Kelly and the Roster

Posted: September 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 90 Comments »

Chip Kelly doesn’t like hypotheticals. He prefers to deal with what he knows. You can see this in the way he built the roster.

There is no question that Russell Shepard has more potential than Jeff Maehl. I think even Mama and Papa Maehl would agree with that. But Maehl is the more polished player right now. Maehl caught 178 passes and 24 TDs at Oregon. Shepard caught 58 passes and 5 TDs at LSU. Maehl is a proven WR (at the college level). Shepard is still a project. Think about the preseason. In 4 games, Shepard caught 3 passes for 42 yards. Maehl was here just 2 weeks and was 8-61 in the Jets games.

Maehl was an outstanding blocker at Oregon. I haven’t studied his blocking with the Eagles so far. Shepard was pretty good, but still had his rookie moments. Shepard stood out as a gunner on STs. He still had some moments when he ran around blocks, but his effort was outstanding.

What Chip told us by keeping Maehl is that he wants guys he can count on right away. We also saw this in the move to keep Damion Square and put Joe Kruger on IR. Kruger is bigger (in terms of his frame), more athletic and more naturally gifted. Square is the better player right now.

We can discuss the merits of the philosophy, but I think the key is in understanding it and how Kelly thinks.

The Patriots have a saying that they aren’t collecting talent, but rather building a team. And that’s exactly what Chip Kelly is doing. His goal isn’t to choose the most talented 53 individuals. Kelly is looking for the right combination of 53 players. We all have our thoughts on which 53 guys we want the Eagles to keep. We know who we like.

Chip Kelly is the world’s leading expert in building a Chip Kelly football team. He knows what he wants. He’s watched these players all summer and has a strong feel for which guys can help him lay the foundation for his team. Remember that Kelly isn’t a typical coach. He has a total concept for his players – fitness, rest, nutrition, etc. Kelly has very specific ideas on how to build and run a football program.

Kelly will make some bad decisions. That’s just the reality of being an NFL coach. The key is for him to make more right than wrong and to hit on the big decisions.

Let’s also remember that the last 2 years the Eagles loaded up on individual talent. The problem was that those players weren’t all ideal fits for the scheme. The players also didn’t fit well together. Kelly is trying to find players that fit the schemes and that can fit in well to his overall system. He wants a tough, physical, productive, cohesive team.

Starting on Monday, we’ll find out if that’s what he built.

* * * * *

Danny Watkins signed with the Dolphins. Good luck to Danny and his new team.

* * * * *

The Eagles signed S Keelan Johnson and OL Isaac Remington to the practice squad.

Johnson has good size and is a talented DB.

Remington is here as a practice player. He was a DL at Oregon and through the spring and early summer. Remington has good size and he’s a physical player. I don’t know if he can develop as an OL. I’d think of him as a G.

* * * * *

_


  • SteveH

    Any thoughts on Jo-lonn Dunbar Tommy? I don’t know much about the guy except that he was productive last year. Can’t imagine the Rams let him go just because of the four game suspension, unless they thought his production was directly related to the reason for the suspension.

    I see CK’s win now mentality, I understand it, I can appreciate it, but I still think it would be best for the team in the long run to stash some of these young bubble guys on the roster, rather than risk losing them on waivers (see Shepperd, Russel and Mccoy, Chris). Sure, odds are they never develop into starting caliber players, but sometimes players like them do, and lets face it, we’re not winning the super bowl this year regardless of how many win now Jeff Maehl types we have.

    And I’m not sure the Goode move over Acho makes sense in win now or build for the future mode. 10 to 1 it ends up not mattering at all, but if you were to pick a long shot to turn into a player, I’d have to imagine Acho would be the guy right?

    • DanJ3645

      From a long term point of view Kelly needs to win now, or at least be competitive in most of the games this year.
      He is making several fairly radical changes in the way he is running the team. Lots of commentators have talked about how the players have bought in so far, but the caveat is always there of “what happens when the Eagles lose?”
      By keeping the back end of the roster ‘strong’ for this season it will give him a better chance of the squad staying bought in to his ideas and methods.

