Chip Kelly: Oregon vs. Philadelphia Practice Methods

Posted: August 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 104 Comments »

  By Mark Saltveit  (guest columnist)

How much has Chip Kelly changed his practice methods since taking over the Eagles?

We know that practice is crucial in Kelly’s comprehensive program, which is why I devoted a whole section of my book “The Tao of Chip Kelly” to the subject. He’s the anti-Iverson, full of quotes like “You don’t rise to the occasion; you sink to the level of your preparation” and “It’s amazing how when you don’t have bad practices, you don’t have bad games.”

It’s difficult for a sportswriter to say exactly how the details have changed, because Oregon’s practices were closed to the media under Kelly (and still are under new coach Mark Helfrich). Kelly and Helfrich also have refused to talk about player injuries. The Ducks’ beat reporters ritually stand outside the practice field’s gate and wait for the team to file out. They can hear the blaring music during practice, but are reduced to asking the coach what happened, and watching for players who limp or wear a boot as they leave. Injury reports are mandatory in the NFL, so that part has already changed.

QB lineup

One thing we know is that Chipper believes in continual improvement. He’s always looking for ways to tweak and refine his methods, including the ways he runs his practice, so we can expect changes. But the basics of his approach have stayed the same from his first year as Offensive Coordinator at Oregon, when Dennis Dixon played for him as a senior, to today – the fast pace, loud music, short teaching and drill segments, and maximizing the number of reps.

I interviewed 3 ex-Ducks on this Eagles roster who spanned Kelly’s entire six-year career in Oregon: Dennis Dixon, Casey Matthews – who played during Kelly’s first four years at Oregon – and Isaac Remington, a juco transfer who was in Eugene the last two years. They agreed that the practices in Philadelphia are largely the same in broad terms. Recent acquisition Jeff Maehl, another ex-Duck, mentioned “The new terminology, new signals” as the main differences he noticed.

There are some major structural changes – the roster’s much smaller, of course, while coaches and players can focus on football full time, without worrying about class work and NCAA restrictions. There are different limits on OTAs, and for the first time ever Chip has non-counting preseason games to test his team (though a non-conference game against Nicholls State or Tennessee Tech is pretty close). And all three players were struck by the simple fact that “these are grown men,” not college boys, though to some of us with teenage kids a 22-year-old rookie doesn’t seem that grown up. Or even a “grizzled” 31-year-old veteran, for that matter.

One striking aspect of the Eagles’ practices is relatively new: the robotic voices that announce each new practice segment. Remington knew them from the last two years at Oregon, but not Casey Matthews, who finished his college career with the 2011 National Championship Game, where he stripped Cam Newton for a key fumble in the Ducks’ near-miss comeback. To Matthews, they sound like “a guy version of Siri.”

The Eagles are using hand signals from position coaches to their players this year, a trick Chip picked up from a college team (Missouri), but the famous four-picture sideline banners have recently reemerged. No word on whether this reflects the hand signals not working, or whether it’s the main signal to the quarterback for the overall play.

Obviously the hand signals are communicating something different than the main play call, or they wouldn’t be specific to different player groups. Just as obviously, the Eagles are not going to announce to the world what their signals mean; opponents will just have to send spies the old fashioned Belichick way. A reporter kept asking about the banner pictures Thursday, and Chip just laughed him off.

Question: Can you kind of talk about what’s behind the big signs that you guys use and why you went that route in college and brought it to the NFL?

Coach Kelly: No. (Laughter.)  Next question?

Question: Can you elaborate on that?

Coach Kelly: No, we’re not … we could tell you what all our signals are, too, but that’s not going to help us.

I attended two Eagles practices on my last trip back East, including one of the joint practices with the Patriots. In that one, Belichick vetoed Chip’s typical blaring music, and it seemed to mess with the Eagle’s performance. Isaac Remington, who also seemed a bit stunned that someone wanted to interview him (and has since been cut), said “Actually, it’s kind of weird not having music right now.”

Chip Kelly’s offenses rely a lot on rhythm, which is why he works so hard to develop muscle memory and make practices as similar to games as possible. The Ducks’ offense was like a Lamborghini that might sputter and lurch in low gear for a quarter or two before getting in sync and zooming away in overdrive. Getting his players out of rhythm and stuck in their heads is a prime way to fight a Chip Kelly team, and Belichick’s simple change may have been part of what gave the Patriots an advantage that lasted into that first preseason game.

