Before the Eagles held their second practice of the week, Chip Kelly met with the media. He didn’t offer any groundbreaking info, but said a few things of interest.
Kelly got a bit defensive when asked about QBs and snap counts in practice. I think he is trying to protect his players. If he tells the media that someone is the 3rd or 4th QB, it might make the player feel upset about his standing. Kelly wants all the players to compete as if they are potential starters. Clearly some aren’t, but if you can get them to practice like they are, it helps them to play better and makes the whole team better.
The worst thing you can have is a bunch of players who accept where they are and don’t work to move up.
Kelly did also make a key point when he talked about the fact that OTAs are very loose in terms of the depth chart. The coaches will meet after the OTAs are over and make some adjustments when preparing for Training Camp.
Both last year and this year Kelly talked about how things get jumbled due to the speed of practice. You might see Matthew Tucker with the 1′s. Or Damaris Johnson. That doesn’t mean they are climbing the depth chart. That is simply how the rotation worked at that moment. The time to pay attention is when someone consistently lines up with a specific group. Right now Brad Smith is running with the 1′s in the slot. That means something. Jordan Matthews will probably take the job in the next couple of months, but for now the coaches like having Smith on the field with the starters.
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Kelly pointed out that the Eagles wanted Malcolm Jenkins and he was their top target. He didn’t make it clear if this was in all of free agency or just at the Safety position. After doing my tape study, I came to the conclusion that Jenkins was the best fit for the Eagles. That doesn’t mean he was the best player, but he was the best fit.
So far everyone is impressed by Jenkins.
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Kelly praised Mark Sanchez. While that’s expected, you can hear some good points from Kelly. Sanchez is adjusting to a new team and a new scheme. Also, he’s not 100 percent healthy right now. In other words…don’t look at him as a finished product. Save that mindset for August when Sanchez is playing in preseason games and has more time under his belt in this offense.
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One reporter asked Kelly about whether the team was making a mistake by relying on so many veteran defenders to improve simply because they know the system better this year. The reporter asked about how you can expect 30 year-old players to get better.
Kelly responded by talking about individuals. While I thought the reporter asked a valid question, Kelly offered a smart answer. Not all veterans are the same. You must judge them as individuals. Trent Cole is getting up there, but the guy is healthy. He played well down the stretch last year. You would think a veteran would wear down, but Cole got better.
DeMeco Ryans played the most snaps of any defender in the whole league. He never broke down physically. Ryans made some mistakes to be sure, but again…it wasn’t a clear case of a player wearing down and looking substantially different in November than in August.
I really am curious to see how Sports Science works on some players in the near future. Can it really extend some careers?
I don’t think there is any question that Sports Science worked well in 2013. We’ll see how it does long term.
And really the performance of veterans is a bit of a different issue. Kelly expects them to get better because they now know the schemes and what the coaches are looking for. That ties in to health, but not entirely.