      • eagleyankfan

        So – you’re saying — CK wants to win now in order to attract more talent in the future? As opposed to keep players now that may be able to contribute to the team in the future?

        • JettMartinez

          Not just attract future talent, but keep the starters on the current roster engaged. Many of the players that tuned out on Reid last year are still here. If the losses start piling up and they’re not competing/improving they may start tuning out on Kelly and his newfangled ways as well. Of course it shouldn’t be that way with athletes getting paid millions, but it is reality.

          • DanJ3645

            Yes – the top of the roster is most important. Odds are that is where the difference makers are.
            Every year there are UDFAs that have potential.

            Without the top end of the roster performing and buying into the program its wont matter who is number 53 on the roster. They wont have the environment to be the 1 in a hundred who turns into a star.

          • Michael Winter Cho

            Psychology is a fascinating wild card. I recently read Seven Seconds or Less (about the 2006 Suns), and it’s just shocking how much personalities matter!

  • GermanEagle

    Since the official Eagles depth chart is out I am giving it a try to project the 7 INACTIVE players for our season opener against the Skins:
    QB Matt Barkley
    OL Matt Tobin
    WR Jeff Maehl
    DL Damion Square
    ILB Najee Goode
    CB Brandon Hughes
    CB Shaun Prater
    I am really undecided between having 3 active QBs on gameday or undressing Barkley. If the Eagles go down the safer route by dressing Barkley then I could see Jake Knott being the 7th inactive player.

    • deg0ey

      I think they brought in Goode to be Meco’s primary backup – switch Knott and Goode and I agree with you completely.

      • Andy124

        Not by week 1 though.

      • GermanEagle

        Not sure if Goode’s familiar with the playbook enough though.

        • deg0ey

          A reasonable concern, but I think they’d make up for it with simple play calls in the unfortunate event that Ryans got injured.
          I’m not convinced that Knott is here as anything more than a developmental guy that will never be active during the season, but I guess we’ll see.

          • GermanEagle

            I agree with Andy124 (see below). Activating Goode in week 1 might be too early.

          • GEagle

            Did we really have to worry about Knott being claimed off waivers? I like the kid a heckuva a lot, but would have much prefered seeing him land on the PS, or “tweak” his shoulder in the 4th quarter of the 4th game and join Krugs on IR…..I do KNOTT want to lose KNOTT, but I don’t know that We needed to make him part of the 53

    • Gary

      Only 4 active corners, with Poyer being the 4th? I think Prater has to be active until Hughes is ready to go.

      • D3FB

        Chung can play in the slot on dime and nickel packages, and Coleman can be an emergency corner.

      • GermanEagle

        Same case with Knott over Goode. The lack of playbook knowledge may hurt Prater in the beginning of the season.

    • GEagle

      I kind of think Squares will dress and get snaps in the rotation. if we wanted to sit a Lineman I’d sit Gaethers…no idea what the eagles will do tho

      • Anders

        Geathers is in front of Square on the depth chart for that is worth

        • GEagle

          Maybe to start the season…Gaethers is too inconsistent and Squares goes too hard IMO to not supplant Gaethers at some point

          • Anders

            Square might be consistent, but I still think he is consistent worse than Geathers

          • GEagle

            In 5 seasons Gaethers hasn’t done anything close to enough to make me say that he is better then any rookie Dlinemen on an NFL roster….Gaethers could be, but he had years already TO BE…Heck I wouldn’t mind being wrong..If I had to chose an underachiever who I would like to see the lightbulb finally go on for, a Monster of a Man like him has to be at the top of my list…but other then 1 series in the preseason I haven’t seen much to give me hope regarding him….Even a polished rookie like Squares IMO is expected to improve more then a guy who has been in the league for 5 years…

    • Arby1

      I believe you want to say “not dressing Barkley.” “undressing Barkley” is something best left for his girlfriend.

      • Andy124

        Wife.

        • BlindChow

          Why not both!