(The chess match between those two frenemies fascinates me; when Chip came out to Foxboro last year to give Belichick tips on the no-huddle, he had to know he would be in the NFL coaching against Belichick soon. How much did each coach reveal, and how much did they hold back? Or do they just connect on a deep love of football and prefer to match wits at the highest level of effectiveness?)

You might think I’m drastically overthinking this music business, and maybe I am, but the Eagles have announced since that first game that they will play their music during offensive possessions at Lincoln Financial Field. League rules don’t allow them to play the music when visitors have the ball, but that’s just fine – Kelly wants the rhythm rolling when the Eagles are in control, and is happy to break it when his opponents have the pigskin. The very absence of music – and relatively louder crowd noise – will itself be a challenge for visitors.

A few years ago, a study demonstrated that college students who study for tests while high on marijuana score higher if they were stoned for the tests themselves. Perhaps music works the same way, which could cut both ways. Will the Eagles be vulnerable to a broken iPod or NFL rule change on game-time music? What about road games – will they use the quarterback’s helmet earphone just to pump in tunes? (OK, now I really AM over-thinking it.)

On the flip side, Kelly switched it up in the other direction too – huddling a lot during the joint practices with New England, for example, which struck ex-Duck LeGarrette Blount as new and different.

In the bigger picture, Kelly has redefined what practice means, as I discuss in detail in my book. The goal is to keep actual playingfield practices as physical and similar to game conditions as possible. Discussion, teaching, new plays and analysis are saved for the video theater, position meetings and other off-field study.

Ideally, the entire practice consists of fast repetitions, running plays that players already know over and over again until they are instinctual. There are short teach periods, if for no other reason than the fact that players can’t keep running that fast for two hours and need a breather, but Kelly hates to stop the action to correct a player’s mistake. That results in 21 guys standing around watching, not to mention embarrassing the player. No one likes to get in trouble in front of an audience. In scrimmage situations, Kelly and his assistant coaches will actually substitute a player out for a rep or two to correct a mistake, just like a real game.

Kelly’s practices are meticulously planned, weeks if not months in advance: the sequence and length of drills, the progression from one day to the next. With this all locked down beforehand, Kelly walks around from group to group, not leading the practice in an obvious way, just popping in on areas he is particularly interested in – such as special teams returners and quarterbacks, a position he not only assistant-coached at the University of New Hampshire but played in both HS and college (at UNH). As for the rest, well, there’s plenty of videotape.

Rarely has any coach videotaped practices so methodically (his own, anyway), from tall camera-topped poles and a special tower like an anorexic beach-lifeguard-stand. Kelly relies on videotape the way a modern TV detective would, finger hovering over the mythical “enhance” button, confident that if they stare at that objective record long enough, someone on the staff will yell – “There! Back up! Right there — just behind the tackle’s left ham hock.” It’s the crucial detail that everyone who was actually there missed.

There is a rhythm to the team’s development over a season, especially this year as Kelly radically remakes the team. A practice mid-season should be full of repetitions, polishing the team’s execution, but right now the focus is on installing the new system and evaluating talent.

Kelly is well known for boiling down complex philosophical and motivation concepts down into easily remembered, catchy mantras such as “Win the Day!” and “Every game is the Super Bowl” but we haven’t reached that part of the season yet, according to Dennis Dixon. “Not right now, but it will come,” he told me. Caey Matthews agreed: “We’re still getting defenses down, offenses, cadence, timing, stuff like that.” You have to get the basic concepts and choose your final 53 first; the catch phrases are combination mnemonics and philosophical nuggets that help players remember why the team does certain things and see the connections between them.

QB fly swatters

The transformation out of the preseason has already begun. Michael Vick is the starting quarterback, and the rest of the first team should be pretty well settled after the Jacksonville game. Reporters have had tremendous access to the Eagles’ practices, but this was a temporary window that has closed. In a Chip Kelly program, it has to. He loves to confuse opponents, but it’s also crucially important that his teams practice plays over and over, physically, on the field to maximize execution. As writers we’ve enjoyed spotting unusual formations and twists in practices, but we tend to blab about them in public places like newspapers and blogs.

