Posts for chip kelly

Who Stays, Who Goes Post-Chip?

Mark Saltveit - January 5, 2016

Now that Chip Kelly is gone, you can expect some of his boys to be out, too. But only Ed Marynowitz (who replaced Howie Roseman as Chip’s guy in personnel) has been fired so far, and no one has quit.

All of the position coaches and coordinators face replacement by the new coach, of course, but at a minimum Duce Staley is likely to stay (if he isn’t hired as coach or coordinator himself). Jeffrey Lurie would be trolling Eagles fans if he kept Billy Davis, but with Shurmur slated to interview for the head coach job, it wouldn’t be a shock if he stayed on as offensive coordinator.

Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin have done well with their units and aren’t especially tied to Kelly. On the other hand, Chip’s close associates Jerry Azzinaro (asst. HC & DL) and Ryan Day (QB coach) should be packing their bags already. Whether Chip gets a new job or not, they’re gone.

It will be interesting to see if the team keeps the sports science unit Chip built. The Eagles have done well in avoiding games lost to injury, but the sleep detectors and urine tests seemed to irritate players a lot. [Editor’s note: This will be interesting to see if the Eagles essentially dial back the clock and remove many of the advancements – smoothies, heart rate monitors, player tracking system, etc. – but I can’t imagine the more invasive stuff – sleep monitors and pee samples – stays.]

Among players, Jason Kelce was a vocal supporter of Chip’s system and had trouble getting push even in it this year. But he predates Kelly and the team has so many holes on the offensive line that they’d be foolish to replace him.

Ex-Oregon players Josh Huff, Kiko Alonso, Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart are obvious targets, and none have made themselves indispensable on the field. Kenjon Barner was a reasonable third running back this year, comparable to Bryce Brown with fewer fumbles. Shurmur actually played him more in Week 17 than Chip generally did, which is a good sign for him.

Safety Walter Thurmond was the most successful ex-Duck this year, but he’s a free agent. When interviewed, he was kind of meh about returning, indicating that, sure, he’d love to, but doesn’t think the team has enough money for him. Good safeties are in short supply, so expect him to follow the money elsewhere.

Eagles – Giants: 6 Random Thoughts

Mark Saltveit - January 3, 2016

That was the perfect end to the Eagles’ crappy season — failing to lose the one game they wanted to lose. There were just as many inept tackles, turnovers, dropped passes, stuffed runs, and big third down conversions surrendered as in any game this year, but New York’s defense proved even worse than Philadelphia’s and Eli threw another pick six to spoil Tom Coughlin’s (likely) final game.

Or maybe Coughlin outsmarted Pat Shurmur, getting his team a top 10 draft pick and a trip to London next year, as his grand finale. The Eagles will pick 13th, as well as facing Seattle on the road next year and crushing the hopes of the UK Eagles fan club.

Tragically, it appears that both teams were trying their hardest to win. They are just both so bad that it’s hard to tell sometimes.

Here are six interesting developments as a terrible season thankfully shuts down.

1. Sam Bradford’s price just went up.

People who think no other teams will want Sam Bradford are crazy. At least half a dozen teams are desperate for a QB, even if you don’t factor in the likelihood that at least one aging great (Romo, Brees, P. Manning) will retire. Brandon Weeden stank out loud for Dallas, got cut, and was signed by Houston, where he won a game as a starter. Teams will definitely want Bradford.

He’s been getting better all year and notching yet another big game today will boost his price even more. It’s too early to tell if he can really be a solid starter, but if the Eagles don’t keep him, what’s the alternative? Sanchez? Gamble everything on some rookie when three of four QB prospects fail in the pros?

Sam continues to improve every week and did well with more audibles today, a great sign for whoever ends up calling plays next year. The Eagles clearly need to draft at least one QB this year and hope he develops, but they’d be foolish not to keep Bradford as their starter while new talent develops.

Oh, and by the way?

bradford eagles record

That’s even with all the wide receiver drops. Note that Sanchez’ record was set last year, also under Chip. So if you think ditching Chip Kelly and Sam Bradford is the key to a better Eagles offense, well good luck with that.

All of this means that keeping Bradford won’t be cheap. The smartest move is probably a non-exclusive franchise tag. It’s cheaper, doesn’t lock them in long term and if another team signs him away, the Eagles get two first round picks. That’s a deal they should be happy to accept.

2. The Eagles need new linebackers coaches.

Rick Minter and Bill McGovern are just not getting the job done.

After three years, Mychal Kendricks keeps overrunning plays, and he’s teaching his technique to Kiko Alonso, hobbled as he is. It’s clear that Kiko shouldn’t have kept playing after re-injuring his knee this fall, but Chip no doubt felt pressured to produce. It backfired. With the outside OLBs, Marcus Smith’s lack of development is as legendary as Kiko was supposed to be.