          • GEagle

            Barkley: “I gotta main chick, a mistress and a young chick…forget it, I’m the Don(and not in the worm killer sort of way)”

      • GermanEagle

        ;)

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    The kind of game Kelly seems to want to play makes having 46 guys who can contribute every week more important than in other systems. other teams will find this to.be true when playing the Eagles, and if Chip can outplan them in August, he will have another small advantage in September through January.
    In chess, wins are made by the accumulation of many small advantages. Chip looks.to be doing a similar thing here.

    • ACViking

      What exactly are those contributions that make Kelly’s 46 better from, say, the 49ers’ game-day roster? Or the Steelers?

      Special teams?

      A TE who can play H-Back or split out wide?

      I’m not seeing it, but I’d welcome more discussion and correction.

      • Daniel Norman Richwine

        I’m glad you asked. Chip is very thorough, and believes in a unifying vision to everything he does. Furthermore, he believes the science of excercise has not been fully applied and exploited in football.
        Chip believes that by running at a fast pace, he can have an advantage if he developes his players so they will he able.to sustain that pace. This is where the conditioning, rest, shakes, etc comes in. He also knows that more plays = greater chance of injury, and to mitigate this he plans to use his backups more, both to reduce wear and tear on the starters and also in case the starters get injured. His overall vision relies heavily on playing the bench players more than most coaches.
        With this in mind, he is choosing players who.can functionally play now over higher ceiling guys who are less developed now. To the extent that other coaches have not done this, he will have a small advantage when his prepared backups play against yourhigh ceiling but less prepared.backups in his up tempo.scheme.

        • ACViking

          Understand your argument. Very helpful!

        • OregonDucker

          Well said. My observation as well.

  • Weapon Y

    Tommy, I can definitely now see why Maehl got the spot ahead of Shepard. I didn’t really see an Oregon bias in keeping Casey Matthews. I liked him better than Knott, but not as much as Acho. I did think I saw it with Maehl, but now I’m assured there’s a real football reason behind the move. If you don’t mind, I will correct you on one thing in the article: “Kruger is bigger.” Actually, Kruger is 269 lbs., while Square is 286 lbs. If you mean that he’s taller, you’d be correct. Kruger has 3 inches on Square.

    • GermanEagle

      I still think (see my post below) that Maehl will be inactive on most gamedays, barring any injury to one of our top 4 WR.

  • eagleyankfan

    the roster has NOTHING to do with coach connections at Oregon. So we should stop saying that. Oh, another player from Oregon going to the practice squad? He’s just an DL playing OL. That’s good. I see the logic there. I’m thinking the OL coach from Oregon would make a great defensive coordinator too.

    “Chip Kelly is the world’s leading expert in building a Chip Kelly football team.” — that statement is clearly meant for the college level. He’s not a “leading” anything in the nfl. Not yet anyway ;).

    • GEagle

      Don’t you know
      . Remmington practiced twice with the Oline…he is “versatile”

    • BlindChow

      I doubt the Oregon connections are “nothing.” At the very least, Chip’s deeper knowledge of former Ducks gives him a bit more insight into what they can do, how “coachable” they are, etc. Sometimes nepotism isn’t completely unmerited.

      • GEagle

        We added another Duck(Blair) to our PS this morning

        • eagleyankfan

          you mean — another ex-duck that 31 other nfl teams has no interest in? Good thing he’s here. pheewww, that was a close one.

          • GEagle

            Where is his versatility or ST value?…I would have rather signed 8 DBs to the practice squad and hope that two pan out lol

  • eagleyankfan

    I will say, I’m ready for some football. The depth chart makes me want to puke so I’ll just focus on the starters(accept Safety). As long as they stay healthy — we’re good to go and in the right direction. This offense should be something to watch. Sustain drives keeps the D rested and it keeps the other offense off the field. I can’t wait to see what’s being kept “secret” on offense. Same thing with the defense. What kind of blitz packages will we see? Will we, for the first time in a few years, see a corner come up and whack a rb? How about more sacks? Maybe even a few int’s. Can’t wait!!!
    Watching the nfl channel, all except 1, predicted Eagles in last place. Interesting.

    • GermanEagle

      “Watching the nfl channel, all except 1, predicted Eagles in last place. Interesting.”
      What did you expect?!

