The First Training Camp

Posted: July 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 17 Comments »

Chip Kelly’s first Training Camp will start Monday when rookies report. We’re all curious about what will happen. Chip is a new coach and a coach’s first TC can be interesting.

Rich Hoffman wrote a great piece today on camps under Dick Vermeil, Buddy Ryan, Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid.

Make sure you read this. It is full of great stories.

Vermeil was trying to turn around a franchise that was losing every year. Buddy was trying to put his imprint on the team, and to a lesser extent, the whole city. Rhodes was trying to undo the Kotite years. Reid was trying to lay the foundation for a football program. More than the others, Reid saw the big picture and wanted to plan for the long run.

Kelly has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t have grandiose plans like those coaches. Maybe Kelly does have those ideas and is simply deflecting from the media getting too caught up in that. Or maybe Chip is trying to keep his plans simple.

We know that Kelly does see the big picture. He’s using technology like never before. He’s focusing on nutrition and sleep in ways that no other Eagles coach has. His practices could be mistaken for Ozzfest, with all the activity going on and the barrage of loud music. Kelly may simply see Training Camp as an extension of what he’s already started. The other coaches used it as a way to set the tone for their tenure. Kelly may have already set the tone with his changes and innovative ideas that were implemented in the spring.

It does seem like Kelly has the attention of the players already. He didn’t do it in an overly aggressive way, but rather by making so many changes, in terms of scheme and the way things are done. The Eagles ran the 4-3 defense from 1986-2012. They are now moving to a hybrid scheme. The Eagles ran the WCO from 1995-2012. They are now moving to a spread attack that focuses on the run game. I already covered all the changes in terms of training and practicing. There is no doubt that the Reid era is over and this is now Chip Kelly’s team.

I certainly don’t see how any player can feel truly comfortable because of all the changes. And that’s a good thing. The Eagles were 4-12 last year. No player should be comfortable. All 90 guys need to have a chip on their shoulder.

It will be interesting to track the results of Kelly’s camp vs the other coaches. His will be less physically grueling, but will require great stamina and will be mentally taxing. There are new schemes to learn, complex schemes, and they will be practiced at breakneck speed. Teaching will be limited on the field. Most of that will happen in the classroom. This is going to be vastly different than what the players are accustomed to from high school, college and whatever NFL experience they have.

The other angle of note here is timing. When you take over a team is important. Vermeil took over the Eagles when there was no free agency and turning a team around was a huge challenge. Now there are worst-to-first teams every year. Vermeil and Rhodes took over the Eagles when the Cowboys were established juggernauts. Kelly comes into the NFC East at a time when the division is down. There are no clearly bad teams, unless you think the Eagles fit that description, but there isn’t any team to really fear.

The Eagles won the division in 2010. There are still players left from that team. Heck the Eagles were seen as a Super Bowl favorite just 2 years ago. Kelly has some rebuilding to do, but it isn’t as if he’s starting from scratch. If Kelly can find a QB, the offense could be outstanding, one of the best units in the league. Out of Vermeil, Ryan, Rhodes and Reid, there was only one good unit in Year One. Ray Rhodes defense finished 4th in the league in yards allowed.

Kelly can approach this team differently because he is taking over a group that has good pieces in place. While things grew stale under Reid, it isn’t as if there was a need for a drastic culture change. There were only 2 losing seasons in the last decade. Things did fall apart last year and that’s why the coaching change was needed. Kelly doesn’t have to undo years of bad coaching. Reid left him a good foundation to work with.

We’ll see if The Chipper has a couple of curveballs for us this summer or if things will simply be an extension of the spring. No matter what, it won’t be boring.

* * * * *

Good news. Dion Jordan has agreed to a deal with the Dolphins. He is the #3 pick. Jordan agreed to offset language in his deal, which has been the holdup in getting Lane Johnson signed. Now that Jordan has set the precedent, it is more likely Johnson and his agent will copy that deal. Hopefully this means the Eagles will get Johnson under contract in the next few days.

