Chip Kelly and the Defense

Posted: October 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 41 Comments »

We’ve talked a lot about Bill Davis and the defense. What about Chip Kelly? What exactly is his vision?

Kelly wants…

* a 3-4 defense that can give multiple looks to the offense. It is easier to do hybrid stuff from the 3-4.

* big players

* takeaways…Oregon was always among the national leaders in takeaways. That wasn’t an accident.

* good Red Zone defense

Oregon was not a juggernaut defense under Kelly, but they were better than you think. They always were among national leaders in sacks, RZ defense and takeaways.

They produced NFL talent.

S T.J. Ward
MLB Kiko Alonso – frontrunner for Def Rookie of the Year
DE Dion Jordan – #3 overall pick
CB Walter Thurmond
LB Spencer Paysinger
LB Josh Kaddu

Ducks CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu could be a 1st round pick in the upcoming draft.

The point of all this is that Chip Kelly has produced good defenses and good defensive players. It may seem like he’s clueless at this point based on the sloppy start of the Eagles defense, but that’s not the case. It just takes time to get the right players into place and to teach them to play the way Kelly wants.

Oregon’s defense got better under Kelly. It took time for things to work there. The same will be true in Philly.

Mark Saltveit also wrote about this subject over at BGN.

Of course, part of Davis’ problem is a basic lack of talent to implement the two-gap 3-4 that Chip clearly wants. Before the season began, both Kelly and Davis made noises about easing the drastic transition from the Wide-9 to the 3-4, perhaps via a 4-3 under, according to the talent available.

In practice, though, they have stuck with the 3-4 pretty rigorously despite some square pegs in those round holes — neglecting Vinny Curry despite his evident success in the few plays he’s been given, and sticking with Sopoaga when his only noticeable contribution has been throwing long passes in practice.

We don’t know if Davis and Kelly have a vision they haven’t announced, or if they’re winging it. But clearly they are not living up to Chip’s standard of a vision that anyone can figure out by watching the team for five minutes. And perhaps they’d be more successful on D if they did. There’s a danger in a lack of clarity. As Chip once said, in a different context, “I think sometimes you can confuse yourself more than you can confuse them.”

I don’t fully agree with Mark here. There may be a clear vision. The players just may not be executing it well. Flash back to 1999. Andy Reid couldn’t get his passing attack working as desired. He didn’t have the OL to block, the receivers to get open or the QB to run the show. Donovan McNabb had great talent, but it took him to time adjust to the NFL and a professional passing offense.

I do agree with Mark in the sense that we don’t know many specifics about the defense. We’re doing a lot of guessing and projecting. Hopefully that will change over the course of the season.

* * * * *

Here is an article on the Giants trading for Jon Beason. Sounds like age and injuries finally caught up with him.

Quick story on Beason. I used to really avoid watching underclassmen during the fall. I liked to focus on Seniors. I heard a lot of buzz about this kid from Miami, Jon Beason. I put on the Virginia/Miami game. At the end of the 1st Qtr, I has unimpressed. It was like a light switch came on in the 2nd Qtr. Very quickly I started writing good notes and lots of them. Immediately I dreamed of Beason as an Eagles LB, knowing that would never happen. The Eagles just didn’t value LBs in the 1st round.

I always hate to hear when players like Beason start to decline. I watched most, if not all, of these guys as college kids. Always want them to play as long as possible.

The Giants put CB Aaron Ross on IR and released OL Dallas Reynolds. They added S Will Hill and CB Charles James.


  • Can Michael Johnson play OLB in a 3-4?

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t think so, but I’d need to watch tape of him to confirm that.

      • GEagle

        Jaabal Sheard can

  • PeterAkkies

    It’s encouraging to see so many Ducks be good NFL prospects now. Hopefully that is at least partly a result of Chip’s program.

    People have spoken highly of Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, but you’ve got to think Chip wouldn’t want two out of his three cornerbacks to be 5’10”, right?

    • Anders

      Kelly’s two best CBs at Oregon has been Cliff Harris (serious NFL talent if not for been a total headcase) and Ifo.

      Ifo reminds me of a Sheldon Brown with ball skills or rather just the best of Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown in 1 CB.

      • GEagle

        I hate drafting CBs….hate the adjustment period that they need to play in the pros….rather sign CBs and draft Safeties

        • A_T_G

          Safeties aren’t exactly plug and play either.

          • GEagle

            Safety is easier to plug n play then corner…look at Reid,Elam and Cyprien….don’t see any rookie corners playing to their level…

        • Anders

          Most DBs need a year or two in the NFL before they get used to the speed and size of NFL WRs and the overall much better QB play (remember the worst QBs in the NFL was some of the best in college)

        • jshort

          G, You must have been out on the town last night…Not many posts today???you feelin ok

          • GEagle

            If you haven’t noticed I haven’t posted much in two a big promotion, so I can’t just sit in the office and post all day anymore 🙁

          • jshort

            Congratulations!!!…..but miss your enthusiasm.

    • Mitchell

      I was so impressed watching Kiko on Thursday night! When can we hit on an awesome LB 🙁

      • Anders

        Get Ray Rhodes to draft em, same with Safety.

        • Dr. Claw

          Also, whoever drafted for the Chiefs….

        • GEagle

          Man,..I been saying this forever. hire ray as a defensive draft consultant…

          Can anyone tell me how Ricky Jean Francois a player we went after but didn’t land, has looked so far this year?

    • Michael Winter Cho

      The Ducks are absolutely steamrolling everyone; the Eagles have one win.
      Maybe Chip was holding Oregon back and now he’s our problem!

      • jshort

        Wow! might be on something there.

      • mksp


        We should be VERY encouraged by how good Oregon looks. These are all guys that Chip recruited, and a program he built.