Chip just wants to save the surprise for game time, for fans and for opponents. He wants to force them to react very quickly to an unusual gambit or an opaque formation like the doublestack which could involve tight ends leading wide receivers, WRs leading RBs, four WRs or four TEs, some blocking, some setting up screens, or all four going long. The goal is always to apply maximum pressure on opponents, forcing them to think and scramble while Chip’s team executes instinctively. And practice makes perfect.

— Mark Saltveit

Mark Saltveit writes the “Chip Kelly Update” column for FishDuck.com every Friday, and tweets about the Eagles at @taoish. He is the editor of Taoish.org.

His best-selling book “The Tao of Chip Kelly” has received rave reviews from coaches, players and sportswriters since its release in June. You can find it at Joseph Fox Books and the Spiral Bookcase in Philadelphia; MainPoint Books in Bryn Mawr; the Doylestown Bookshop, on Amazon.com and online at http://www.chipkelly.tv/  


  • Kristopher Cebula

    are you being serious about the music playing while the offense is on the field or was that hypothetical. I hadn’t heard this info before. if you were being serious, wouldn’t that give them a disadvantage on the road? if they are used to playing while music is playing, won’t it be a detriment when it is not playing?

    • ICDogg

      It’s not hypothetical, based on what I’ve heard. But I don’t think it gives them a disadvantage when it’s not playing, unless it was the Fog Bowl or something, since they’re using a lot of visual signalling. Just takes away a possible advantage they might otherwise have.

      • Mark Saltveit

        One theory is that music helps you learn, which might work even if there is no music at games, but also better if there is.

        http://www.highphive.net/2013/05/16/the-science-behind-chip-kellys-use-of-music/

        • ICDogg

          It’s an interesting theory.

          IMO though it’s just a matter of becoming conditioned to a noisy environment, and to get used to relying on ones eyes more than ones ears.

          • Kristopher Cebula

            8-0 at home!

          • ICDogg

            Pump up the volume!

          • GEagle

            I prefer Marky mark’s good vibration!!! FYI:no one messes with the funky bunch

      • BlindChow

        During away games, they can just sing the music themselves at the line of scrimage.

      • GEagle

        Let me say this about the music…Boykin, who was here for last years mess, when he was interviewed yesterday the first thing he mentioned wa the music(without reporters asking about it)…he talked about how the loud music has really taught them how to communicate with each other faster then he thought, and that communication-wise the secondary is already ahead of where it was last season…

        it’s great or our players to already see the benefit of chips quirky practice methods

        • Mark Saltveit

          Cool, I don’t suppose you have a link for that interview, or remember where you saw that?

    • Mark Saltveit

      No, music during games is real. Dave Spadaro called in to Angelo Cataldi’s show and announced it.

      http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2013/08/16/music-during-eagles-games-will-continue-during-the-regular-season/

      • matt

        They did it at the preseason games actually, very odd

  • miked718

    Great read. Whatever happens this season, following Chip Kelly as Eagles coach has been fascinating. Plus we get to read all these great writers who have been following him since previous stops. New kind of thinking going on and it seems like it’s a step in the right direction for the franchise. Bellichek is getting old after all.

  • pjxii

    “The goal is to keep actual playingfield practices as physical and similar to game conditions as possible”

    Does that mean there will be no tackling in NFL regular season games this year?

    • ICDogg

      Well, I guess that would be the same as last year

    • Mark Saltveit

      That was the approach in the New England game, for sure. No, it’s a dilemna certainly. The execution he has in mind is running his plays, but I think you’re absolutely right, we saw the ill effects of not tackling in practice in that first game. And Chip’s own philosophy would expect no less. At the same time, after the early ACL tears, the Eagles seem to be avoiding injuries relatively well in preseason, and that matters too.

      • BlindChow

        Last year Andy Reid had tackling in training camp (supposedly the most physical camp in the NFL). The Eagles went on to become the worst tackling team in the league last year. And from what I understand, light or no tackling is the standard in most camps.

        There appears to be no correlation between training camp tackling and game tackling.

        • GEagle

          Just look rand the league. Hardly no one hits during camp…bengals aren’t hitting on hard knocks

  • HipDaDip

    Didn’t occur to me before and sounds like a bit of a stretch, but I wonder how much the offensive struggles at Jacksonville were due to it being our first away game, and the lack of music interfering with offensive rhythm (or not interfering with the other team’s defense).

