Last May we were doing a lot of speculating since Chip Kelly was new to us and the NFL. A lot has changed in that year, but it is kind of interesting to look back.
* I thought Damaris Johnson was a real player to watch.
The WR I’m most excited about is Damaris Johnson. He could steal the primary slot role from Avant. Check out this Yards after catch stat, per ESPN:
Jason Avant – 53 catches – 167 yards after catch – 8 receptions of 20 or more yards
Damaris Johnson – 19 catches – 104 yards after catch – 4 receptions of 20 or more yards
Avant is averaging 3.15 YAC per reception. Johnson is at 5.47. Which guy do you want with the ball in his hands?
There was good logic in my argument, but boy did that not pan out at all. I’m still not sure how/why Damaris got in the doghouse, but he almost never played on offense. That wasn’t by accident. He’s still on the roster so maybe he’ll emerge this year. Just don’t count on it. I certainly won’t be writing much about him.
* I hoped Brandon Graham would be the ROLB. He was down to 255 pounds. Graham was fired up and ready for a chance to win a starting job. Not only did that not happen, it wasn’t even close. Trent Cole embraced the move to OLB and started the whole year. Graham never looked comfortable as a LB. He got better over time, but always looked like a square peg in a round hole.
* Dennis Kelly was getting reps as the #1 LT in some of the OTAs. Jason Peters was out. Evan Mathis was too and Allen Barbre filled in at his spot. Kelly is a mystery man at this point. The Eagles desperately wanted to add a mid-round OL in the draft. That doesn’t bode well for the current backups, especially someone like Kelly who has gotten a chance to play. Kelly didn’t play for the new staff, but played RG and RT in 2012. The coaches can watch his tape vs NFL competition. Guys like Matt Tobin and Michael Bamiro have yet to hit the field.
I would love for Kelly to pan out, but it just doesn’t feel like he’s in a good spot right now. He controls his own fate. If he stays healthy and plays well, the coaches will keep him. If not, see ya.
* We found out a good lesson from Chip Kelly. He cut RB Miguel Maysonet very quickly. That may not sound like a big deal, but Maysonet had been a coveted UDFA that the Eagles gave a $10,000 signing bonus to. Kelly will be a patient man if you give him reason to be that way, but he’s also not afraid to cut someone loose.
* Obviously no one anticipated Riley Cooper making the jump that he did. There was some optimism about his fit in the new offense, especially as a blocker, but I don’t think anyone expected him to deliver big plays as a starting receiver.
* Felix Jones was an Eagle. Remember that? Weird. Boy did he suck.
* We had hope (and lots of curiosity) in regard to Ifeanyi Momah. WRs that are 6-7, 240 just aren’t supposed to run as fast as he did at his Pro Day. That was too good to be true, right? Yep, sure was. Momah might have been athletic in workouts, but never showed that athleticism on the playing field. Momah is back again, but expectations are very low. We’ll see if anything changes this time around.
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Obviously I could write quite a bit on Nick Foles and Michael Vick. They battled for the QB job last year. Now Vick is with the Jets and dealing with Geno Smith. Foles had a magical 2013 season and hopes to prove to people that he is the star QB the Eagles need to run Kelly’s offense.
One of the big changes in the past year might be the perception of Kelly and QBs. I think most people have given up on the idea that he covets a mobile QB. Kelly used them at Oregon, but in the NFL he has named Foles his starter for the next 1,000 years, drafted Matt Barkley and signed Mark Sanchez in free agency.
Kelly might someday find the right mobile QB and go get him, but any notion that he must have a guy who can run to make his offense work is 100 percent dead in the water.