Chip Kelly's interest in size is nothing new


Chip Kelly's quote about how he preferred players with size, "Bigger people beat up little people" stirred the fan's juices a bit, but a look back at Kelly's history says it shouldn't have been a surprise.

In fact, this new emphasis on bigger guys is something people who followed Chip in college were most expecting him to bring to the NFL.

"If new Eagles coach Chip Kelly adopts some of the strategies he was using at Oregon, the Eagles will begin coveting "longer" players," wrote Dan Pompeii back in January. "Kelly's NCAA teams were known for their speed and stamina but Oregon was also recruiting taller players across the board, particularly on defense where he made length a priority with a recent change in philosophy. Some people around the league believe the Eagles will begin seeking taller players on that side of the ball."

If we take a look at Chip's full quote preceding the "big people little people line" we see he spells out clearly that going forward size will matter.

"You have to adjust to what you have. No one is starting from Square 1 and saying, 'How do we build a perfect defense, offense, and special teams?' And you don't have 100 first-round draft picks, either, so you can say, 'Hey, I really like that guy, but he's gone.'

"So you always have to make adjustments to what you do. But we want taller, longer people because big people beat up little people."

Connor Barwin is likely a product of this new philosophy. He's 6-4 and with 33 3/4 inch arms. That's a "long" linebacker. Kenny Phillips fits that mold well also at 6-2 with long arms.

The obvious guy in the draft that would fit that profile on defense is Dion Jordan, who is 6-6 with 33 7/8 inch arms. On offense, Eric Fisher fits nicely at 6-7 with 34 1/2 inch arms. Physically, he really is built perfectly to play OT in this league.

Luke Joeckel is a bit smaller at 6-6 with 34 1/4 inch arms but that's still quite good.

This is one of the clear differences between Andy Reid's philosophy and Chip Kelly's. Reid has always been more focused on speed and explosiveness over size. When you look at the front 7, that preference is clear with guys like Trent Cole, Brandon Graham and Mychal Kendricks. All very athletic guys with speed and explosion but lacking real size or length.

Obviously in some cases like Cole and potentially Graham that hasn't been a bad philosophy. And at the top of the draft, talent should really trump all anyway. But when you apply that philosophy in the later rounds, potentially that's where Reid may have missed out especially on front 7 players. DE Bryan Smith, a 3rd round pick, was 6-2. Keenan Clayton was the fastest LB at the combine but he was 6-1 with just 32 1/2 inch arms.

Then of course there's Daniel Te'Nesheim who does have pretty good decent at 6-3 with 33 3/4 inch arms. He barely played, got cut and has since become a starter for the Bucs.

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