Chippah

Posted: September 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 125 Comments »

We have a long way to go before we’ll know exactly what to make of Chip Kelly as an NFL coach, but we can already see some positive signs. The offense is moving the ball really well. Shady McCoy and DeSean Jackson are having great years. The offense had back-t0-back 30 point games to open the season. The last time the offense scored that much in consecutive games was the beginning of the 2011 season. The Eagles only had one 30-point game in all of 2012. And it took a PR score for that to happen.

Alan Siegel wrote an excellent piece on Chip Kelly for SB Nation. A short snippet…

For Kelly, class was always in session. “Some guys were going on spring break, and he was going to Wake Forest and Clemson,” Day says. Kelly used his vacations to visit other football programs, picking the brains of coaches, observing closely and borrowing liberally. “I got this from Nevada, we’re going to call it Nevada,” David Ball remembers Kelly saying at practice after one fact-finding mission. “Here’s the signal, we’re gonna dress it up. We can run it five ways …”

Sure, Kelly made stops at schools like Georgia Tech and Auburn, but preferred programs whose limitations forced them to be creative. “He was never going to Ohio State,” Barbato says. “They’re a big FBS school, they have better players than you do. He was going to the Utahs” — in other words — “the teams that were overachieving.”

But for all of Kelly’s ingenuity, UNH wasn’t exactly a powerhouse — at least not right away — something impatient Eagle fans might keep in mind. In his first five years as offensive coordinator, the Wildcats finished with a winning record only once. McDonnell says he and Kelly, old buddies, used to argue about the direction of the offense. “You gotta slow down, Chip,” McDonnell would tell Kelly. “We’re not good enough defensively. His whole thing was, ‘We’ll score 60.’” Neither realized one day soon that they’d actually have the players to make that happen.

That really is an excellent piece. You also get to see Chip’s yearbook photo so you pretty much have to go take a look.

Back in late December I also wrote a long piece on Kelly and his background. At the time, I was trying to figure him out and then make a case for/against him as the Eagles head coach.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that the Eagles hired him. I still think Kelly has the potential to be a great head coach. He sees the big picture unlike any coach I’ve ever read about. If his ideas work, they can deliver big results in the NFL.

* * * * *

The one area where Chip is probably most confusing to us right now is his how he’s handling the team.

He’s trying to win games this season.

He’s trying to lay the foundation for the future. This involves evaluating players, implementing schemes and also teaching players and coaches what he expects of them.

Chip isn’t selling out to win or to go young. This frustrates some fans. Why be wishy-washy?

The first thing you have to understand is that Chip is extremely competitive. He doesn’t believe in “We’re gonna spend this year developing young players.” He wants to win.

Chip also wants to win his way. He can’t just add talented players. Chip needs guys who will do things his way. Does anyone think Jeff Maehl is the most talented WR option available? No. But Kelly knows him. Maehl will practice hard. He’ll play hard. He’ll go all out on STs. He’ll block. Chip can deal with players who aren’t great, but he can’t stand underachievers. He wants players who are consistent…guys that he can trust to perform at a certain level.

Don’t underestimate the practice angle here.

Chip likes to stress the mentality that “you play how you practice”. He doesn’t want guys to be sloppy during the week and then hope they are “gamers”, guys who come alive on Sundays. Chip wants players that do a good job in the weight room, the classroom, the practice field and then in games. If you do something well over and over, you can come close to perfecting it.

Mike Holmgren told the story of Bill Walsh stopping a practice to correct a pass from Joe Montana to Jerry Rice. Rice made the catch, but Walsh felt the ball was 10 to 12 inches off target. He wanted the ball in a precise spot so that Rice could maximize RAC yards. Nevermind that Montana had a pair of Super Bowl titles at that point or that he and Rice were the deadliest pass-catch combo in the league. At that moment…on that day…they weren’t good enough. And Bill Walsh let Holmgren, the QB coach, know that Montana needed to throw that play over and get the pass right on target.

Chip isn’t loading the Eagles up with grinders, but he’s mixed in enough of them so that they can help the other players know what he’s talking about. Some are Oregon guys. Some Reid holdovers fit the bill. Guys like Avant, Kelce, Cole, and Ryans were Kelly types before he even showed up. You get the feeling that even rookies like Bennie Logan and Matt Barkley are Kelly types.

As for just going young…you could try that, with the idea that you’d develop players for the future and would probably end up with a high pick. There are some problems. What would you be teaching the young guys? Just giving young guys reps isn’t enough. You need to develop young players by putting them in position to succeed. We’ve seen some teams go young and not develop guys well. I think mixing in some older players is the way to go. Once you get systems in place and established, going young makes more sense. Players are easier to teach because the coaches and other players should know the systems inside-out.

You also aren’t guaranteed to get the player you want. The Colts have had 2 awful seasons in the last 15 years. They landed Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. The Raiders have been mostly awful since 2003 and are still looking for a franchise QB. There are no guarantees that you’ll get the franchise player by going young and struggling.

I understand that most franchise QBs come early in the draft, but I just think it would be a mistake to throw in the towel for something that might happen. I think that sends a terrible message to your team. The Ravens managed to find Joe Flacco in the bottom half of the 1st round. The Niners found Colin Kaepernick in the 2nd. The Seahawks found Russell Wilson in the 3rd. Not all QBs have to come from the Top 5.

It may take an extra year to find a QB if you don’t have a high pick. That certainly makes things harder. I just don’t think it is wise to build plans around a hypothetical situation. What happens if you go young and Teddy Bridgewater tears his ACL and Marcus Mariota stays in school? There might be one QB for 3 or 4 teams.

