Chip Kelly took over the Eagles in 2013 and was charged with the task of creating the football program that he wanted. Kelly has very specific ideas of how things should be done. He needed the right kind of players to both win on the field and to establish his overall ideas.
Who expected Jeff Maehl to be an Eagle? Who expected Will Murphy to be on the practice squad? Who expected Isaac Remington to be on the practice squad? Was Casey Matthews really the best backup LOLB the Eagles could find?
Chip Kelly wasn’t showing Oregon favoritism. He was trying to have players on the roster/team who knew about his ideas and his systems. Those players could help others around them. There is no way that Will Murphy was the best available WR when the Eagles added him. However, he was the best available WR for the Eagles because of his experience with Kelly.
Last year the players had to learn the Kelly way. That affected who the Eagles had on the roster.
This year will be different.
There are a lot of returning players. They know the Kelly way. Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin can teach Jordan Matthews what Kelly is looking for. That makes Will Murphy less valuable. I think you’re going to see a lot of turnover on the bottom of the roster. If Murphy and Maehl want to be Eagles this year, they are going to have to clearly outplay guys like Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson and BJ Cunningham. Maybe that happens, but don’t count on it.
Casey Matthews is hanging onto the roster by a thread. He would need to have a phenomenal showing to keep his job. I’m not even sure a slew of injuries is enough to keep him around.
The standards for making the team will be more about talent and what you can do on the field than experience with Kelly. That doesn’t mean character isn’t a factor. Kelly still wants the right kind of player. But he’s not going to feel the need to keep his guys around since now the Eagles are full of his guys.
While most of the change will be on the bottom of the roster, you wonder about what happened with other players. DeSean Jackson didn’t fit in and that played some part in his departure. You wonder if Bryce Brown was traded in part due to not being a good fit. He was awkward on the field, but we haven’t heard anything about him off the field.
I wonder about Mike Vick. He wanted out because he wanted to go somewhere to have a chance to start. Did Kelly have any interest in bringing him back or was he not a good fit?
Chip Kelly will continue working on the roster and trying to get it just right. Football involves so much change that you can never get a group of guys and feel set. There will always be players coming and going. This year you’ll see some Oregon guys heading off the bottom of the roster.