Friday, December 19, 2014

Eagles notes: Chip Kelly's Duck bias

After starting the preseason 0-2, the Eagles are already eliminated from having the best preseason record in the NFC East, as they cannot catch the 3-0 Giants. However, if the same preseason trend over the last four years continues, the Eagles are better off not finishing first in the preseason. The last four NFC East "preseason winners" had nightmare seasons when the games counted. (Click here to embiggen).

Eagles notes: Chip Kelly's Duck bias

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

After starting the preseason 0-2, the Eagles are already eliminated from having the best preseason record in the NFC East, as they cannot catch the 3-0 Giants. However, if the same preseason trend over the last four years continues, the Eagles are better off not finishing first in the preseason. The last four NFC East "preseason winners" had nightmare seasons when the games counted. (Click here to embiggen).

After acquiring former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers for a conditional seventh round pick, Chip Kelly noted that Barner will compete as a returner. 

“Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions. He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays. But our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete.”

However, Barner has not had much practice at returning in years:

Don't expect Barner to step right in Week 1 and become the Eagles' kick returner, at least not successfully.

The Eagles now have nine former Oregon Ducks, who make up 10 percent of their roster. The Eagles also have 23 percent (9 of 39) of the Oregon alums currently on NFL rosters. Two additional former Ducks who remain in the league, Patrick Chung and Dennis Dixon, were on the Eagles' roster last year. Here's a breakdown of where the NFL's Oregon alums reside:

• Eagles: Brandon Bair, Kenjon Barner, Taylor Hart, Josh Huff, Josh Kaddu, Wade Keliikipi, Jeff Maehl, Casey Matthews, Will Murphy

• Giants: Mark Asper, Spencer Paysinger, Geoff Schwartz, Walter Thurmond

• 49ers: LaMichael James, Adam Snyder, Will Tukuafu

• Panthers: Ed Dickson, Jonathan Stewart, Brandon Williams

• Bears: Kyle Long, Dante Rosario

• Broncos: John Boyett, TJ Ward

• Cowboys: Terrance Mitchell, Darrion Weems

• Steelers: LeGarrette Blount, David Paulson

• Bills: Dennis Dixon

• Chargers: Kellen Clemens

• Chiefs: De'Anthony Thomas

• Dolphins: Dion Jordan

• Jaguars: Ricky Havili-Heimul

• Packers: Colt Lyerla

• Patriots: Patrick Chung

• Raiders: Rahsaan Vaughn

• Ravens: Haloti Ngata

• Saints: Jairus Byrd

• Seahawks: Max Unger

• Texans: Eddie Pleasant

• The Bengals, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Colts, Falcons, Jets, Lions, Rams, Redskins, Titans, and Vikings do not employ any former Oregon Ducks.

Of the 11 former Oregon players who are either currently on the team or were on the team a year ago, only Casey Matthews was with the Eagles before Chip Kelly arrived. There are concerns that Kelly relies too much on players he knows, while possibly missing out on better players with whom he is less familiar. In my opinion, those concerns are warranted.

Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Eagles are monitoring the 15 teams around the league with two kickers. The kicker competition that seems to come up most often among Eagles fans is the one occurring in Giants camp between Josh Brown and former Temple standout Brandon McManus. However, earlier in the week I had a chance to look at the kicker competitions among those 15 teams around the league. The most intriguing team with two kickers, by far in my opinion, is the Buffalo Bills, where Dustin Hopkins is likely to be released in favor of Dan Carpenter. We covered Hopkins at length on Monday.

Barner has "Nerlens Noel hair." Who wears it better?

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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