Focus on what you can control. That’s winning games and developing the talent currently on your roster. You always want to keep an eye to the future, but you can’t plan too far ahead. There are just too many unknowns.

* * * * *

I’ll write about some college QBs that the Eagles might want. I think Vick is gone at the end of the year. He’s older and just isn’t a player you build around anymore. It doesn’t feel like Foles or Barkley are the long term answers. That could change, but if I had to bet right now…I’d say no.

Of course…at midseason last year I thought Vick was on his way out of Philly and Matt Barkley was going to be a Top 10 pick. A lot of things can change.

We’ll see what happens.

_


  • Weapon Y

    Tommy, if you think the correct decision is to let Vick walk next year, at what point do you have to say, “Vick is clearly not the answer now. We need to play Foles and/or Barkley as much as possible, so we can accurately judge if they can be a franchise quarterback.” In other words, when do you pull the plug on Vick? It’s hard to say now because he did very well in Weeks 1-2. For all we know, that might be the norm. If that’s the case, keep Vick and we can give Foles and/or Barkley more time to develop as his successor. But if he keeps playing poopy like he did in Week 3, he can’t stay the starter. The best possible outcome is that Foles/Barkley light it up and become a franchise QB, so we don’t have to spend our 1st round draft pick on another QB. Obviously, we don’t know if that really is what would happen but it would sure be great if it did because we can’t afford to keep depriving the defense of young talent much longer.

    • GvilleEagleFan

      I think the overall tone of Tommy’s piece sort of makes that line pretty clear: you bench Vick when he deserves to be benched. Not to sound flippant, but I think it’s as easy as that. Part (and I would argue possibly the most key part) of this season is getting the current roster to buy in to Chip’s way of doing things and consequently establishing credibility with his players. Look at Greg Schiano with the Bucs. Monday he wasn’t ready to bench Freeman, Wednesday morning Glennon is the starter. How can any of his other players trust him now that he’s shown he’ll lie about his decision making process? Chip has preached all offseason that the players make the depth chart, so if/when it becomes apparent that Vick is getting outplayed in practice and is costing the team games Kelly can and should bench him then.

      • Weapon Y

        Each coach has a different threshold for when they’re willing to bench a player. There are several situations that push this threshold higher and lower. Take this situation: It’s Week 12. The Eagles are still in the playoff hunt, but Vick is very mediocre but not downright awful. You are inclined to avoid extending Vick in 2013, but you fear that if you bench him now, you risk Foles or Barkley being worse than him and costing you a playoff run. On the other hand, you also risk Vick costing you the playoff run and not getting the chance to see Foles or Barkley. It really isn’t cut and dry. It’s all about context. We don’t have quite a big enough sample size yet. By week 6, we probably do. I’m moreso curious on how important Tommy thinks it is to get Foles and/or Barkley some game action to judge if they can be a franchise QB. I’m inclined to view this is as extremely important because the payoff for having them play well is the ability to spend a first round pick on a defensive player, rather than another young QB. To me, the uncertainty at QB is stifling the team’s ability to go all-out at fixing the defense.

    • TommyLawlor

      Vick earned the starting job this summer.

      He keeps it until he struggles on a consistent basis. If the team is out of it late in the year, maybe you bench him for a young guy. Chip never really faced that scenario in college so even he can only speculate on what he’ll do when the situation comes up.

      • Weapon Y

        I agree with that broader idea, but it’s the specifics that complicate things. I can’t help but wonder how we define a consistent basis. Is it 2 bad games? 3? 4? 5? Is Vick even worth keeping if his good games aren’t twice as frequent as his bad games? I’d have to say that’s the minimum standard I’m holding him to, but I’m curious as to how good you think he has to be to consider keeping him next year.

        • ICDogg

          I don’t think it’s broken down that way, nor will it be.

      • ACViking

        T-Law:

        If Vick’s gone after this year, then “Vick earned the . . . job” begs the question of what he’s doing here in the first place.

        Just to win for 1 season? The logic escapes me.

    • SteveH

      I think once you’re out of playoff contention this scenario comes into play. Just my thinking though.

      • P_P_K

        You are spot on. Contention is what defines success in any sport. If we are not going to the playoffs, give the young qbs a shot.

        • Mac

          The other teams in our division will have to start winning games to force us out of the hunt.

          • P_P_K

            I’d stick with Mike until that happens.

  • SteveH

    So Tommy, has the podcast been taken out to the woodshed along with blogging the beast? I love to listen to you guys during my lengthy work commutes, so, there’s at least one person who is suffering because of this!

    • knighn

      Jimmy has said that their schedules have just not meshed up recently. If you mean “one person suffering because of this” I think you’re talking about Jimmy. He just looks hideous when compared to Joan Niesen.

      http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/eagles/The-Hurry-Up-Eagles-Broncos-Preview-.html

      • SteveH

        To be fair, Joan Niesen gets to talk about the Juggernaut Broncos while Jimmy has to discuss the Eagles after that dumpster fire of a game. That probably accounts for the discrepancy in appearances.

        • knighn

          So if the Eagles start doing better we’ll have more attractive people reporting on them?
          Sorry, but Les Bowen and Paul Domo have been around for years… and no matter how good the Eagles were doing those guys never got any better looking!
          BTW: I do kid. I appreciate all that Jimmy brings to the table. Joan’s cute, though. That’s all I’m saying!