    • Anders

      Most of the struggles was because the Jags game planned to stop us, while we didnt game plan to exploit them and also that the OL messed up quite alot

      • HipDaDip

        i don’t think all those are mutually exclusive

    • Mark Saltveit

      I think it might well have been a factor. Other parts of the routine changed in Jacksonville, too. Kelly set his practice schedule based on 1pm games, since most of them will happen then, and admitted that he didn’t plan to adjust for night games.

  • ICDogg

    I was at the Linc today. Kurt Coleman was filling in at corner during 11-on-11 drill and broke up a couple of pass plays.

    • Jack Waggoner

      Batted down two passes, I think both were Foles

  • ICDogg

    Wonder what this play is

    • Mark Saltveit

      I guess punt would be too obvious, huh? Maybe “kick ass”?

      • ICDogg

        Every Eagles defense should have a Dawk play. Whatever that happens to be.

        • jshort

          Looks to me like Dawk is standing on a pole, aka the karate kid, So the play must have something to do with a pelican. Would need that Saltveit guy to translate. Any pics of Dawk putting wax on a car than taking it off? maybe I’m over thinking it

    • Anders

      Safety blitz would be to obvious

    • Pennguino

      That is the obvious Demolition Man MDK (Murder Death Kill)

      • Mark Saltveit

        Eagles should totally do that play. Sounds great. Also, the Nuclear Obliteration Armageddon Death-Charley-Horse.

        • poetx99

          i’d prefer, however, that he save that for the playoffs.

      • poetx99

        ^^^ this.

    • Insomniac

      Weapon X. Cross route?

    • eagleyankfan

      It’s the old Indian smoke trick to contact other tribes. To translate it says “our safeties stink, send help at once”.

  • RC5000

    Off topic but Haralson on the trading block supposedly. 49ers fans make it sound like he’s looked really good. He’s 29 years old coming off injury that kept him out last year (conditional pick?). Run stopper, sacks have tailed off a little.

    Thing is though with Gamble here, it seems like a deal that would have just happened although maybe something is on the table and they are trying to get something better. Or it’s not a real rumor.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/26/report-parys-haralson-on-

    • TommyLawlor

      Just went to Saints, per some reports.

      • ICDogg

        yep

      • A_T_G

        Maybe Gamble told us not to be interested?

        • Anders

          Saints more desperate. Just lost there only decent OLB for the season. We still got Barwin, Cole and Graham. The Saints have zero good OLBs

          • deg0ey

            And the Saints are supposed to be contenders already…

          • GEagle

            The saints really had no choice but to trade for him…anyone know what they gave up for him?

          • A_T_G

            Wait, the desperate team gave up a conditional 7th round pick? I think that translates to we didn’t really want him, doesn’t it?

          • deg0ey

            I can see Roseman’s interview now: “We offered them a cheesesteak, the Saints offered them a conditional 7th. I guess they just wanted him more”

  • Alex Karklins

    Great post! Thanks for your insight, Mark. But why did you have to link to a Bleacher Report article? Eww.

    • Mark Saltveit

      My bad. Only place I found that quote, and journalistic ethics require it. Does suck eggs though.

  • Tom33

    Went to fishduck.com and read some of those posts. Any thoughts/comments on Mark asserting that Riley and Desean are taking plays off? Anybody else noticed this?

    • Mark Saltveit

      Now, I didn’t exactly say taking plays off, but they aren’t (to my eye) running out the plays they’re not called on. And in the case with Riley Cooper I cited, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his route just happened to end with him right near the second level for that running play. He just needs to see that connection and trust there’s a reason. Polk got speared by a safety Cooper could easily have blocked. It’s near the bottom of this post:

      http://fishduck.com/2013/08/chip-kelly-update-the-eagles-are-curing-the-cement/

      • Tom33

        I wasn’t critiquing your article – it’s just that all i have read and heard about this year is the “New” Desean. Your piece was the first thing i have seen that alluded to anything other than him being bought-in since early in OTA’s.

        He has some recent history of less than 100% effort. Riley doesn’t have enough talent to not give full effort. Hopefully this isn’t a trend that carries into real games, or if it is, they get the coaching they need.

        I enjoyed this piece and plan to add you to my regular reading list.