3. The offensive line will remain bad.

OL weakness crippled this team, especially in the run game, and it is not likely to be fixed this off-season. Arguably everyone except Lane Johnson should be replaced. Jason Peters is rapidly declining, the guards are bad and Jason Kelce was under-sized even in Chip Kelly’s highly mobile system. When the team reverts to a more power-based offense, his deficiencies will be even worse.

DeMarco Murray started the game with a 54-yard touchdown run, leading folks to wonder if Chip had been unfairly holding him back. Nope. He gained 15 yards on 11 carries the rest of the way, actually losing 4 yards total on his next three carries. He may do better if he gets a good front line, but so will Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner.

4. The Eagles have a lot of talent.

At least three very good players missed most of this year due to injury — Cody Parkey, Jordan Hicks and JaCorey Shepherd. Kiko Alonso probably should have sat out as well. They will bolster an already talented team that underachieved this year.

I’m thinking that a lot of Chip’s acquisitions — Ertz, Agholor, Matthews, Mathews, Hicks, Thurmond, Shepherd, Rowe and Bradford – will eventually prove to be great players, but they developed too slowly for the pace of the NFL.

If Chip can figure out how to speed up the process, he may turn out to be a great coach some day too. But the Eagles and their fans were in no mood to wait and hope.

5. There’s a kicker controversy brewing.

He started out badly, but Caleb Sturgis has been steadily improving all year, especially on touchbacks. He didn’t allow a single kick return today. If the Eagles are confident in the recovery of Cody Parkey, who was better on field goals than Sturgis before his groin injury, they should look to trade one of the two this spring.

Sturgis has a year remaining on his contract, and good kickers are at a premium now, especially with the longer extra point kick. The Eagles are not going to keep a kickoff specialist so they ought to take advantage of their good luck.

6. Beware of statistics.

There are some revealing stats floating around today, hopefully even in this column. But a lot of the ones I’ve seen today are misleading. For example:

— Jordan Matthews didn’t reach 1,000 yards receiving.

Who cares? He had 997. That difference is no more important than the difference between 997 and 994. It’s like the odometer on your car rolling past 100,000. It’s just a number like any other.

Before the 2014 season, several people put down Jeremy Maclin by saying “he’s never broken 1,000 yards.” OK, but he had 964, 859 and 857 his previous three years as the #2 receiver behind DeSean Jackson. And when Chip featured him, he racked up 1,314 yards.

This year, he has 1,034 as Kansas City’s top target. That’s better than his pre-Chip high of 964, but just 70 yards better. No more, no less.

Then there’s this one:

Paunil Bradford yardage

Yeah, quarterbacks get a lot of yards when their team is behind a lot and can’t run, so they have to pass all the time. You know who doesn’t get many passing yards? Russell Wilson, who ranked 15th and 16th in the NFL in passing yards en route to two consecutive Super Bowls.

paunil ertz yardage

On a related note, a decent tight end on a team that has terrible wide receivers and has to pass a lot SHOULD rack up huge numbers. The bigger mystery with Ertz is why he didn’t start to explode like this a year earlier.

And finally, a defensive stat:

Berman thurmond

Walter Thurmond was a smart acquisition for Chip Kelly, and he’s had a great year. This ruling had nothing to do with the play Thurmond made, which scored seven points either way. But it means the difference between finishing 12th in the NFL with four interceptions for the year — tied with Josh Norman and Vontae Davis — and 19th (tied with Ricardo Allen and DRC).

Sports Betting Updates

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DraftKings Sportsbook Review

DraftKings Sportsbook has been live in New Jersey for over two full months now and a lot has changed since launch. While they were the first out of the gate for legal US sports betting, they now face competition from many sites, including FanDuel Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, BetStars and others. How do they stack up and what promos does DraftKings Sportsbook offer? Let’s take a closer look. Bonus: First bet matched up to $200 Minimum

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Your Complete Eagles and Saints Betting Guide

In many ways, the Philadelphia Eagles enter their matchup with the New Orleans Saints this weekend in a similar spot to what their previous opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, found themselves in a week ago. More than a touchdown underdog on the road against what’s believed to be a far superior team, the Eagles appear outclassed and overmatched. Most people figured they were tuning into the Cowboys’ funeral a week ago, and just as many, if

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Every New Jersey Sportsbook Promo You Need To Know This Weekend

Black Friday is just about a week away, and if you’re like me, you could probably use some extra spending money to take advantage of all the hot deals that will soon be out there. Good news. There will be plenty of betting opportunities to find some winners this weekend. It’s Week 11 in the NFL and the race for the playoffs is revving up. Every Top 25 college football team is in action. There’s

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Two teams enter. Only one can lose.