          • CrackSammich

            Clearly it’s the chicken or the egg. Perhaps if we get more attractive beat reporters, the team will become juggernauts. I thought this was Mr. Chip No-Stone-Unturned Kelly?

          • SteveH

            Perhaps mrs. Dorenbos is looking to get into reporting!

  • Joe Minx

    The thing that strikes me the most from that SB Nation article is how incredibly desirous his old guys are for him to succeed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach whose former players & coaches, & even former schools & their alumni were so genuinely interested in & happy for him long after he’s gone. That really tells you something about a person.

    • TommyLawlor

      That’s really a great point, Joe. Hadn’t even thought of it that way.

    • ACViking

      Back in 1999, I think the entirety of Eagles Nation circa 1976-82, and every player who wore (the great) Kelly Green during that time, wanted Dick Vermeil’s Rams to win the Super Bowl over the Titans. It was like the Eagles were there . . . almost.

      And when Rams’ LB Mike Jones stopped Titans WR Kevin Dyson a yard short of the goal line at the gun, I felt — as a very long-suffering Eagles fan — that I’d been vindicated . . . and the Rams’ victory belonged to me as much as any Rams fan. Even more to me.

      Beloved figures engender that kind of emotional investment.

    • OregonDucker

      It sure does tell “you something about a person.” We all want Chip to win and win BIG.

  • ICDogg

    On the “How long do you stick with Vick?” question: for the coach and the players, it’s a question of trust. Pulling the plug on Vick is saying to him and the team that Vick should not be trusted to execute the offense. It’s a very serious change to make and unlike the fickle fans, he’s not just going to pull the plug until he believes that he cannot trust Vick to do his job the way that Kelly has asked him to do it.

    • TommyLawlor

      You’re right.

      Chip needs the players to trust him. He has to stay with Vick until it is clear a change is necessary. That situation may not arise this year.

      • ACViking

        But Vick may last 15-16 games and, with this year’s NFL, get the Eagles to the playoffs.

        The “earn trust” logic has the counterpoint that Vick becomes Kelly’s football wife by winning . . . and Vick gets a 3-year deal to be the Eagles’ QB.

        I really can’t see how Vick starts all year (against the dreadful competition that’s out there), performs admirably, and then get cut loose.

        How do the players trust Kelly then?

        • ICDogg

          He’ll be a free agent. Someone else will want to sign him. The players understand that this is a business and that players leave for greener pastures.

          • holeplug

            If Vick leads them to the playoffs and plays well in doing so they will not just let him walk.

          • ACViking

            ICD —

            On the one hand, Kelly can’t be perceived to be — and congratulated for — making decisions intended to gain the players’ trust, e.g., starting the guy who “won” the so-called QB “competition,” but then after that QB has a good season, allowing him to leave. What about the players’ trust?

            If Kelly’s first season was about gaining the players’ trust, then he’s set a poor precedent on decision-making.

            He’s letting the players partly run the proverbial asylum.

            When he should be King of the World.

          • ICDogg

            I guess it depends on how well we’re talking about. I’m not absolutist on this. If he is a top-eight QB this year, why *wouldn’t* we want him back? But he can’t be an average, slightly above-average guy at his age anymore, and expect to be re-signed.

          • GvilleEagleFan

            You’ve hit the crux of problem in this discussion: we all use the phrase “play well” with different meanings. Vick has to play off the charts to justify being kept on a multi-year deal considering his age and injury history. If he plays competently and we make the playoffs but still has games or stretches within games when he holds the ball too long, throws bad picks, etc., then I don’t think the players would revolt against the decision to let him walk. You have to remember that good veterans nearing the end of their careers were let go repeatedly in the Reid era (Dawk, Westy, Hugh, Trotter, etc.) and the players still loved and followed Reid.

            What I can foresee in this situation is Kelly telling Vick that they’ll bring him back on a 1 year guaranteed contract with an optional second year, but that they’re going to draft a QB anyway. No harm in letting the rook get a few games on the sidelines before coming in to play for Vick, a situation a rookie would take to much easier than being sat to learn while a guy much closer to his age (Foles, Barkley) starts a few games. In this scenario, which is totally reasonable from the team’s perspective and easily understood by the players, I would see Vick parting amicably and chasing a multi-year deal somewhere with a more desperate QB situation.

          • Michael Winter Cho

            ACViking, I hope you don’t mind using your post to make a related point. There seems to be a “Suck for Luck” sort of mentality that the way to build a winning team is to tank. There is another way, perhaps epitomized by the Steelers of the last 20 years or so, based on sound performance across the board in the organization. In the NBA it is similar, there are bad teams angling for the top draft pick and Steeler-like organizations that patiently try to build quality and, as the Spurs call it, “corporate knowledge”. Of course you have to have top talent to be a top team–and perhaps the Reid-McNabb playoff teams proved that rule in the inverse (or is it converse, I always get mixed up), but there is definitely a danger of chasing the top draft picks at the expense of good organizational practice. Even if Vick is only good for one year and then walks, if he helped build a cohesive, process-oriented, winning culture, then it was probably worth it.
            Who could have possibly imagined someone could write that about Vick 5 years ago…?

        • Anders

          In that scenario Vick stays, but looking at Vick’s past, that is a the least likely scenario.

  • ICDogg

    I’d really like to see what Barkley will play like a year further removed from the shoulder injury. He might not be as weak as we saw him at training camp.