        • Mark Saltveit

          I’m with you. I’ve read a lot along the same lines. That’s why, when I studied the video of the Carolina game and I saw something different, I felt it was important to write about it. The key plays are both in the first quarter, 2nd and 14 with 7:53 left for DeSean, and 1st and 10 with 9:40 left for Cooper.

          • GEagle

            Appreciate you taking the time to interact with us

          • Mark Saltveit

            I think he’s thrilled to have such a good backup QB, who is already shown to move his offense well. And he knows (and has said) that Foles is likely to start at some time this year, for injury if no other reason.

          • Mark Saltveit

            Part of the beauty of Chip’s competition is that Foles has already learned how to run THIS offense, so he’s primed if an injury occurs or Vick goes south.

          • planetx1971

            I know this? Wasn’t for me GEagle so forgive me for weighing in ok? I think it’s another geniius move by Kelly. He knows statistics. And they say Vick will be LUCKY to make it to week 8? Maybe? So I.M.O. he’s “stashing” his real QB for our deep into the playoffs run :))

          • planetx1971

            That is IF captain hold onto the ball like it’s money, DOESN’T have us out of contention before his ribs shatter….let’s pray he gets us to atleast .500 before said guaranteed injury occurs….

  • Anders

    Tommy, now that we are close to the start of college season. As somebody who is still very new to the whole college thing. I would love if you have the time to maybe just give a shorter pre view of some of the good college matchups each week and maybe a notice or two about some of the prospects worth looking for?

    • deg0ey

      Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier, oh dear god Ryan Shazier!
      I’m totally a Buckeye homer, but this dude is awesome! Makes plays all over the field and kinda looks like a young Mike Tyson.

      • D3FB

        But he’s like 215 soaking wet after having a pudding eating contest with Tommy. He’s going to have to get up to 235 just to play Will in a 4-3 scheme. He just doesn’t fit in our defense.

        • deg0ey

          Haha yeah, well he’s listed as 230 although I’d agree that seems more than a little generous. I wasn’t suggesting him as someone we should necessarily target, just declaring that I love him.

          I do wonder what his best NFL situation would be, though. Do 4-3 teams see him as a WILL? Does he bulk up a bit and take on a role more like Kendricks has in Philly? I wouldn’t be too surprised if a team picked him up as a long term project at safety, to be honest. He kinda strikes me as the type of guy that doesn’t really have a natural position in the NFL but that someone will take a chance on ’cause he’s instinctive and makes plays.

          • D3FB

            I see him thriving as a 43 Will linebacker where he just gets to fly around and make plays. From a weight standpoint he reminds me of lavonte david and khaseem Greene and they were both viewed as strictly Wills in a 43. Shazier seems to have a bit of room to put on some of size but who knows how adding more weight to his frame will affect his play.

    • GEagle

      My method is to just take a look at walterfootballs 2014 mock draft, and watch games involving a lot of nfl prospects..
      ..
      I don’t root for any college teams, but I watch a lot of college ball…
      ..
      Basically when I watch college It’s to know about the kids coming into the NFL, Ot so much for the actual games

      • hokieduck

        GEagle. You are missing out on some great football then. College is much more exciting than the NFL, IMO (although Chip’s ascent has brought me back to the fold of watching the NFL). More games, more diversity of styles, more passion, more riding on every single game, solid talent and some outrageously talented players.

        Now you have to watch a few Ducks games this season. Just because. And I better not catch you fanning or faving Stanford!

        Go Ducks! WTD.

  • Joe Jones

    Mark, very insightful and fun read….thanks. The buzz and excitement surrounding Coach Kelly is already at a fever pitch….imagine what its gonna be like if we actually start winning?

  • ICDogg

    Bill Barnwell and Robert Mays podcast previewing the Eagles and Redskins for Grantland

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/grantland/player?id=9601709

    • HipDaDip

      did you hear them say Russell Shepard is a very exciting 6’7″ wide out from LSU?

      • ICDogg

        lol…they’re off on a number of things

      • Mark Saltveit

        Awesome. Use Sports Science to combine Momah’s height, Shepard’s ST play and Salas’ play making ability into one great player, that would be VERY exciting!

        • deg0ey

          Let’s give him Avant’s route running, Sopoaga’s weight and D-Jax’s speed while we’re at it!

          • Mac

            Alas, we’ll never see that player again in our age… RIP Jerome.

  • Flyin

    Thanks for posting this… great read to lift the spirits of those still haunted by the groundhog day called 1st half of last game..