      • eagleyankfan

        I expected Baldy to step up and he did. Picked the Eagles to win the division! That’s what I’m talking about!!!!

        • GEagle

          Can’t wait to watch. Defense punch teams in the mouth!!! I’m getting so Jacked up, I feel like weapon X on gameday

          • Mitchell

            I really hope we can generate more turnovers than last year but it shouldn’t be that difficult considering we only had 13….. that’s .81 per game. Just awful.

          • GEagle

            yeah I don’t even see how it would be possible to not improve on last year….When you hit rock bottom, only place to go is up

  • Tumtum

    I have not thought about it in these terms. Its different and fresh. Put guys on the team who can contribute now if called on. No more getting by on potential. If you think about it over the years guys who have come from the bottom to the top have always been ready to contribute right away anyway. Nick Cole, Jamal Jackson, Trent Cole, Greg Lewis, Joselio Hanson and the list goes on..

    • Tumtum

      To add to that guys with potential who didn’t pan out… Curtis Marsh (still here), Bryan Smith, Dixon, on and on and on

      • Corry

        Marsh was waived in favor of Prater (I think).

  • Wilbert M.

    This is a great perspective. Some of the roster moves have puzzled me, but the line from the Patriots makes sense. Chip is the chef, he needs to pick the ingredients he feels are right.

  • GEagle

    It came to me last night, what the Eagles must do……..trade for Matt Flynn!!!

    you give 5million to Flynn, and a starting young Qb magically appears on your roster!!! Trading for Flynn would turn Foles and Barkley into Montana and Young….DO IT HOWIE! Do It, Barry Finkle says DO IT!! Johnny Walker Neat…Do It!!!!

  • GEagle

    Surprised we didn’t take a look at Boyett…I liked the kid at Oregon, he played hurt and made plays and not in the Kurt Coleman “I make plays” sort of way…then again, I would take a look at every single safety available lol

    • ACViking

      On the small side. Not especially athletic. And injured.

      Great instincts, though, apparently.

    • OregonDucker

      Boyett = bad character. Talented but has issues.

  • #10for6

    Just wanted to pass this along. A nice video to get everybody pumped up for Eagles football. http://www.flyeaglesfly.com

    Enjoy

  • GEagle

    Going into the season, 3 attainable things I hope to see starting in Washington:
    ..
    1) Play Discaplined penalty footy footy football. We are not good enough to overcome continuously shooting ourselves in the foot. Win the penalty battle by a good margin and we could find ourselves in some ball games.
    ..
    2) I see No reason whatsoever as to why we can’t be a top 10 ST unit starting week 1 in DC, especially with Henrey kicking balls thru the back of the ENDZONE, and Donnie pinning teams inside the 10 with his directional punting as long as guys like Damaris clean up the mistakes. gain less yards if it means securing the ball.

    3) Offense needs to clean up the turnovers or we don’t stand a chance. Inside the 10 I think Chip will rely on Shady and take the ball out of Vicks hands…Would love to see Vick Dink and Dunk his way to a long Foles type methodical drive, and then go two backs inside the 10 with Bryce and Shady. Defenses will have to figure out 4 times in a row which back is really getting the ball and then stop it…With Peters on the field, I like our chances…Who knows, later in the year when lane is fully acclimated, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him lineup next to Jason Peters as a TE on goal line…..I don’t worry as much about Bryce fumbling inside the 10 when he is running between the tackles on short yard or getting to the outside, turning the corner and beating 1 guy into the End-zone….It’s when he gets a head f steam and starts swinging the ball on long runs that worry me…Shady and Peters give us a chance at being a good Red zone team which has been rare around here…and we are fortunate enough to have a coach in place that will take every advantage of that.

    • Anders

      Agree with all 3 points (btw regarding Peters, have you seen this: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/word-muth/2013/word-muth-previewing-eagles ?)

      I would ad a 4th.

      4) force some turnovers on defense and dont get burned for any big plays in both the run and pass game

      • GEagle

        I actually didn’t see it…thanks for the lunch time read.