  • Anders

    Tommy, at what point do you think Cooper might see the bench if he isnt producing in the pass game? I know he is a very valueble blocker, but we need a good outside WR opposite Jackson and Cooper does not seem to get it done (I know Sean Smith was a perfect CB to cover Cooper, but I had still hoped for more)

    • GermanEagle

      The question is rather who would you like to line up on the outside instead? Avant is too small, and Damaris Johnson has played 5 offense snaps in 3 games so far…not many alternatives out there I am afraid.

      • Anders

        Josh Gordon!

        I was actually more thinking 2 TE set. Also how is Avant too small to play outside?

        • GermanEagle

          Sorry, I meant to write too “slow”. Lol

      • Mac

        I would line up Ertz at WR if I had to make a change. As an added bonus we might use Casey more often.

        • Anders

          Agree.

        • GermanEagle

          Casey, who!? ;)

          • Ferris Wren

            That’s my biggest issue with Chip right now. He’s wasting cap space and a roster spot on Casey when he could have signed the Hansen Brothers. Only need one spot since one or the other of them would always be suspended — but what fun.

    • Finlay Jones

      Cooper has performed this year exactly as he has
      for his entire career- good blocker, can’t get any separation AT ALL, but will
      make the odd tough catch while covered. I’m pretty sure Kelly wasn’t expecting
      more from him.

      • Anders

        Most likely not, but for me Cooper has never been more than a good 4th WR on a team and I do not expect him to be more.
        But it sounds like Kelly is happy with Cooper so I guess he wont be replaced soon.

    • TommyLawlor

      Chip was adamant in his PC that Riley Cooper was doing fine. I don’t know if Chip believes that or it is typical coachspeak.

      They will get creative at WR if the passing game struggles in multiple games. KC might be an anomaly.

      • bill

        I think Chip is learning a lesson that took Andy nearly a decade to learn – when you have a QB that doesn’t throw the anticipation routes well (or at all), who needs receivers to need only be open, but to get WIDE open and increasingly so before deciding to make the throw, you need to prioritize speed over size and route-running to a significant extent. Andy finally seemed to catch on when he drafted Desean and Maclin to help cover Donovan’s issues. Chip’s right that Cooper’s not nearly as bad as the Vick fanbois are making him out to be; he’s just an extremely poor match for Vick’s strengths/weaknesses. Which isn’t to say Cooper is an all-pro, just that he’d look a lot better with a QB who can throw the anticipation routes well/consistently. And that’s going to be true of most big NFL WRs – unless you’re going to get extremely lucky/expend significant resources to get a Fitz or Megatron.

      • Iskar36

        I really hope it was coach speak. Cooper is an ok 4th or 5th, but he was never meant to be a starter. It would have been interesting to be a fly in the room when the Eagles went after Benn. Going into the season, Cooper was going to be at best the 3rd WR, maybe 4th (depends on how they really viewed Avant and whether he made the team out of necessity or because he was a guy Chip wanted to keep all along). I think the Benn signing was direct competition for Cooper, and the question is, did the Eagles hope Benn would win the job because Cooper was expendable or did they view it as “might as well add competition and have the best WRs play.”

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Think Chippah will have any interest in Jash Freeman over the off-season?

    • Weapon Y

      As a potential backup QB, I could see that. But there’s no point in taking Freeman to be our starter. I’d rather just extend Vick if Freeman was our alternative.

    • TommyLawlor

      I doubt it. Freeman hurt himself in TB with some of his actions off the field. The QB has to be the leader not only on Sunday, but 24/7/365. I don’t know if Kelly would want a guy who didn’t fully get that.

      • ACViking

        Kelly signed Vick . . . who’d had his own maturity issues before 18 months in a certain Kansas location.

        Why not take a look at Freeman? Let him compete for the job. Maybe Kelly can get him to turn the corner.

        • Anders

          I wouldnt mind bringing him in. Maybe he just needs a change of scenario.

          Remember he is “only” 25 years old and he got proto-typical size and skills for this offense.

          His 2nd year in the NFL was really good and last year wasnt too bad either.

          • ACViking

            On board with you, Anders

          • anon

            at the expense of foles or barkely?

          • Anders

            Have them compete, we had 5 QBs in camp this year

          • A_T_G

            Do you think he will still be available in the off season?

          • Anders

            Freeman? He will be a FA after this season and I think the chance to play in this offence might be really tempting over going to lifeless team.
            I wont be able to demand much in his contract anyway.

  • GermanEagle

    If the Eagles players need food for extra motivation then someone should print the Football Experts’ picks and hang them out in the locker room. Literally NOBODY is picking the Eagles this week…

    • P_P_K

      Nobody is always right.

      • GermanEagle

        Nobody, who?! ;)

    • Mac

      I recommend a really good banana cream pie. That really motivates me!

      • GermanEagle

        Followed by a smoothie?!

    • BlindChow

      I bet, secretly, even the Eagles players aren’t picking the Eagles.

      • GermanEagle

        Apart from Shady..

  • P_P_K

    Why so little love for Foles? When he’s been on the field he’s played well and shown a lot of potential. No one is proposing he’s the next Manning (the good one from the midwest, not the punk from north on the turnpike), but I’d argue he may very well have the goods to be a successful pro qb.

    • anon

      Pre-season backed me off of Foles a little as does the fact that we only have 1 legit receiver.

    • TommyLawlor

      Just talking in terms of likelihood. If I had to bet my money on whether Nick would be a good starting QB…I’d be hesitant to lay down the cash.

      I hope he gets on the field this year so we can see him sink or swim.