  • planetx1971

    I’m behind a bit in my reading & off topic so I apologize. But does anyone else think like I do that “HANDS DOWN” for me anyway, Vinny Curry has been by far the most fun & DISRUPTIVE force in the pre season so far? I admit, I’m really rooting for this kid. Maybe Tommy’s right & the coaxed don’t want him shooting the gaps, but man, JJ Watt’s doin it & Gavin’s SOME” success. Chip knows what he’s doin & I’m just a dumb fan, but, god I’d want that beast on the field. Of the cuts, I hated the Currier move. Lots of guys I woulda rather see go. Lastly, I’m sorry to all the Vick guys out there, but I can’t help myself, regardless of it’s against scrubs, I LOVE watching Foles play. I just do. Lastly, I’d be lyin if I didn’t say when I watched Vick under pressure I just had that awful feelin that if the guy is still doing so many of the same things after 10+ years, it just ain’t gunna change. I pray I’m wrong, but I just can’t believe he’s going to all of a sudden be a different guy. Kinda k.ow wish, seeing the Jags game planned & put heat on him that we waited to name the QB till after we saw that. Just my humble opinion guys.

    • Jack Waggoner

      The Eagles apparently see Curry as a nickel DT, who probably won’t see much time in the base defense.

      • planetx1971

        Just curious, is that how you would like to see him used if that’s how it plays out?

        • Jack Waggoner

          I’d like to use him more but it will take creative ways to make it work when they already have Cox playing what might be Curry’s best position in the base D that they’ve shown so far.

  • James

    Brilliant read. Thanks Mark, and thanks Tommy for posting this. Im very interested in their offensive production if the Away team stadiums will make it a point to not play music at all during the offensive snaps.

    • Jack Waggoner

      I doubt it will affect them at all.

    • Mark Saltveit

      Or play slow, lame music. “SAI-LING! TAKE ME AWAY! TO WHERE I’M GOING TO….”

      • GEagle

        Mark…our defensive personel seems to fit a 4-3U much better than a two gap 3-4….why does Chip seem so hell bent on playing a two gap 3-4?

        • Mark Saltveit

          I’m not a formation expert, Tommy Lawlor is probably a better person to ask. But to my eye, there are always connections between different parts of the game that Chip sees and not many others do.

          One very interesting theory I read is that Chip likes 3-4 because having more mobile LBs strengthens your specials teams. Chip mentioned the other day that the weakness at safety is a problem because he counts on safeties for help on special teams. So that makes sense.

  • Steag209

    You should have Mark do a column every Monday, if he’s willing, so you can have a day to fine tune your DGR

    • Mark Saltveit

      Yeah!

    • eagleyankfan

      what DGR? :)

      • James

        detailed game review – i believe.

  • David M.

    What’s the implication of having 30+ players released as the roster is trimmed down to 53? Wouldn’t they become a huge source of information for other teams/media? Is there anything similar at the college level?

    • RC5000

      What? How would there be something similar at the college level? It’s COLLEGE. There are scholarships, enrollments, eligibility requirements etc. They don’t just release players (they may kick them off the team but they are still enrolled usually).

    • deg0ey

      Wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Kelly’s already thought of that and left things out. Y’know how lots of teams will have an effective run play and then when you sell out for it they have a play-action out of the same look and then when people catch on to that they’ll go with a screen/end-around or use a different run play out of the same alignment? My betting is that Chip has only taught the first play or two in all of those sequences so far on the basis that even if cut players go and tell everyone what he’s doing, they’ll only have half the story.
      Alternatively he’s that confident in his methods that he doesn’t care if everyone knows what he’ll do because it’s gonna beat you anyway – but that doesn’t seem quite as likely.

      • DanJ3645

        If Chip was really going to go through that route then you’d keep those progressions until you were in a season where you really feel that a super bowl run is possible….

        They might not have got the full O package yet, but I’d suspect it was due to making sure the team can execute the playbook required for the first few games.
        chip wont need to use the progressions until D’s have worked out how to beat his base O systematically – as opposed to execution errors.

        • Mark Saltveit

          It’s a dilemna for Chip. he likes to surprise people, and yet be strongly believes you should only run plays you’ve seen a lot. Practices just closed to the media, even Philly beat reporters.Just before cuts. And Chip ran a strangely vanilla play-action pass offense against Jacksonville. There are dots to connect if you’re so inclined. But waiting too long risks losing a game or two up front.