Mark Saltveit - January 3, 2016

The Eagles and Giants are both out of the playoffs. Chip Kelly’s gone and Tom Coughlin will reportedly retire after Sunday’s game. But the outcome is definitely not “meaningless.”

Philadelphia and New York are two of the six 6-9 teams going into week 17, and three more are just one game worse at 5-10. The losing team could rise as high as the 9th pick in the draft, while the winner could fall to 17th — and gets a harder schedule next year.

So what happens if both teams want to lose?

That’s not a given, of course. Fans have paid good money for their tickets, and even if he does retire, Coughlin may want to finish his 20-year coaching with a win. (He’s 170-149 so far.) The Eagles may have the common “just fired a coach we were sick of” surge.

But assuming they are both playing for the long run, it could be a weird kind of chess match. Sitting their healthy starting QBs might be too obvious, but Odell Beckham, Jr. could “tweak something” while warming up, something he does fairly often anyway. Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul and WR Dwayne Harris are “questionable” on the official injury report already.

It’s easier for the Eagles, who have already ruled out CB Byron Maxwell and NT Bennie Logan. Logan has clearly been playing injured since at least December 6th. Not coincidentally, the team’s run defense has collapsed during that stretch.

CB Eric Rowe has done pretty well for a rookie, even when thrown into games against wide receivers as good as Megatron, so it makes sense to test him against ODB if he does play. He’ll be seeing plenty of the Giants star for years to come if he does emerge as an Eagles starter. He’d probably get torched, but his confidence seems strong and the sooner his learning process can begin, the better. They could go whole hog and start Randall Evans at the other corner slot.

But if the Eagles really want to lose, the answer is easy: just give DeMarco Murray all the carries he wants.

Howie 100, Chip 1

Mark Saltveit - December 30, 2015

About a year ago Howie Roseman fired Chip Kelly’s buddy (and Eagles VP of Player Personnel) Tom Gamble, and beat reporters proclaimed it another victory in his long streak of bureaucratic battles.

howie 1 chip 0

Just a couple of days later, Chip struck back. After meeting with his coach, owner Jeffrey Lurie kicked Howie upstairs with a raise and put him in charge of equipment and other miscellaneous concerns. The tune quickly changed:

Chip 1 howie 0

But Lurie didn’t fire Howie, and Eagles watchers made a mental note to look for his comeback. Well, it’s here. If you don’t think Roseman was deeply involved in this firing, just look at the letter Lurie sent to season ticket owners (before he even told any players):

“…the search for a new coach will begin and will be led by myself, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman.”

If that isn’t clear enough, the team fired Ed Marynowitz in the same breath. Marynowitz is a highly regarded young personnel executive, respected around the league, who worked at Alabama before the Eagles. He was Chip’s handpicked guy, who replaced Howie.

We won’t know for a while exactly what happened in that meeting with Chip that caused Lurie to fire him. One report from Jay Glazer says Chip doesn’t want personnel control at his next job; another says not giving it up led to his firing.

@prototyler has a theory that fits both and makes a lot of sense.

prototyler

Maybe Chip’s reply was “Sure, put anyone in at GM except Howie. But I’m not working for Howie again.” If you’re watched the Eagles for any length of time, you know how that would go over.

Eagles – Skins: 4 Bitter Lessons

Mark Saltveit - December 27, 2015

Well, that sucked. The Eagles not only lost to Washington, but ended any hope of making the playoffs even in the miserable NFC East. Yes, there’s a game left against the Giants next week. But it’s time to start looking at the bigger lessons of this season as well as this game.

1. Cutting DeSean was not the problem.

It’s amazing how many people keep repeating that the Eagles “miss DeSean” or “got nothing in return for him.” He’s simply not that good, and Washington is going to cut him after this year too, also getting “nothing in return for him.”

He’s an aging, one-dimensional receiver with a poor work ethic who’s only asset — speed — is the one that is most hurt by age. Unlike, say, Larry Fitzgerald, he’s not going to work on his game in the off-season to develop new skills that offset his natural slowing.

His heart is not really into it, which is why he skips non-mandatory workouts and spends his time on partying, music and his reality TV show. There is no better example than the pass he caught at Philadelphia’s 43-yard line with 4:35 left in the first quarter. DJax caught the ball in the middle of the field with room to run, but as Malcolm Jenkins closed he ran backwards three yards, then literally cowered as he gave himself up before the safety could tackle him.

DeMarco Murray was rightly slaughtered for sliding on a run to avoid getting hit, but if you criticized that, you have to do the same for Jackson — whose team was trailing in a game to clinch the division title at the time. At least Murray didn’t run backwards to avoid pain.

Jackson had a career year under Chip Kelly in 2013 — the only year he’s played all 16 games since his rookie year in 2008. But his production has been dropping since, from 1,332 yards to 1,169 last year. With his (somewhat vague) injuries this year, he’ll be lucky to top 500 yards, and he hasn’t returned punts well since 2011.