      • GermanEagle

        If I was a betting man I’d put money down that the starting QB of next year’s Eagles is currently not on the team.

      • Arby1

        One of the great qualities I think we all saw in Foles last year was his poise and pocket presense. This past summer, not so much.

  • Adam

    Tommy do you have any major concerns about Chip and his approach to the defense? Do you think this year was a matter of “let’s see what we’ve got first” when it comes to adding talent, or is there any concern that maybe Chip doesn’t a think he needs strong defense because his offense can become so good?

    Take the safety spot for example. An extremely bad safety team did little to address this spot in free agency (Chung sure, Phillips was a gamble) and went BPA in a strong safety class. At what point does Chip realize that to be a top NFL team you do need at least some talent and not just JAG’s on defense?

    • TommyLawlor

      The entire NFL is short of Safeties. Is there one good one in the entire NFC East?

      The Eagles did focus on defense in FA. They didn’t sign mega-stars, but that may due to getting burned by big name FAs in recent years.

      The draft was a fluid situation. I think Chip might have preferred Dion Jordan to Lane Johnson, but the Dolphins killed that idea. Chip can’t be happy with the D right now. He’ll add pieces in the offseason.

      • anon

        We could be 3-0 with a marginally better D. I do think they’ll get better as the season goes along, think they’ve gotten better after the Chargers game, well see what happens in Denver, but seems like they at least are playing hard. Sad to see hat Chung/Kendricks account for half of the teams missed tackles. I think Chung’s #1 selling point was his tackling.

        • Iskar36

          I’ll be honest, I think the team has tried to oversell Chung. He is an ok player, and I have no problem seeing him starting, but throughout the PS and TC, we kept hearing how much they like Chung. To me, he is an average safety, no better, no worse.

          • ACViking

            Belichick — who’s been searching for safeties longer than the Eagles — let him walk.

            About as big a “Caveat emptor” sign as you could ask for.

          • anon

            you can say that about all of our offseason acquisitions.

          • Anders

            Belichick have actually found a good one in McCourty

      • Adam

        I realize the entire NFL is short on safeties, but I don’t take that as an excuse for a team with so much surplus cap room. I’m not saying spend for the sake of spending but at some point a team has to realize that maybe overpaying for a talented player at a position they’ve been abysmal at for so many years isn’t a terrible idea. And yes, I realize that’s what we tried to do with Nnamdi, but it shouldn’t completely turn off Howie from signing bigger name players.

        • SteveH

          I mean… what superstar safety would you have signed this offseason?

          • Adam

            Doesn’t have to be a superstar. Delmas, Moore, Quin, Goldson, Landry. I realize some of these guys resigned with old squads but we had the cap room to beat some of these offers. The fact that Nate Allen is still on the roster, let alone starting, is extremely discouraging.

  • Ben Hert

    Two things:

    1. I mentioned it in a comment yesterday, but I feel like Barkley has become a complete afterthought for really no reason except the hype of the Chip Kelly offense in action. If this three years ago with Andy, we’d all be mumbling about Barkley, how we can’t wait to see him with a year of NFL coaching under his belt, and all the changes he’s made to his throwing form, etc. I think all those things still hold true, regardless of the lack of attention he’s getting (seriously, remember when there were approximately 5-6 Barkley interviews and stories a day at the beginning of training camp? I haven’t seen one on him since about late July). The kid has the intangibles to turn into a good QB. Like I said yesterday, Chip and Howie are smart guys, and they didn’t burn a 3rd round pick on a QB in a year when they had multiple holes all over the team for some guy who is going to be a perennial backup. They see something in this kid that makes him a great fit for Chip’s offense, and I think I can see it too after watching it for a couple of games

    2. I know this is a complete pipe dream, but I would love for Vick to learn how to slide. There seems to be several times each game where Vick has the opportunity to bust out for a 6-8 yard gain, but he knows if he’s making that run he’s going to get blasted, so he sits back in the pocket and tries to make throws. If he learned how to slide, he could easily make a lot more of those crucial runs that keep the defense honest, without having to worry about the hits he’d take without sliding.

    • BlindChow

      Barkley was a 4th Rounder.

      • Ben Hert

        Good catch. Updated.

        • ICDogg

          Out of sight, out of mind for Barkley for now. But I think there’s some promise there. I think he needs Evan Mathis to hook him up with his core strength workout, maybe he can get a little more power behind his throws.

          • anon

            It’ll be nice to see what he’s done by pre-season next year. He looked pretty terrible this year, not just accuracy and arm strength but ball placement. Foles definately looked better. I think we keep Vick until we find something better. He’ll only be better in the system next year and with Maclin or another weapon…

          • ICDogg

            It’s just a suspicion of mine but he did just come off of a shoulder injury, and I’m not sure he was really ready to play yet. I’ve seen college games of his where he was better than that.

  • ACViking

    Re: Kelly’s Kinda Pregnant Season

    Three cross-currents underlay this Eagles’ team.

    One is the prevailing premise that Vick’s gone after this season.

    The second is Kelly’s an offensive genius.

    The third is Kelly’s reliance on veterans at a couple of positions where the Eagles have very young, highly drafted players getting splinters.

    As to the first two, one surely can ask, “If Kelly’s a genius and his scheme so unstoppable, why did Michael Vick need to be brought back if he’s only getting cut loose next year?”

    The whole “competition” thing — given the some folks’ predictions on Vick’s longevity in green — is beside the point and begs the question of how do you want to build a football team to win for the long haul if you plan on cutting your starting QB after season 1.

