven’t seen it (or want to see it again):
Turns out, Barwin wasn’t just free-styling.
“I’ve done it before. It usually doesn’t work that well, but I’ve done it in practice a lot,” said Barwin. “So BG [Brandon Graham] kind of told me that 77 was being a little over-aggressive and really trying to go help too fast D’Brickashaw [Ferguson] on the outside so I was like, ‘Alright, this will work perfectly.’ So I lined up over him, kind of turned my head like I was looking at my coverage and then turned back around and he had done exactly what BG said, had kind of taken off. The other guard went and helped as well and Vinny [Curry] took the center so the thing just kind of parted perfectly.”
Think Barwin will keep that one, which he calls the “coffee house”, in his bag of tricks.
Gruden “lukewarm” on DeSean’s chances
Jay Gruden didn’t sound overly optimistic about having DeSean Jackson available for Sunday’s game.
“He did not practice today,” said Gruden. “My expectations are I don’t know, lukewarm on him. Hopeful but not counting on it I guess.”
Gruden noted that the offense has not generated a play of over 40 yards with Jackson out of the lineup.
“With DeSean, I think he had 16 or something like that on his own last year. We haven’t been getting the big play, and he’s the reason why.”
As for the Eagles, Riley Cooper (knee) and Chris Maragos (quad) did not practice Wednesday. Taylor Hart (shoulder), Josh Huff (hamstring), DeMarco Murray (hamstring), Jason Peters (quad) and Cedric Thornton (hand) were limited. Mychal Kendricks participated in full.