Chip Kelly certainly made game reviews and All-22 articles a lot of fun to read last year. He brought in some new ideas and did things that we hadn’t seen before. We learned a lot last year, but still have a lot more to take in.
Matt is a former NFL Safety. I’ve met him at the Senior Bowl and he’s a friendly guy as well as being a technical guru and interesting writer. Be warned, though. Matt does mix in lots of football lingo.
It is great to read the X’s and O’s pieces by Sheil Kapadia, Derek Sarley and ChipWagon, but it is also fun to see what an outsider says. Bowen is a national writer and based out of Chicago. Plus, he brings a defensive player’s outlook to Kelly’s offense. Really good stuff.
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- Darren Sproles will return punts. Not a shaky limb to walk out upon, but there are many players practicing it. Sproles has done it and done it very well in his career.
- Carroll will return kickoffs. This is a shakier limb, but the free agent cornerback has been practicing it — along with a half-dozen others — and doing it well. He’s never done it before, but said he is willing to do whatever he can to help team win.
- Brandon Graham won’t be here for Sept. 7 opener. Graham has said he wants to be in Philly, but the outside linebacker position is filled with depth behind starters Trent Cole and Connor Barwin. The group includes this year’s No. 1 pick Marcus Smith and free agent pick-up Bryan Braman, whom outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern talked highly of last week.
- Three Ducks will make the team. There are eight former players on the 90-man roster from Kelly’s previous coaching stop at Oregon. The ones who will be on the final roster are receivers Josh Huff and Jeff Maehl and defensive lineman Brandon Bair. Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi will be on the practice squad. Gone will be Casey Matthews, Will Murphy and Josh Kaddu.
- Ertz will close gap on Celek. The second-year tight end came on strong as the season went along last year. Still, he played in just 41 percent of the offensive snaps to the 77 percent of veteran tight end Brent Celek. This disparity won’t be near as wide this season as the changing of the guard from Celek to Ertz slowly begins.
The Brandon Graham note is something we’ve wondered about for a while. We’ll have to see how that situation plays out. It was interesting that OLB coach Bill McGovern talked up Bryan Braman. I’ve focused on him almost exclusively from a STs standpoint.
The prediction that caught my eye was Brandon Bair making the team over Taylor Hart. That would be a big surprise to me. Bair did spend time on the practice squad last year so he’s not some random guy to speculate about. I just think Hart is a player the team has high hopes for. We’ll see how they play in pads.
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2) WR Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews’ work ethic has been well documented by now, which is fine and good, but Chad Hall had good work ethic too. The more important question is, “Can Matthews play?”
Yep, he can play.
Matthews isn’t just a try hard guy. He has great size at 6’3, 215-ish, he ran a 4.46 at the Combine, and he was the all-time receptions leader at Vanderbilt. He also stood out in OTAs and minicamp, making catch after catch after catch. It may take some time for Matthews to be an impact player at this level, but at a minimum, he should be a significant ‘day one’ upgrade over Jason Avant.
Great point about Chad Hall and effort. You love players that work and play hard, but they must be talented to really have any impact. Matthews is talented. We just don’t know how good he’ll be.