    As for “going young,” I think the premise, as T-Law describes it, is too absolutist.

    I’ve never believe that every player with more than 3 years NFL experience needed to be cut. All I’ve ever suggested is three specific players — the 35th player in the 2013 draft, the 59th pick in the 2012 draft, and the 13th pick in the 2010 draft should all be getting more playing time.

    As for QB, Kelly brought Vick back for two related reasons, it seems to me.

    One is, Kelly wants to win now. The other is Kelly never thought Foles could run his offense the way he wants it run — that is, in a way that lets Kelly could win now. (And I don’t see Foles running next year in a manner that lets Kelly win “now.”)

    The logic of how cutting Vick loose after this year helps Foles, or Barkley, or someone who’s never been in this offense escapes me if the idea is to build a team that wins for the next 5 years — not this year.

    Jimmy Johnson — using a cast of leftover veterans because he couldn’t replace everyone — threw rookie Troy Aikman, 2nd year WR Michael Irvin, and rookie FB Moose Johnston into the starting line up and left them there.

    Johnson’s view, as I recall it, was that the best way to develop talented players was to get them experience.
    _________________

    I’ve never said the Eagles should tank the season — like the NBA’s Houston Rockets did to get UVA 7’4″ center Ralph Sampson back in ’83 (leading to the lottery).

    But on the premise — or prediction of some that Vick’s gone after this season — I’m not convinced that winning now to “sell” the scheme is especially convincing.

    Chip Kelly has a 5-year contract. There’s not a player on the Eagles who has that kind of security. If players didn’t buy-in, then too bad.

    But my impression, with all the Kelly’s-a-genius talk, is his offense would sell itself.

    As for the defense — Kelly’s no CEO, like Jimmy Johnson was. Kelly, so far, is a very good O.C. who’s a head coach.

    • Anders

      Remember the Eagles are not cutting Vick. They might simply not give him a new contract.

      I do not buy the notion that Kelly didnt thought Foles could run this offense, because that implies he is lying. Go read his comments about Foles, both before and after he got him as his QB. I just think Kelly hadnt seen enough of Foles yet and because Kelly believes in competition, he tought it was the best idea to bring Vick back.

      Regarding the young players. If we believe Kelly, Celek, Cooper and Avant is out playing their younger counterparts on offense and regarding Graham and Curry, they have not yet fully grasped the scheme implemented.
      One could argue that Davis should instead bend his base scheme (remember this) to fit two young players, but why do that when guys like Cole, Thorton and Cox have fully grasped it?

      • BlindChow

        Yeah, if Kelly had no faith in Foles, they would have traded him.

        • ACViking

          Maybe there were no takers at a 3rd Rd or higher.

          Roseman — after being the beneficiary of Laurie’s apologia — wouldn’t want to look like he blew another high pick after 1 season, right.

          And are we really to believe everything we read in the virtual newspapers?

      • ACViking

        First, I think I used the phrase “cutting him loose” — which is the same as “letting him walk” or “not giving him a new contract.”

        Second, coaches lie all the time — even Chip Kelly.

        Throwing the “Competition” argument out just distracts from the more fundamental question of “WHY IS VICK HERE IF HE’S NOT GOING TO BE NEXT YEAR?”

        Kelly’s smart. The competition mantra’s a wonderful sop for the masses to say, “see, he just wants the best performing players to play . . . .” But the competition mantra is likewise a distraction when used deftly — as Kelly’s used it.

        As for the defense, who else was going to play D-line besides Cox and Thornton?

        As for Cole v. Graham v. Curry, all I’ve heard since last year is — despite the 10s of millions of dollars the Eagles are under the cap (I think, at least) — Cole’s “too expensive to cut.” What does that mean? He’s eat up cap money this year? He’ll eat up carry-over cap money next year? So what. The Eagles are always under the cap . . . by a lot it seems.

        Graham? Frankly, I think the Eagles missed with that pick. Curry? I’d love to see him getting Cole’s snaps.

        But I’m just a fan looking for a general theory that coherently explains this team — sort of like Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

        • Anders

          Cole is 1.1 million more expensive to cut than too keep, but with the cutting of Watkins, they showed that they do not care about dead money if the player is not performing.

          Cole is performing this season. I bet you 100% that if he does not produce enough, that he is gone next season (and he is gone after 2014 unless he takes a heavy paycut)

          Regarding why Vick is here if he aint here next year?
          Vick could be here next year, problem is Vick’s past suggest he wont based on two things:

          1) He is to inconsistent for Kelly and therefor is benched
          2) He gets injured and misses 2-4 games.

          Both scenarios (or a combination) most likely means Vick is not brought back next year because they both go against what Kelly wants long term out of his QB.

        • ICDogg

          I’d like Curry to get Cole’s snaps too but as long as his primary position is DE in a 3-4, that’s not going to happen.

          Cole and Graham do have contracts that make it more expensive against the cap to drop them than keep them aboard. Unless you just don’t want them around anymore, or they’re getting too much in the way, you may as well keep them.

          As far as a general theory, I think he’s got goals he wants to work towards, but for now it’s just “make it work.”

        • OregonDucker

          ACViking – re Einstein = E=mc squared.
          Chip takes non-franchise players and makes them winners. He does not stack the deck with premium talent. Thus, he really does adapt the system to the personnel. Don’t mistake the fact that he makes good players great – re LaMichael James; Blount; Maehl; etc.