        I actually contemplated including your 4th, but figud we haven’t seen enough of it yet for me to call it an attainable goal, especially after last year…I actually agree with it, and I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with our bend but don’t break get off the field on third and force some field goals, and I don’t even see how it would be possibly to not improve on forcing Turnovers from last year…but I felt the majority would disagree with my optimism so it wasn’t fair of me to include it on the attainable list, but I certainly agree with you…

        • Anders

          We still need to force some turnovers on D to stop teams.

          We aint a team like the Niners or Hawks, that can force a lot of 3 and outs, so we need to get some sacks and force some turnovers.

  • GEagle

    Eagles added Oregon Duck, DE(6’6…285lbs) Brandon Bair to the practice squad this morning…let me guess….He is versatile?

    • OregonDucker

      Heee heee heee hoooo hoooo hoooo. You’ll see.

  • BlindChow

    I wonder how much control Kelly wielded over the final cuts on defense. I assume since he’s active coaching Special Teams, that aspect would be important to him, but it sounds like in not micromanaging Davis, he might give Davis more leeway in choosing his side of the roster.

    • ACViking

      BC:

      Isn’t the right question, what role did Roseman play in final cuts?

      Every media outlet ran a story last week that Kelly was the Turk — not Roseman.

  • Rage114

    I think all of these moves with ex-Ducks shows that he is looking for players that know what he wants.

    He has a roster full of players that are new to his system; new to his philosophy. There is no better teacher than example. The other players can look at these ex-Ducks and see what it is CK wants first hand in practice.

    Acho and Sheppard may be more talented players but are they good fits for the system?

    Think next year, not this year. This is the year to find out what he has; which players are “misfits” in the system. If he keeps the more talented player but is not a good fit now or next year, is it really wise to keep that player?

  • GEagle

    Interesting that leading into the Draft, Keelan thought the Eagles were going to draft him

    • Anders

      I love his size. He is also really athletic for his size.

      With him+Wolff we got two safeties there is athletic and got potential but need some time

    • OregonDucker

      I like this kid. They need to teach him some cover skills pronto.

  • Anders

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dneagles/222344811.html

    Domo seems to have found the same scout as last year.

    • Andy124

      Very cool. Mirrors what I perceive as the consensus opinions around these parts. A little harsher on Ryans coverage than I (we?) think.

    • GEagle

      Another “expert” who continues to refuse to analyze Graham in terms of a predator….So tired of hearing worthless analysis about how Graham and Cole can drop into coverage…as if the coaches think they can lol……I don’t believe we will see either drop unless it’s a simple drop into zone and cover underneath a WR on a double team with a corner behind him, which isn’t exactly Chinese alegebra..

      • OregonDucker

        Bingo, they will sometimes drop into a zone.

  • GermanEagle

    http://www.flyeaglesfly.com
    In case you missed it. Goose. Bumps.

    • OregonDucker

      Love it. Absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing.

  • holeplug

    Zach Berman ‏@ZBerm
    Kelly said every single backup spot came down to special teams. That’s why they kept only 3 OLBs, why they kept Maehl and Matthews

    • eagleyankfan

      so you’re saying — if Ryans(et al) go down — it’s better to say — well, at least we have someone that’s good on special teams….

      • GEagle

        Yeah That’s just insanity to my ears…
        ..
        All it takes is Mykal or Meco to go down in Washington, and then what happens? And I’m a guy who has always respected ST

    • GermanEagle

      I knew Foles was the better gunner than Barkley!

      • Andy124

        But wait. Kinne should have been on the team then. Of course, he should have been on the team as starting-everything anyway.

  • ACViking

    Re: Coaching Familiar Faces

    When the most beloved of all Eagles coaches, Dick Vermeil, came from UCLA to the Eagles, he made no bones about keeping or adding players he’d coached at UCLA. Vermeil was, by his own account, a deeply loyal man to his players — and admitted it sometimes colored his judgment.

