August 19, 2015 |
DARREN SPROLES was everything the Eagles hoped he'd be when they picked up the then-30-year-old running back at a garage sale in New Orleans last year for a fifth-round pick. He led the league in punt returns with a 13.0-yard average. He had a career-high six rushing touchdowns and registered the second-highest rushing average of his career (5.8 yards per carry). Went to his very first Pro Bowl. Interestingly, the one thing he didn't really do was have much of an effect on the Eagles' passing game.
August 14, 2015 |
JASON PETERS showed up for Eagles training camp with a new body and a renewed determination to prove that, at 33, he still is one of the two or three best left tackles in football. The seven-time Pro Bowler weighs 320 pounds, which is the lightest he's been since making the switch from tight end to offensive tackle in his second NFL season. That's about 25 pounds below what he played at last season. "Three forty-five is what I've always played at," Peters said. "Since my first year starting at offensive line.
August 12, 2015 |
AS IT TURNS OUT, it really is about creating a culture; an inclusive culture. Unless it's on his terms, Chip Kelly doesn't seem interested in that. Over the past five months, an astounding amount of energy has been spent trying to disprove the observations of three Eagles who, at the risk of their own ruin, said they believe Chip Kelly has a problem with black men. Predictably, what each of them said was amplified by the sensitive nature of the subject. Predictably, there was a massive rush to disprove it, and thereby make everyone's life less prickly.
August 9, 2015 |
NORMALLY, I am a big fan of the show "First Take" on ESPN2. You might wonder how I can watch a show that airs from 10 a.m. to noon, given my work schedule. The answer is that it is replayed late at night, and I often watch it before I go to bed. This past Monday, I was in Los Angeles watching the late-night replay when I heard Stephen A. Smith, whom I know very well and like, go on a rant about Brandon Boykin's statement concerning Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Stephen A. went almost as far as calling Chip a racist before he finally backed down.
August 8, 2015 |
Ryan Mathews was still out of breath 10 minutes after practice had ended. Chip Kelly's up-tempo workouts will do that to first-timers, but Mathews' workload may have increased slightly with DeMarco Murray's absence. Murray sat out team drills Sunday because of dehydration, and on Thursday an illness sidelined the Eagles' prized acquisition. Mathews, meanwhile, has plugged along under the radar, and would have dashed into the locker room unnoticed had a reporter not flagged him down.
August 7, 2015 |
During an on-field brawl in 2009, a black running back had dropped a white linebacker to the blue turf of Boise State's Albertsons Stadium with a single brutal punch, and one game into his head coaching career at Oregon, Chip Kelly had a crisis to confront. LeGarrette Blount - Oregon's star running back, 6 feet and 235 pounds of coiled muscle - had cracked Boise State's Byron Hout in the jaw, both of them fortunate that Blount had delivered no lasting damage to Hout's face. Kelly initially suspended Blount for the rest of that season, but he soon began to wonder whether the punishment was too severe.
August 6, 2015 |
Two years have passed since Chip Kelly made the decision to keep Riley Cooper after a video showed the Eagles receiver shouting a racial slur at a concert, but the incident is still raised whenever the topic of Kelly and race is discussed. It's still a topic two years later, because two former members of the organization - running back LeSean McCoy and coaching assistant Tra Thomas - made references this offseason to race as an issue in the Eagles locker room. Then, cornerback Brandon Boykin, after his trade on Saturday, told Comcast SportsNet reporter Derrick Gunn that Kelly "is uncomfortable around grown men of our culture.
August 5, 2015 |
CHIP KELLY does not appear to make DeMarco Murray uncomfortable. "I just do as I'm told," the running back said yesterday when asked why his reps were limited on the first day of training camp. Kelly does not appear to make DeMeco Ryans uncomfortable. "However they use me, it'll work out," the linebacker said yesterday when asked about the potential of losing snaps to new acquisition Kiko Alonso. Kelly does not appear to make Malcolm Jenkins uncomfortable. "At the end of the day, if you don't like your working environment, then you can always quit," the safety said.
August 4, 2015 |
BY THE TIME Brandon Boykin starting taking back his inflammatory comments, another hit to Chip Kelly's reputation already had been soundly delivered. Instead of questions about becoming the newest Pittsburgh defensive back, the former Eagles cornerback was peppered yesterday at Steelers training camp with questions about why he had hinted that the Eagles traded him on Saturday because Kelly was "uncomfortable around grown men" of African-American culture. Boykin tried to clarify that he was not calling Kelly racist when he texted Comcast SportNet reporter Derrick Gunn with his comments.
July 31, 2015 |
THE OBJECTS of change are largely unblemished or have the best of handlers at their sides. Chip Kelly, the agent of change, seized power in January then gutted a team that, in 2014, won 10 games and finished a whisker behind a wild-card spot; gutted it to the degree that more than 45 percent of the starting lineup will be new this season. That's 10 of the top 22 players. Eight of those 10 players were part of the 10-win playoff team in 2013, Kelly's first season. The number could grow to be higher than 10. Nothing guarantees that extraordinary blockers Riley Cooper and Brent Celek will retain their starting jobs, considering their diminished production levels.