Twitter Mailbag: What Does A Chip Kelly Defense Look Like?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @russman30: Any idea if they will sign Felix Jones? I guess they do need a vet behind McCoy. Last yr McCoy was injured.

The Eagles believe Felix Jones is a solid player, and were doing due diligence by bringing him in. Nothing imminent as of last night, but I think they would consider adding him if the price is right.  Jones is visiting with New England today.

It looks like Chip Kelly wants to build some competition at the running back position. The Eagles signed a pair of undrafted free-agent backs in Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet and TCU’s Matt Tucker, then took a look at Jones. That’s not to say that he is unhappy with the LeSean McCoy-Bryce Brown-Chris Polk triumvirate. But this is an offense that will lean on the ground game. Oregon ran the ball an average of 53 times per game last season under Kelly. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 attempts. De’Anthony Thomas carried the ball 92 times; Byron Marshall 87. It’s not enough to have a premiere back in this system. You need multiple reliable options.

From @jkh_76: will this new offense help mike vick play an entire season at 2010 level?

I recently wrote about the challenges that face Vick in a Chip Kelly offense. I’m not only curious about whether he can play an entire season at the 2010 level (a lofty goal, no doubt), but whether he can play an entire season, period. He has appeared in no more than 13 games in a season since joining the Eagles, and has played in all 16 games just once in his career (2006).

With all the read-option talk, you wonder if Vick’s 33-year-old body can absorb all the blows. But according to the quarterback, Kelly’s system will not open him up to much punishment at all.

“You’ll understand why when you see us practice or when you see us play,” he said. “You don’t have to take a hit.”

There is an argument to be made that Vick will actually end up on his back less under Kelly than he did Andy Reid. Where Reid designed plays that often took time to develop, Kelly seems intent on getting the ball out quickly. But can he really avoid taking hits in read-option situations? I’m anxious to see how it all works.

From @MacStewie: Does Dixon have a realistic chance at getting the starting job?

No sir, I do not believe he does.

From @PHLFour: We’ve heard a lot about Kelly’s offense, but what is his defensive philosophy? Score the most points? Leave it to the D Cord?

Kelly prefers the 3-4. More specifically, a hybrid 3-4. That’s what he used at Oregon, and that’s what you can expect come September. He explained his defensive philosophy at his introductory press conference.

“In terms of what we want to be, we’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game,” he said. “I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”

Kelly has a scheme and style preference, but that’s about where he leaves it. He is not into micromanagement, and will let Billy Davis steer the ‘D’.

“When I was an offensive coordinator, I was fortunate that the two head coaches that I coached for allowed me to work,” said Kelly. “We’ll have discussions during the week about where we’re going with things, but on game day, those guys have to be able to not worry about who is second guessing them and who is over their shoulder. If I do have to second guess them and I do have to look over their shoulder, then I hired the wrong person.”

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