Little insight from Chung

Posted: August 14, 2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Nobody among the nearly 180 Eagles and Patriots players gathered on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium this week is in a better position to deliver insights about both teams than Patrick Chung.

Unfortunately for us, nobody has less interest in doing so.

Chung played at Oregon when Chip Kelly was there. He played 4 years for the Patriots after they drafted him in the second round in 2009. In 2013, he signed with the Eagles as a free agent, Kelly welcoming him as a familiar player who could bring stability to the Eagles' long-troubled safety position.

Chung was a disaster. Rookie Earl Wolff took over his starting job midway through the season, but then Wolff sustained a knee injury that put Chung back in the lineup for the final six games and the playoff loss to New Orleans.

Released after 364 days with the Birds, Chung went back to New England, where he is, surprisingly enough to Eagles fans, in the running to start.

They never really mentioned Chung by name, but when Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman talked about the importance of signing safety Malcolm Jenkins this spring, they kept emphasizing how they needed somebody who could really take charge back there, and who wouldn't allow opponents to turn missed tackles into big plays.

We still don't know if Chung just wasn't a good fit for Bill Davis' system, if a shoulder injury lingered, or if there was some other reason why he was the biggest disappointment among the players brought in after Kelly arrived. And after practice yesterday, Chung, unfailingly polite, was not about to shed any light.

Was it the scheme, Pat?

"Whatever role you have, you just have to play your role," Chung said. "And whatever role you have on the team, you just got to do that role real good, or it's going to be a rought season for you."

Are you in a more familiar role now?

"I don't know what my role is," Chung said. "Right now, I'm just playing, man, trying to be consistent, and wherever I'm at, whether it be special teams, defense, or just chillin', I gotta respect it, and just keep working hard, trying to get better."

His take on his time in Philly?

"It's a bunch of good guys over there, it's a good locker room," he said. "They're funny guys, very competitive, good coach."

Um, the whole thing about getting benched and ultimately released? You came to the Eagles to be a starter . . .

"Life doesn't go that way, so you've got to keep working," Chung said.

Any thoughts on why?

"No thoughts. I'm here where I want to be, I'm working hard, just like everybody else," he said. "You can't worry about things you can't control . . . Last year is last year, man. I'm worried about today. I could care less about last year. Living in the past is going to bring you down . . . I'm here in the present right now."

Bill lauds Nick

New England coach Bill Belichick was asked yesterday if he'd been surprised that the Eagles made the playoffs in their first year under Chip Kelly.

Belichick said no, that Kelly is a good coach. He also said that "the play they got at quarterback last year was real good. I'm not sure that anybody totally saw that coming, but that was a big part of it. They had a lot of explosive plays."

Camp sights

* Nolan Carroll (hip/groin), Chris Polk (hamstring) and Casey Matthews (back) did not practice. Riley Cooper (foot) was a limited participant. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Cooper was "working his way back."

* Finally saw somebody scramble more slowly than Nick Foles. Tom Brady basically slowed to a shuffle, waiting for the whistle to blow and the ball to be reset.

* Bill Davis mixed subs in with his starters against the Pats' starters, as he'd said he would, with mixed results.

Shurmur speaks

Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was asked about the drops that marred rookie Jordan Matthews' preseason debut.

"We'd like to think it was just a first-game deal. He's trained well all the way through the spring and certainly through training camp. So we're going to anticipate he'll be back out there running routes and catching balls. He's fine . . . I think it was one of those deals where he had some drops and he's just got to get over it and play through it," Shurmur said. "I don't think it's anything too revolutionary."

Asked about the offensive line's performance in the preseason opener, Shurmur said: "I thought we did some good things. Unfortunately what we didn't do well is, we got penalties. And any time you have penalties, you can see what happens to an offensive drive . . . We got knocked back. You couldn't get in a rhythm. You've seen, when we play our best ball, we get a couple good plays and then we get on a roll. We had a couple good plays that were brought back because of penalties, and so then it kind of knocks you out of sync a little bit. Those are things that we can learn from."

On Twitter: @LesBowen


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