A number of national writers were in attendance at Eagles practice yesterday, and Peter King unearthed a nugget that Chip Kelly consulted with Tony Dungy in regard to how to handle the Riley Cooper situation. Here's what they're saying this morning.
“I love tradition,’’ he said. “And I love the history of this game. There’s so much to learn from it. But I joked to our guys once, ‘What if we came out and everybody sat on the bench like they did in the old days and we had a water bucket and drank out of a ladle?’ I mean, the game has evolved. They used to give you salt pills in the old days. They used to tell you that if you took water during practice you were soft. The science aspect of things can help, and I think the biggest thing is when you look at the other sports out there’s so many people out there that are more advanced than us from a science standpoint in sports that if you don’t listen to them then …
Also from King's piece:
In 2009, after Oregon’s first game of the season at Boise State, star running back Blount punched a Boise player in the head in the heat of a post-game skirmish. Kelly, the first-year head coach of Oregon, suspended Blount for the rest of the season. A month later, convcoinced Blount truly regretted what he’d done, Kelly changed course, setting in motion a plan for Blount to rejoin the team if he followed a strict set of guidelines on the field and at school. Blount followed the rules, and played the last two games of the season. One of Kelly’s advisers on the Blount case was former Colts coach Tony Dungy. Kelly’s reinstatement of Blount allowed Blount to rehab his image and gave him a shot at the NFL. So when Blount unexpectedly rushed for a rookie-high 1,007 yards in Tampa Bay, Dungy took a photo of a big banner celebrating Blount’s accomplishments and emailed it to Kelly. Dungy told Kelly, in effect, that without the coach’s forgiveness, Blount probably never would have been in the NFL, never mind rushed for 1,000 yards.
“There are so many hidden yards when the returner doesn’t catch the ball, and all of a sudden now the other team gets an extra 15 yards because of the roll, where if we had just kept the ball off the grounds, we’re going to be 15 yards better than we were,” said Kelly. “So a lot of being a great punt returner is being a great decision maker. Can you go get it? There are times in games where I believe at the college level we’ve won games because our returners just fair caught six punts, and didn’t let the ball roll.”
Jimmy note: This was a huge point of emphasis for Bill Parcells when he was still coaching. If you were a punt returner playing for Parcells, you did not want a punt to hit the gorund.
Barkley's hopes rest on "just the fact that it's open and there hasn't been named a starter," he said.
General manager Howie Roseman said recently that the team will ramp up its efforts to learn everything it can about college prospects' lives off the field. Roseman also said the Eagles have a set of criteria, which he wouldn't disclose, intended to keep them from being overly swayed by a potential criminal's talent. Basically, if this, this and this have happened, the Eagles aren't drafting the guy, in any round, under any circumstance.
"We spend as much time on that as we do how they're going to fit into our defense or offense," Eagles player personnel exec Rick Mueller said last week.
"The first day Chip put them out there I complained about it, complained about it, and he said, 'The more you complain, the more I'm going to keep it out here,' " Vick said. "I've got to deal with it and it's been helping me. And now I don't even pay attention to it."
The 2010 and 2011 drafts failed to deliver any impact players. The 2012 and 2013 drafts offer a lot more hope.
QB UPDATE: Michael Vick had another good day. He threw a lot of nice balls. When he makes the decision to throw, his release is quicker than any of the other Eagles QBs. The ball got where it needed to be and it got there fast. Vick wasn't without errors. He threw two passes into the human flyswatters (designed to simulate DL batting down a pass).
Chip Kelly is very hands-on with returners during the special-teams period. He’s got something to say to DeSean Jackson after every rep. On one play, Jackson doesn’t get into great position to field the punt and ends up squatting down low to make the grab. Kelly instructs him to get to a better spot so that he’s more up-right and can move once he’s got the ball in his hands.
At the end of the special-teams period, Connor Barwin and special-teams coach Dave Fipp do the whole “jump in the air and bump backsides” thing. Do we have a name for that? I never know how to describe it.
“Riley Cooper made us aware of the tweets when the video became public,” the statement began. “He told us that he did not know about the video. He informed us he blocked the tweets because he did not know the person nor understand the context of what that person was threatening. We promptly alerted NFL Security.
“This information potentially speaks to a legal issue that is a matter between Riley and the authorities. Our focus has been on Riley’s words and actions.”
Safety Reshad Jones admitted he hadn’t followed the Riley Cooper situation very closely. But he doesn’t expect opposing defensive backs to rough up Cooper, the Philadelphia wide receiver, for his use of a racial slur that was caught on video.
“No, not really,” Jones said. “It’s our job, and we just go out and continue to play football and do what we do. That’s none of my business. I don’t have anything to do with that.”
Jimmy notes regarding the silly assertion that players are going to purposely try to injure Riley Cooper:
- Has anyone seen safety play in the NFL over the last few years? It's terrible. Safeties are just trying to survive at this point. To think that a player is going to go way out of his way to injure a guy who made a racist comment, while possibly losing concentration on his job, seems wildly far-fetched. The game moves to fast to identify a player, realize "Oh that's the guy," and then try to snap his leg in two with some sort of Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.
- If a safety takes an obvious cheap shot to purposely injure a player, it's out in the open for everyone to see, as opposed to some dirty things that might happen within a mass of bodies on the offensive and defensive lines. Are players really willing to risk game checks, suspensions, or potential legal action (it has happened in hockey) for purposely trying to injure a player?
- Not to mention, if a safety gets a chance to lay out a WR, whether it's Riley Cooper or Mother Theresa, he's going to take it.
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