          The qualities of football IQ, accuracy, turnover prevention, practice dedication, and quick release are premium qualities for a Chip QB. Mobility is a big plus but not a necessity. Personally, I think Vick is on thin ice. He better not have a few more turnover fests. Chip is not going to demote a starting QB because of one game but make it a trend and goodbye.

          Many writers who know Chip well say he is no Einstein. They point to his love of football, stupendous memory, and blue collar work ethic. He uses what he’s got and makes it great because he knows how.

          • ACViking

            Okay . . . that’ll work!

    • BlindChow

      I think there’s an advantage to using the QB who can most approximate how you want your offense to be run: speedy on the ground, big arm, etc. It gets everyone else on offense into the rhythm you intend to use, reducing the learning curve when that QB is eventually replaced by a younger guy with similar qualities.

      I think Kelly could adapt the offense to better fit Foles or Barkley, but I think if he had a choice, it’s the Vick offense he’d prefer (and in the future, a QB not currently on the roster). I don’t know how much different a Foles-based offense would look, but if it was too different, reinstalling the faster, deeper Vick offense with a new QB a year from now might not be as smooth if everyone else was in tune with a slower, weaker QB.

      Not sure if this is his M.O., but it appears to be similar to how the team is approaching the transition to a 2-gap 3-4 scheme.

      • ACViking

        BC . . .

        I agree — and scratch my head a bit over the Barkley pick.

        Just in the first 3 games, we’ve seen the import of a QB’s wheels on maximizing the offense’s production.

        Were Kelly’s philosophy like that of the former great Colts OC Tom Moore — Peyton Manning’s first and longest OC — then the choice of Barkley would make great sense in this crazy quilt.

        But Kelly’s the anti-Moore, generally speaking (it seems).

        • Anders

          That is not true. Kelly wants a fast decision maker, one there do not turn the ball over and have good accuracy.

          This is why Vick many didnt think VIck had a chance to win the competition.

          So far Vick is not quite fast, protective and accurate enough, but he brings other things too the table.

          • ACViking

            A —

            Seems like there’s more to the choice than just a quick mind and fast gun. But those are definitely a part of the decision (I think) — so I agree about that.

    • Arby1

      I think Vick could be back for a few more years. He’s in the best shape of his life, he spent 2 years in jail and not on the field making him younger than his years, etc. Now, of course, if we happen to have a top 10 pick in next year’s draft, none of that may matter. A lot depends on which Vick shows up for the rest of the season: 2010 and the 1st 2 games of 2013 Vick or the 2011/2012 and 3rd game of 2013 Vick………………..stay tuned!

  • ACViking

    Re: M0rton

    I am not him. Just to be clear.

    Only the devil’s advocate today.

    • Anders

      Only today? :P

      Seems you are not totally on board with Kelly’s methods and that is perfectly fine. I will say tho, cant we wait too maybe year 2 before we question every little roster move? :)

      • ACViking

        In my role as advocate for the “other side,” my focus is on his philosophy — as manifest by his personnel choices.

        As I wrote before, there are some cross-currents in what he’s doing, so I’m trying to flesh out a “general theory.”
        ___________

        OregonDucker has spoken to my Einstein-ian quest.

        • Anders

          I do not see those cross-currents, but we two clearly disagree about the point of having Vick as the starter.

          • ACViking

            I used the term “cross-currents” after . . . setting my first premise as “Kelly and Roseman do not intend to have Vick return next next year,” and second Kelly wants to win now.

            Conversely, Kelly’s been insistent that Davis run a 2-gap 3-4 despite what most of us seem to perceive as a bad fit between the talent and scheme.

            As a result, we’re left to infer that Kelly wants to sift through his defensive players for the pieces that’ll fit *NEXT* year.

            These behaviors seem in conflict to me.
            ________________

            By the way, I’m not contending Vick isn’t better for Kelly’s system.

            I’m just trying to untangle what I see as conflicting motivations and actions.

          • Anders

            Well I think the 3-4 2 gap thing is overblown, consider we have seen plenty 1 gap by the DL. I mean Curry got his first sack against the Chiefs when he was playing like a 4-3 DE on the outside shoulder over the RT.

          • ACViking

            I don’t know. Tommy Lawlor’s of the view that Davis is running a 2-gap 3-4 defense, essentially.

            And to repeat (in case you missed my edit above) . . .

            I’m not contending Vick isn’t better for Kelly’s system than Foles. He is.

            I’m just trying to untangle what I see as conflicting motivations and actions.

          • Anders

            yes we are running a 2-gap scheme as base defense, but in nickle situations (should be called base nowadays) we are most likely 1 gapping or mixing up front.

            Honestly I do not know if Foles wouldnt be better than Vick. Sure the explosive QB runs and super explosive deep ball would be gone, but Foles is much better at anticipating throws.

            Take Vick’s int thrown towards Celek, that play happened because Vick was Vick and he hesitated, I think Foles would have had the ball out faster.

          • ACViking

            Foles is a kid . . . and, as a kid, stare-downs are the biggest problem.

            (Peyton Manning threw 28 INTs his rookie year — and, after 16 full games under his belt, he sure got that bad habit out of his system.)

            But you raise a point central to a signficant part of how this season will be viewed — now, and 10 weeks from now — i.e., what’s best *in the long run* for the Eagles’ QB position.

          • RichF

            I think there’s a third piece, and that’s the “program” piece. So on starting Vick: you could argue that he gives us the best chance to win now based on our roster. Probably true. He’s not going to be our long-term solution. Also true. But he won the starting job by outplaying the other guys.