    In his first season, 1976, Vermeil:

    * About 3 weeks into his first training camp, Vermeil traded two draft picks — a ’77 4th Rder and ’78 5th Rder — for UCLA NT Cliff Frazier — who’d been the Chiefs’ 2nd Rd selection in ’76 but was in a contract dispute. To make room for Frazier, Vermeil cut his very first draft pick as the Eagles coach, 4th rounder Mick Smith from U-Florida. Frazier was gone in ’77.

    * Drafted ILB Terry Tautolo in ’76 in Rd 13. Kept him over veteran Dean Halverson (whom Vermeil coached on special teams with the Rams in ’69, ’71). Tautolo was a big effort guy. In 1979, after Bill Bergey blew-out his knee, Tautalo was the next man up. After a couple games, he was on the bench — replaced by rookie 1st Rd pick, OLB Jerry Robinson . . . from UCLA. Tautolo was gone after the season.

    * kept RB James McAlister in ’76, who joined the Birds in ’75 and averaged 3.3 ypc. McAlister had world-class speed and excelled — lots of sprinters did back then — playing in the veer offense run by UCLA. Vermeil cut him in ’77, though.

    The next year, in 1977, Vermeil:

    * signed rookie free agent return-man and WR, Wally Henry — who added a real jolt his first couple years to the return game. By 1980, though, Henry wasn’t nearly the same player. But he stuck around — costing the Eagles the 1981 Wild Card game against the Giants with two fumbled kickoffs. Henry was out of the NFL after Vermeil retired in ’82.

    In 1978, Vermeil acquired the rights to former UCLA QB John Sciarra — who led the Bruins to a stunning Rose Bowl upset of undefeated and top-ranked Ohio State in January ’76, watched by Birds’ owner Leonard Tose and the catalyst for getting Vermeil to Philly. Sciarra’d been playing QB, WR, and DB in the CFL for two years. Vermeil loved this kid. Sciarra played safety in the nickle, PR . . . and QB on short-yardage plays, running the veer in the NFL, but with minimal success. He lasted into the Marion Campbell era.

    Vermeil’s last UCLA transaction was using the Eagles 1979 1st Rd pick — their first one since 1973 — on UCLA OLB Jerry Robinson. He proved himself to be I’d say, among the Top 5 Eagles 1st-round picks of the past 50 years (along with McNabb, Quick, Sisemore, Bob “HOF OT” Brown.)

    cquired NT Cliff Frazier in

    • RIP illa

      I’m w/ you, however, Reid added players that have played and proven themselves (some not all) in the league instead of straight out of college. He did also have his one or two BYU kids on the team over the years. But I can’t remember him keeping players from BYU that were outright terrible (cough…Remington…cough Matthews). Anyway and once again…good football knowledge!

      • Anders

        Reno Mahe?

        • RIP illa

          Yup!!! Forgot bout him. Good call. So would he be Remmington or Matthews? :-)

          • Andy124

            Niether. Reno’s departure sans adequate replacement cost us a game. I don’t think that’s possible with either of your cadidates.

          • Anders

            Just because AR outsmarted him self and thought he didnt need a PR on the team does not make Reno Mahe any better than Matthews or Remminton.

          • Andy124

            Agreed. It doesn’t make Mahe any better than Matthews or Remmington. It just makes him a poor analogue.
            _____________
            This doesn’t contradict your original point that Reno is an example of a sub-par (I wouldn’t call him outright terrible) former BYU player on Reid’s teams. It just means I wouldn’t equate him to those two guys. The situations are too different imo.

          • RIP illa

            I’m sorry. Didn’t know I suggested nor implied that either way w/ my comments here!

          • Andy124

            It’s ok. I forgive you.

          • RIP illa

            Lol!

          • Anders

            Remmington. At least Matthews can spot start if needed. Mahe had no chance to start at RB

          • RIP illa

            Lol. Was t meant to be a serious question, but up vote anyway for a honest and correct answer!

  • RIP illa

    I’m kinda w/ you. I dislike #1…sorta! I wanna see the D come out Nd just blow somebody up (hopefully RGIII) illegally or not, on the skins 1st drive. 15 yards for that…’I'll eat that’!!! And then you make some solid points, but I know how you feel/felt about Vick. So I sorta blocked that out. ;-)