Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Chip Kelly says don't overthink Eagles OTAs

Reporters want to report, but Chip Kelly cautioned today that seeing someone running with the first, second or third team doesn't mean much until training camp.

Chip Kelly says don't overthink Eagles OTAs

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Tuesday was unseasonably steamy again at NovaCare. It would have been a nice day to stay inside with the air conditioning, instead of standing in the sun, peering at distant figures on far-away practice fields, who were running around in short pants.

Chip Kelly more or less suggested reporters would be better served doing so, in a news conference before the latest organized team activity workout.

Kelly said people who try to parse that this player is ahead of that player, based on what group he is practicing with, are drawing incorrect conclusions.

"If anybody is trying to make anything of who is playing what or how many reps, all we're trying to do is see if we can get three reps a minute, as fast as we can go, get it on tape and coach off of that," Kelly said, when asked a question about Mark Sanchez ranking ahead of Matt Barkley in the quarterbacking hierarchy. "So there is nothing to read into who is where, what, whatever, because we're not playing a game until September."

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Someone noted that rookies are all running with the second and third teams.

"We script it that way," Kelly said. "Our 'ones' obviously have a better grasp of the playbook, so in certain situations, we want to see things done (correctly). Instead of slowing down 10 other guys, because one guy isn't sure of what the play is, we make sure we know when that group is in, where they are."

Rookies such as OTA wide receiving standout Jordan Matthews might move around, inside to outside, this group or that group, depending on the day, Kelly said.

"They're just learning the offense ... part of this process for us is not only are they learning it, but we're learning them -- what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses," Kelly said. "We've got a long way before we have to play a game, so it'd just a matter of getting guys out there, getting plenty of reps."

Asked what the plan is with first-round rookie linebacker Marcus Smith learning Connor Barwin's "jack" position instead of Trent Cole's "predator," Kelly said it was mostly because Cole has Brandon Graham behind him, so it was easier to slot Smith behind Barwin for OTAs.

"There is no plan. Just trying to figure out what those guys can do, what their skillset is ... then we'll go from there," Kelly said. "But you've gotta start 'em somewhere. You can't just say, 'learn every single position.' ... we've got two more OTAs, then we've got three days (of mandatory minicamp) next week. And then we'll sit down as a staff and (figure out) what's our plan as we approach preseason camp."

Other observations:

*Kelly is making sure everyone knows that he was way more excited than the fan base was to land free agent safety Malcolm Jenkins. "He's been outstanding," Kelly said, and he again stressed Jenkins' versatility as a corner-safety. Kelly said Jenkins is "the vocal leader on the back end for us," and was "the No. 1 guy we were looking for in free agency."

*Kelly touted RB Chris Polk's offseason work and noted his importance on special teams last season.

*Kelly said Sanchez "is really sharp and he works extremely hard ... Been really impressed by how quickly he's picked it up, and for him it's just learning new terminology. A lot of the routes are things he has done when he was with the Jets." Kelly said he doesn't think Sanchez's shoulder is 100 percent yet, "but he has not missed any reps.'

*Kelly said starting QB Nick Foles is "more comfortable with the situation ... not wondering what's next."

*Kelly said he thinks Alex Henery has "gotten a little bit stronger" on kickoffs. For what it's worth, Henery's kickoffs in the OTAs reporters have been allowed to watch have been more consistent than those of rookie Carey "Murderleg" Spears.

*Kelly praised RB Darren Sproles as "sharp" and "dedicated."

 

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