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  • GEagle

    This man isn’t afraid to come into the NFL and buck traditional methods. He will do things his way, and I’m dying to find out what his way is. he already bucked the trend of not practicing during the hottest hours of the day because he obviously believes there is an advantage to getting players bodies accustomed to performing at 1pm game time. There is precedent for this school of thought in sports…MMA fighters in a main event totally switch there entire schedule about 3 weeks out from a fight so they can get their bodies accustomed to performing at its peak around 11pm which is around the time that a main event fight on a card takes place

    curious to see what his philosophies are in terms what’s the proper way to work players and how much he believes he can push them to get them ready for an NFL season…This is his first time, so I’m also curious to see how his training camp methods evolve over the years(if they change at all) after he gains NFL experience. Right now, this is all trail and error for Chip because he has never had to get a team ready for 16 games before…Going to be interesting to see how much of his approach needs to be changed in year two

    Anxious for the first open practice…it’s going to be memorable

  • Flyin

    A couple questions about the “rookie and select vets” part of training camp…

    1. Do all QB’s normally show for this?

    2. On the Eagles site they are reporting 29-30 players will be there. Before the rest of the team reports, do these players get more on field practice or classroom time?

    • TommyLawlor

      1. All QBs report early. Has been that way for years.

      2. They will practice, but without full team can only do limited things. Still, can be chance for young guys to impress coaches. Omar Gaither did that as a rookie and got a starting job late in the year.

      • Flyin

        Sweet … G.J. has a chance..

        Is there a max for # of players for this early camp?

        • TommyLawlor

          No.

      • GEagle

        So already starting in Monday, rookies will be on the field going at it in pads? Poyer vs. Russel Sheppard, Lane vs. Benny, Wolff vs. Ertz…Let the games begin!!

  • ACViking

    The Most with the Least

    T-Law:

    Vermeil laid the 1966 post-merger bedrock for this franchise . . . and he did more with less than any Eagles coach and just about any NFL coach in the Super Bowl era.

    In the 1980 SB against the Raiders, the Eagles started only 7 players selected — regardless of team — in Rds 1-3. The Raiders had 14 starters in that category.

    Only one other SB team — the 2009 Colts who lost to the Saints — had as few starters drafted in Rds 1-3 as the Eagles. Of course, the Colts had Peyton Manning in his prime, too.

    By the way, if you want a very good indicator of which team’s going to win the SB (once we know the finalists), count which of the two conference champions has more starters drafted in the first three rounds.
    _________________

    The 2004 Eagles had 17 starters in the SB selected in Rds 1-3.

    No SB team, winner or loser, has as many as Reid’s group . . . ever.

    (The 2004 Patriots had 13 starters from Rds 1-3.)
    _________________

    Chip Kelly’s already way ahead of Vermeil in terms of players on the roster selected in Rds 1-3.

    Heck, Kelly had a 1st-Rd pick this year, while Vermeil didn’t have a 1st or 2nd rounder for his first three years.

    If Kelly’s as good a coach as Vermeil proved to be . . . then we’ll all enjoy the sweet smell of success again.

    • TommyLawlor

      Great stuff. Didn’t know that about the 2004 Eagles.

      SF had most 1st Rd players of any team in the NFL last year. They did okay as I recall.

  • A_T_G

    Could you describe what the offset language is about, or suggest where to find it?

  • eagleyankfan

    love 2 comments from this read. 1) If Chip finds a QB. Great stuff right there. 2) “stale” under AR.
    My questions is — did you notice the “stale” last year? (more importantly, did you write about it?) I’m a newby to your spring training write ups. I hope to find candid remarks. Looking for the “he looks good” to the “man, is he off the pace kind of stuff”. Looking for real data is all. Most writers will wait til someone gets cut and then say “of course he got cut, he was out of shape and looked slow blah blah blah”. Well, why didn’t that writer write about that DURING camp? It’s not an “of course” to readers.

    • GEagle

      I think you stumbled onto the right place for what you are looking for…Sheil Kapadia and Jimmy Kempski will also be doing detailed coverages of all the training camp practices(and they do a great job), you probably want o check them out Daily(when camp begins) if you aren’t following them already….and if you have patience for Twitter, you will get all types of training camp reports there