Fans like to say he opens up the run game as a deep threat, and his absence has been killing the Eagles run game. But Washington is 18th in the NFL in rushing this year, even with RB Alfred Morris and a much-improved offensive line. For all its problems with DeMarco Murray and the OL this year, the Eagles were much better running, 11th overall with 1,623 yards to the Skins’ 1,420. After signing DeSean, the Skins’ rushing yardage dropped a ton, from 2,164 yards in 2013 to 1,691 last year and 1,420 in 15 games this year. So, no. DeSean doesn’t help the running game. Continue Reading

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Home Team Disadvantage?

Mark Saltveit - December 26, 2015

The Eagles play the Skins tonight with a playoff berth on the line.

The good news is, Washington is a terrible road team. Consider this statistic:

espn - kirk cousins road vs home

Yes, the Skins have won 3 of the last four games. But as Tommy Lawlor points out, the loss was to the miserable Matt Cassell-led Cowboys. And the wins were against the Giants, the Bears, and a Bills team that appeared to give up after the Eagles eliminated them from playoff contention. The narrow victory against Chicago is their only road win all year.

On the other hand, the Eagles are not a good home team. They have the same record at home and on the road this year: 3-4. And that’s actually a major improvement.

Philadelphia set the NFL record by losing 10 straight home games between September 30, 2012 and November 17, 2013.

And the team they beat to break that streak? Washington.

3 Eagles in Pro Bowl + 3 Alternates

Mark Saltveit - December 23, 2015

Three Philadelphia Eagles were named to the Pro Bowl Tuesday: DE Fletcher Cox (finally!), Darren Sproles (as a punt returner), and in a surprise, LT Jason Peters.

Naming Peters is kind of a habit at this point. He has been selected every year since 2008, except for 2012 when he didn’t play at all due to a ruptured achilles tendon. 2015 has not been his strongest year, but he earned the admiration of his fellow players by holding together a very shaky offensive line through force of will, despite his age (34 in a month) and a series of painful injuries.

The number of Pro Bowlers on the Eagles (three) matches the total on Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Undefeated Carolina leads the league with 10, while the other elite teams — New England, Seattle and Arizona — have seven each.

Three Eagles were named as alternates, according to Bleacher Report: center Jason Kelce, safety Malcolm Jenkins, and special teamer Chris Maragos. The team has not confirmed this as of late Tuesday night. Punter Donnie Jones and OLB Connor Barwin were flat out snubbed.

Jeff Skversky of ABC-6 Sports tweeted an interesting list of Eagles Chip Kelly has cut.

Skversky quote on ex-Eagle pro bowlers

The thing is, Shady is the only one on that list selected this year, which kind of undercuts Skversky’s point. (And he was a somewhat controversial pick himself, as the league’s 9th best running back by yardage.) In general, the players Chip got rid of made sense; Todd Herremans, Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are all out of the league. It’s the players he chose to replace them that have been a problem.

Meanwhile, one of the most discussed snubs was former Eagle Kurt Coleman, who is having a miracle year with seven interceptions and a touchdown already in 2015. (He had a total of 10 interceptions in his first five NFL years, none of them in 2013 when he played for Chip.) Here’s an argument no one could have predicted a year ago:

Eagles – Cardinals: 4 Developments

Mark Saltveit - December 21, 2015

The Eagles made this game more interesting than you might have expected, well into the third quarter, even as defensive backs dropped like flies. Then they started turning the ball over and giving up big runs, and the Cardinals blew them out.

Which is exactly what you would expect with an 11-2 team playing a 6-7 team. This would have been an upset comparable to the Patriots game if the Birds had pulled off the victory. Keeping it close for a while mostly just made it more painful when the predictable collapse arrived.

So what did we learn, good and bad? Here are some new developments from tonight’s game.

1. DeMarco Murray dropped off the two-deep roster.

Though he was no longer the most-used back last week against the Bills, DeMarco still had the second most carries in that game and appeared to be part of a balanced three-way rotation.

Last night, that all went away. Murray didn’t get a carry until the second half and was an afterthought at best. So, when he finally did get the ball, did he come in all angry and fresh and rip off big runs? Nope. He ran twice for a grand total of three yards.

I don’t know if he mouthed off to the coaches, or they just finally admitted that he sucks and feeding him more snaps isn’t going to fix it.

Unfortunately, Ryan Mathews didn’t exactly seize the opportunity to cement himself as the number one back. He piled up 58 yards on 11 carries, including a 20 yard gain, but also fumbled away a drive, and miscommunicated with Sam Bradford on a short pass, leading to a pick six. And he failed to get the first down on a fourth-and-one at the Arizona 8, though the play call and blocking had a lot to do with that. Continue Reading

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