  • Baloophi

    Excellent post, Mark.

    That said, please don’t tell the team about that marijuana study… the cheesesteak and Bart Simpson banners alone could easily lead to double-digit “delay of game” penalties.

    • Mark Saltveit

      Oregon did have more than its share of weed busts. It’s probably Eugene more than Chip though.

      • Mark Saltveit

        (In case people don’t know, Eugene OR has a big hippiesh reputation. Visit the Oregon Country Fair — not to be confused with the State Fair — in nearby Veneta some July to see why.)

        • hokieduck

          Or just ask uber-talented but Chip-kicked-off-team DB Cliff “We Smoked It All” Harris.

  • GermanEagle

    Back to the upcoming cuts. Having a look at the current Seahawks Depth Chart there will be at least a couple of really interesting players to put in a claim for, especially if Seattle keeps Antoine Winfield:
    LCB Richard Sherman – Antoine Winfield – Will Blackmon – Byron Maxwell
    RCB Brandon Browner – Walter Thurmond – Jeremy Lane – Ron Parker
    SS Kam Chancellor – Jeron Johnson – Winston Guy
    FS Earl Thomas – Chris Maragos – DeShawn Shead
    My top 3 targets would be (in particular order):
    1. Chris Maragos (although very unlikely that he will get cut)
    2. Will Blackmon (physical corner who can also return punts)
    3. Byron Maxwell (6’1 CB from Clemson, huge upside)
    Anyone out of those three will immediately UPGRADE our secondary.

    • GEagle

      I think there is a good chance their big rookie corner from LSU, Simon, gets cut…I really would have liked to draft him

      • GermanEagle

        He’s headed to IR as it looks like.

  • eagleyankfan

    Good read MS! Thank you.
    Mesean taking plays off. I mean not finishing the play to the whistle? NO WAY. Who would ever see that coming? I wonder if those two did that vs. the Jags. I’d imagine that’s a pet peeve for coaches watching a ball carrier get hammered while someone is standing around watching the play finish….
    Finally finished watching the first half vs. Jags. I didn’t think Vick was as bad as originally posted by some. I mean, he wasn’t great. He threw a pick as bad as Foles did(which some say cost Foles the starting job). Which is yet another reason why I say — eh screw it, not important anymore. Anyway — 2 areas stood out to me. 1) Safeties. E G A D S. WTF is going on with them??? Maybe we should be looking at the coach and not the players??? B R U T A L angles on run plays. (wtf was Wolf doing on that run play??? He was already on that side of the field where the run happened and was never closer than 5 yards to the runner) 2) That offensive line play was — offensive.

    • Mark Saltveit

      This is probably simplistic, but it seems like DeSean simply running downfield along the sidelines every play would help the run game. In man coverage anyway, they’ll be focused on staying with him, not looking around the field. If someone breaks through, as Polk did on that one play, that’s at least one CB and maybe a bonus safety pulled away from being able to stop a long run.

  • planetx1971

    Just curious, is that how’d you like to see him primarily used if that’s the way it goes?

    • Mark Saltveit

      K.

  • bsuperfi

    I’d just like to encourage us to be cautious about making too much of the music as a tool that helps learning and performance. I’m an educational policy researcher, and the science on how people learn and translate that learning is muddy and inexact to say the least. Boykin’s comments were encouraging, but there are lots of alternative explanations about why D-Back communication is better this year (starting with “how could it not be?)”.

    I have faith in some of Kelly’s methods. Sports science is becoming increasingly rigorous (at least the biological aspects of it). When we start moving into the social science end, it’s important to be a little circumspect.

  • Maggie

    Someone should ask Chip K. if he read “Three Bricks Shy of a Load”, by Roy Blount, Jr. Some of his ‘quirky’ ideas are right out of Chuck Noll’s system. Discipline. Discipline. Self-discipline. One-word signals from the sideline, large, tall objects being waved in the QB’s face during practice for example. In 1973. Right before winning 4 Super Bowls.

    • Mark Saltveit

      Great tip, thanks. Don’t know that book. My favorite sports book is “Loose Balls” which admittedly is about basketball, but damn those are some good stories in there. The John Brisker tip-off, for example.

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