        Patience people.

  • Always Hopeful

    Off subject Tommy but, I know you mentioned Keith Price (University of Washington QB, for those who may not know) as player to keep our eyes on. I liked him a lot two years ago, but he seems to be putting it together in a nice way this year. Just watched him lose a tough game to Standford.

    Anyway, what do think of him as a possible Eagles target? My concern for him is durability. He seems to have all that you need in a QB that Chip likes, plus UW is running a “similar” style of offense as Oregon now. He’s a 5th year senior who has “repetitive accuracy” and Russell Wilson is his mentor 🙂

    He’s not one of the big names like the kids from Oregon, Louisville and Clemson but he seems to have some NFL ability.

  • GvilleEagleFan

    I think the sticking with the two gap principle has been the most frustrating thing about watching the Eagles play this year. I knew the DBs would be sub par, that we lacked a true stud at OLB, and that our WR corp was thin after DJax. What’s truly frustrating is thinking how disruptive Cox, Curry, and Cole could be as 1 gap players hunting opposing QBs and blowing up runners foolish enough to dare trying to make it through their lanes. I think Ced Thornton could even become a more than solid contributor as either a shade nose or 2 gap LE in that scheme.

    On the other hand, maybe this signifies in some respect that the coaches acknowledge that this is a building year. Asking players new to the scheme to execute such a variety of formations on defense isn’t likely to yield great results, but throwing everything at them will tell you who the smartest and most coachable players on the roster are. Plus, we get the added benefit of the crappier record and in turn a better shot at Mariota/Bridgewater/Boyd/Manziel. In the meantime, at least the Giants suck

  • bdbd20

    Any thoughts on Freeman? I’m not suggesting signing him now. Unless a team is really impressed, he’ll be a FA in March.

    Do you think he’s a good fit here?

    • eagleyankfan

      Really? Freeman stinks.

    • TommyLawlor

      Talented player who struggled under Schiano. Has some character issues. Not criminal stuff. QB has to be a leader and a guy who you build the organization around. Josh doesn’t seem to totally get that. QB isn’t a Sunday job. It’s an everyday job.

      • holeplug

        I wouldn’t want to come to work if my boss was Greg Schiano either

    • Dr. Claw

      I think he’s a better fit in Cleveland (because Weeden SUX) than here. Granted, QBs 2 and 3 for the Eagles do not inspire “good thoughts either” but at least they are backups.

  • barneygoogle

    The Giants released Dallas Reynolds? Then we’ve got a chance. Any shot the Giants could trade for Danny Watkins before 1 PM?

    • nopain23

      That was comedy GOLD!!!!

    • GEagle

      The fireman is inactive today for the fish lol

  • EaglesTrolltheWorld

    Having signed and quickly released Dallas Reynolds, it seems rather possible that the Giants were looking for insight on breaking down our OL.

  • nopain23

    Priority in the offense season should be to throw a boat load of cash at rex ryan. look at what his brother did for the saints and rex has a better defensive mind.
    then hope the football gods give us a shot at mariota in the first round. I figure the iggles will have a top 10 pick next year. This kid already knows Kelly’s offense and has all the attributes we need, mobility, speed, good arm and no character flags.
    next , providing his foot checks out our top….neigh….ONLY.. free agent target should be J. Byrd.
    Throw in drafting a true NT and rush OLB in the draft and this team is poised to make a playoff run in 2014 and contend in 2015.

    • Anders

      I want Orakpo in FA if he isnt kept by the Skins.

      I agree that we should go hard after Rex Ryan if he is fired, but I suspect he will get another HC job.

      • nopain23

        Orakpo is way overrated and is injury prone. It is easier to find a rush OLB in the draft than a top flight safety. Just ASK 25 OR or so NFL teams.
        Also, no one and I mean NO ONE is hiring Rex Ryan as a HC anytime soon. Dude knows defense but is a hapless HC. His stint as a HC was a debacle to say the least.
        Also T.Cole is done..and he needs to go and take Celek with him.

        • Anders

          How is Orakpo overrated? How is he injury prone? Before last year he had missed 1 game in 3 years.

          Also Rex Ryan had the Jets twice too the AFCCG in his first two years and was undone by a crappy GM (and the anti-AR, not able to pick a good OC before this year).

        • GEagle

          Too many positions that we need to draft, to be scoffing at good players in free agency. Nice to see Anders coming around to Orakpo…I don’t see how the foreskins can keep him

  • eagleyankfan

    excited to watch this game. There’s only 3 games left to get excited about. 2 vs. G-strings and 1 vs. wash. Enjoy these games while can…

    • P_P_K

      What about Dallas? Two days ago I met a guy from Oklahoma who is up here in VT on a bicycling vacation during the foliage season. He said hello when he saw my Eagles t-shirt. He’s an Eagles fan, and he said he he was fine with the team going 2-14 as long as the two wins came against the Cowboys. “Good as winning the Super Bowl,” he said. We shook hands in brotherhood.

    • GEagle

      I don’t fear those cow bitches….they are due to implode in 3,2,1……

  • Dr. Claw

    Watching T.J. Ward on the Browns (which is a very good defense) and Alonso (believe that he was on the Bills, who they played most recently) in the Thursday night game…

    Just reminds me of how incompetent the players the Eagles have now can appear.

  • P_P_K


    Your comments about Beason are poignant. The older we get as fans, the more we get to see these young guys rise, fall, and then fade away. Can you imagine working your butt off from the time you are in high school, attaining the pincale of success in your field as a professional football player, and then being old and in the way before you hit 30? It’s a hard core sport.

    P.S. I hear good bloggers don’t age out until a bit later!

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