Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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OL depth and film breakdown: Where does Dennis Kelly fit in?

Jason Peters and Dennis Kelly have both missed time at practice recently, and the Eagles did some interesting juggling to account for those injuries. Lane Johnson moved from RT to LT, Todd Herrmans kicked out to RT, and Danny Watkins moved in at RG. Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce stayed put at LG and C, respectively.

OL depth and film breakdown: Where does Dennis Kelly fit in?

Jason Peters and Dennis Kelly have both missed time at practice recently, and the Eagles did some interesting juggling to account for those injuries. Lane Johnson moved from RT to LT, Todd Herrmans kicked out to RT, and Danny Watkins moved in at RG. Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce stayed put at LG and C, respectively.

After practice yesterday, Chip Kelly talked about the OL shuffle. "If we were going to play a game, we're probably going to go with our best tackle combination," Kelly said. "So, for us to do that, then Lane needs work at left tackle, and Todd needs work at right tackle." So, instead of saying in the Redskins game, hey, we've got to move Lane, but he's never taken any snaps over there, we had planned all along at getting Lane work at right tackle and left tackle. We had [also] planned to get Todd some work there. 

"If it ends up being Dennis [Kelly], Dennis may feel more comfortable playing right tackle, it may be a one‑person move, where, let's move Dennis into right tackle and Lane over to left tackle. So we're just making sure as you look down the road, we have some contingency plans on how it works. The versatility that Lane brings us brings us the ability for a guy that can play both tackles and to be honest with you, that's rare. There are some guys that are legitimate right tackles and finding tackles in this league is very difficult. That's one of the things that looking at him in the draft, here's a guy that can do both."

Based on Chip Kelly's above comments, it seems fairly clear that Dennis Kelly will not be playing LT off the bench, unless there's a scenario in which both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are injured. And even if both of them got hurt, the Eagles may opt to slide Herremans over to LT, with Kelly filling in at RT. In other words, ignoring who wins the backup center job and including just the 5 starters plus Kelly and Watkins, the OL depth chart may look something like this if the Eagles think Herremans is a better OT than Kelly:

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So essentially, Dennis Kelly might be buried deep on the depth chart. Chip Kelly's comments that they want to put the best tackles on the field at all times is a pretty good indication that he values the tackle position significantly more than the guard position, and perhaps he should. Because of the versatility that Johnson and Herremans bring to the table, Chip Kelly may opt to only keep 8 offensive linemen, which would leave them thin, but would allow them to keep a promising skill position player who is currently on the bubble, like a Russell Shepard, for example.

Dennis Kelly was up and down last season, and the good/bad of Dennis can be seen in one play against the Bengals last year.

On the Eagles' first possession they ran a quick screen to Jeremy Maclin. Dennis Kelly (circled in yellow) is engaged with Carlos Dunlap:

Kelly tactfully allows Dunlap to pursue the QB to get better position on the quick pass that is coming to his side:

That puts him in great position to block Dunlap from Maclin, who is about to make the catch and head downfield. So far, so good:

However, here is where Kelly makes a mistake. He shoves Dunlap...

...and looks to head downfield to block somebody else:

The problem here is that Carlos Dunlap is a 6'6, 280 pound agile NFL man-beast, not some scrub DE from Iowa State. Dunlap is only slightly affected by Kelly's shove, and is now pursuing Maclin from behind:

Dunlap strips an unsuspecting Maclin of the ball. Turnover.

For Dennis Kelly, it's probably just a matter of getting more experience and adapting to the hightened level of competition. In college, he could toss guys aside and look to get upfield and make a play on another defender. In the NFL, he probably just needs to stay with the block on really good players like Carlos Dunlap.

But for now, he's being hurt by not being out on the field.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

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