July 23, 2013 |
If you're to believe Chip Kelly, every job on the Eagles is for the taking. Kelly's refusal to name even his starting quarterback heading into his first NFL training camp suggests, most important, that he believes it himself. Sure, the new Eagles coach had a template in the spring for his starting offense and defense that reflected the conventional wisdom at most of the positions. But Kelly knows as well as anyone that practice in pads and games against actual opponents ultimately will separate the able from the incapable.
July 19, 2013 |
KEY POSITION battles, other than quarterback: 1. Safety: Nate Allen and Patrick Chung seem the most likely starters, but Kenny Phillips could unseat either of them if his oft-repaired knee holds up. Brian Dawkins recently noted that Allen is the Eagles' most talented safety, but that his play is inconsistent. And he could be healthier. 2. Offensive line: We've all decided that first-round rookie Lane Johnson is going to start at right tackle. We'll see if Chip Kelly agrees, when camp is complete.
June 7, 2013 |
THE COACH who drafted him is gone. The defensive system he was brought in to play is history. Vinny Curry has every right to be worried right now, every right to be sucking down anti-depressants as if they were Jujyfruits. But he's not. "The way I look at it," the Eagles' second-year defensive end said, "I've been to the bottom of the barrel already. The only place to go from here is up. " A year ago at this time, the bottom of the barrel wasn't a place the Neptune, N.J., native ever expected to be, particulary in his first NFL season.
May 24, 2013 |
IT'S LATE MAY and we're bored and impatient. The Monday night season opener against the Redskins still is 3 1/2 months away, but we want answers. Now. We want to know who the Eagles' starting quarterback will be. We want to know when the hotshot first-round offensive tackle will start taking snaps with the first team. We want to know how much they will run the ball and how much they will pass it. We want to know what Chip Kelly is putting in those damn smoothies. We want to know whether Danny Watkins is a dead man walking.
May 24, 2013 |
Part Seven of an online-only series Here is a look at the Eagles pass rushers. Projected first team: Connor Barwin (6-foot-4, 260 pounds), age 26, 5th season Trent Cole (6-3, 270), 30, 9th I'm a bit surprised the Eagles don't have more outside pass rushers on the roster or that they didn't go out and get more outside linebackers with experience playing in a 3-4. Coach Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman were limited to some degree because they can't move former defensive ends Cole and Brandon Graham.
May 23, 2013 |
IN HIS HUGE OFFICE, early in these spring mornings, ol' Chippah must be chuckling. He has the whole region chasing its tail, like some strung-out Pac-12 defense without the sense to just play soft until the red zone. Who will be the quarterback? Will the rookie right tackle start over that huge Hanson brother lookalike? Can Trent Cole play without his hand in the ground after eight seasons? Can Brandon Graham get a break? Who's going to return punts? Jason Avant's going to be a safety?
May 22, 2013 |
After closing time at Club Chipper, the hot new dance spot in South Philadelphia, the patrons clear out pretty fast. They have to exit via a hallway lined with blowups of newspaper pages celebrating great moments in Eagles history - if you define Eagles history as things that happened since the NovaCare Complex opened in 2001. What is striking is how ancient that history is beginning to feel. To many of the players leaving Chip Kelly's aerobics/football class Monday, the names and faces on the walls are those of strangers.
May 17, 2013 |
ON MONDAY, when reporters first watched the Eagles practice under Chip Kelly, among the stranger sights was a rep that featured Trent Cole crouching, his hands held at hip level, as he lined up across from slot receiver Jason Avant. So far, much of what has been written and said about the Eagles under Kelly concerns the offense. That's understandable, given that Kelly's offensive theories are why he got the job. The offense is why practice is run at such a hectic pace. But new defensive coordinator Billy Davis' unit is making an equally huge adjustment; maybe a bigger one, given that there figure to be more new defensive starters in 2013 than new offensive starters.
May 15, 2013 |
It happens with every coaching change. Long-standing players from the previous regime don't match up well with the new system and are phased out. Former defensive ends Trent Cole and Brandon Graham are doing and saying everything to fit in and stick around - and they are likely here for the season - but it's difficult to see either as a long-term solution once the Eagles move to a new defensive scheme. Chip Kelly and Bill Davis aren't exactly there yet. The new Eagles coach and his defensive coordinator still are evaluating and constructing a system that will emphasize the skill set of their players, especially on the front seven.
April 19, 2013 |
THE OFFENSIVE line arrayed in front of Michael Vick this week at Chip Kelly's first minicamp might look pretty different from the group that takes the field next month, when the team again assembles. The Eagles hold the fourth overall pick in the April 25-27 NFL draft, and with three offensive tackles expected to go in the top 10, plus a couple of guards, the veterans on the line could soon be welcoming to their group the highest-drafted Eagle since Donovan McNabb arrived (accompanied by boos, local legend holds)