Today, Chip Kelly was asked if his familiarity with the former Ducks can help him build his program with the Eagles.
“If we were gonna sing the Oregon fight song, it would,” Kelly joked.
Chip Kelly is big on versatility. That is no secret. It has been the big buzzword since he took office. He wants his starters to be malleable, and he insists that his reserves are capable of performing multiple duties.
“When you only have 46 guys active on game day, you’ve got to have versatility in your non‑starters, because there’s just not enough numbers,” Kelly explained. “If you’re two deep at every position, you know, that’s 44 excluding specialists. And at some positions, you’re going to carry a third, a third running back, so where does that spot come from? It’s got to come from somewhere.”
By 6 p.m. Saturday, the Eagles have to cut 22 players and get their roster down to 53. Many of the bubble guys will get a chance to make one final impression Thursday night, as Chip Kelly acknowledged there’s still “a lot up in the air.”
New offensive scheme, new defensive scheme, new coaching staff and new personnel. Kelly’s moves this weekend will tell us a lot about his roster-building philosophy. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 players whose future with the franchise hangs in the balance as we approach cut-down day.
Eagles linebacker Jason Phillips went down today with a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the 2013 season.
The 27-year-old was added as a free agent this offseason, in large part for his special-teams prowess. Phillips led the Carolina Panthers last year with 16 special-teams tackles. Today’s injury occurred during a kickoff coverage drill.
Phillips figured to add depth behind DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, but the Eagles will now have to look elsewhere for that.
Casey Matthews cut off his locks and is sporting a fresh new look. Time to change things up, he said.
That has pretty much been the mantra of the Eagles this offseason. The organization — the city — is dizzy with all the alterations Chip Kelly is making. What is foreign to most, though, feels quite familiar to the former Duck linebacker.
There were varying degrees of willingness to talk about the Todd Bowles/Juan Castillo shake-up in the Eagles’ locker room Monday. Jason Babin, for example, has never been more skittish about a subject in his two years in Philadelphia. Others forced you to read between the lines.
There were a few revealing moments, however.
The biggest one came from backup linebacker Casey Matthews, who relayed Bowles’ message to the defense upon taking the reins.
“The biggest thing he said is, ‘We’re not going to predictable anymore.’ That’s what Coach said,” Matthews revealed, the obvious implication being that the ‘D’ was predictable under Castillo.
Andy Reid on Wednesday said that, assuming health, Akeem Jordan is his starting weakside linebacker. Jordan missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but is expected to be a go against Detroit this Sunday.
What is Plan B?
“We’ll just see. We have a variety of choices there because all those guys play all the positions, depending on that situation,” Reid said.
Jamar Chaney started at WILL in Jordan’s absence with mixed results. Reid did not commit to Chaney being the backup there this week. That leaves open the possibility that Casey Matthews is in the mix.