            With no way to confirm the motivation – I think that’s the key. He wants the guys on his roster – in his program to know that he will always dress the best player available (unless his name is vinny curry). I don’t think it’s a choice between win now, or go young and get your guys reps for the future. I think the philosophy is give the ball to the players who earned a starting spot, even when tanking for a pick or cleaning house and getting rookies more reps might be better in the future.

            If he is consistent, and focuses on a program that promotes the most talented / best conditioned or prepared players, it sends a much better message then cleaning house and hoping that you get a franchise player and not a JaMarcus Russell in the next draft.

            Way too long a reply, but I think the philosophy is consistent, it just doesn’t fit into the two choice view of “win now” or “suck for luck” that we usually see in he nfl.

          • ACViking

            “Best Player Available” is a relative — and entirely hollow — term.

            Sometimes it means the best guy on a SB-ready team. Harbaugh chose Kaepernick over Smith.

            Sometimes it means the player with the higher potential upside despite almost no experience. That would again be Harbaugh chosing Kaepernick.

            Sometimes it just means, I want to win today — and I’ll worry about next season when it gets here.

            That’s Roseman and Kelly signing Vick in February.
            ____________

            I’m not arguing Vick isn’t doing some good work.

            Just digging into the decision-making process.

          • RichF

            I’m totally with you. I think you’ve had to spend waay too much time on this thread pointing out that you aren’t anti-vick.

            But I don’t see keeping vick as purely a win-now decision, I think he’s the closest option to implement the offense, and so, by keeping vick, he could implement his system now, instead of burning a year with an offense better suited to foles or barkley or some guy off the street. I dunno, I think an argument can be made that keeping Vick short term has more to do with a long-term outlook than just giving the best shot at winning now.

          • Anders

            How is it going for that Kaepernick kid right now compare to Alex Smith? :P

            Regarding signing Vick in Feb. I think we have talked about this a lot before. Kelly wanted competition for the QB spot.

            I really think you are overlooking that part. Bring in competition, let the best man win and let him play no matter age, history etc.

            That was how he did it in college. Maybe that line of thinking does not work in the NFL because you can be more shortsighted in college because of most players max playing 3 years.

          • BlindChow

            I think Kelly thinks he can win with great offense and substandard defense, which is why he might be less concerned with scheming the defense to his players at this point.

            But there is consistency with Kelly if he is installing the schemes he wishes to wind up with: mobile, big armed QB on offense, 2-gap 3-4 on Defense. Vick just happens to fit the former, while we have very few players that fit the latter.

      • Ark87

        It’s a healthy skepticism. In short, question everything but close no doors.

        Chip bucks a lot of conventional wisdom. ACV can’t avoid the process of critical thinking just because he likes the guy.

        Or perhaps his true intent, making sure we don’t avoid critical thinking because WE like the guy either.

        • Anders

          My point is we are 3 game into the season. Normally you give a rookie player sometime to adjust, shouldnt we give a rookie NFL HC some adjustment time?

          • Homer Frizzell

            Anders,
            You’re talking about Eagles fans.

          • Anders

            This is still the most sane and well thought Eagles fans I know :)

          • Homer Frizzell

            I agree. Mostly.

          • Ark87

            And we criticize rookies too. They all have that “welcome to the NFL” moment. It’s ok to critique, as we do here. It doesn’t mean we are writing anybody off and whipping out the “BUST” stamp. I don’t think anybody is writing Chip off here either.

            Regardless of how anybody predicts year 1 will go for Chip, or how it really does go, good or bad, it isn’t necessarily indicative of the rest of Chip’s tenure here.

            What I do know is everybody here wants him to succeed.

      • Iskar36

        Personally, I love hearing the counter-arguments. ACViking has never crossed the line of being unreasonable or rude in his comments, and in my opinion, if we are going to acknowledge all the positives that we see with Chip, I think it is important to also acknowledge all the negatives. Those things can and will change; some of the things we see as positives will become negatives while some of the negatives we discus will prove to be positives. But to me, I find being overly positive as frustrating as being overly negative. The reality is always in the middle and as long as it can be discussed reasonable, it is a worthwhile discussion.

        • Anders

          I have come with several counter arguments to why Kelly brought back Vick and why it all makes sense in the long run.

  • ACViking

    Anders . . . you’re a good advocate. And a generous one, too.

    • Anders

      Just ask GEagles and GermanEagle, I see the postive in every player and every coach if they are on my team.
      Tho I do have a limit, crappy attitude like DRC and NA will fell my wrath, but if a player is atleast doing his best, I will believe in him until the end.

      I wasnt a fan back then, but I would most likely be the only guy looking at any positives with Rich Kottie and Ray Rhodes (btw maybe we should just have Rhodes to draft for us? he did give us Staley, Thomas, Trotter and Dawkins)

      • ACViking

        Good and fair starting points.

        As for Rhodes, he’s tenure also brought us Mayberry and CB Troy Vincent.

        HOWEVER . . . Rhodes personally — perhaps non-compos mentis — selected DE Jon Harris in Rd 1. Then called him the next Too Tall Jones.

        A huge swing and a miss. (Bad pun, too.)

        • Anders

          I can forgive a swing and a miss if that guy at least can draft a HOF. For his worth AR never drafted a HOF (Doubt McNabb ever gets in) and actually lived long on the foundation brought in by Rhodes (tho McNabb, Westy, S Brown and Runyan was also the backbone some very success full teams)

    • Anders

      Also this is why I love this blog. There is no name calling even if we disagree :)

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    “some people walk to work, others take their lunch”