Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke prior to the team's second mandatory minicamp practice on Wednesday. He touched on a number of topics.
I don't know. That's why I don't deal with hypotheticals. I know Alex [Henery] has really worked on kicking off in the off‑season, a lot of things him and [special teams] coach [Dave] Fipp have sat down and talked about, but I'm not a predict the future guy.
I don't see this happening with Chip Kelly in charge. Think about it: Kelly preaches efficiency. That's why the team practices so fast and invests in sports science. I don't see him wasting a roster spot on a kickoff specialist because that's just not a very good use of resources.
Players who have impressed Chip the most
Yeah, has anybody impressed me? I think a lot of them have. Nolan [Carroll] has impressed me. Roc Carmichael has come back in great shape. I think Brandon Boykin has taken a step up in his game. At the wide receiver, I think Will Murphy and [Ifeanyi] Momah are two guys that have really improved from a year ago to add to the four rookies we have thrown in the mix.
I haven't noticed a lot of Carmichael and Murphy but I can definitely agree with Chip on Carroll, Boykin, and Momah.
Darren Sproles leadership
You know, first thing that sticks out is just how well he trains. He's one of the guys that you point out to the younger guys on film as that is what it's supposed to look like. That's the effort and that's what we're looking for on a daily basis from him, very, very intelligent football player. He's got a great knowledge of the game and I think he's really shared that with Duce and myself kind of how he sees things and has helped out some of the younger running backs at that position. Besides Darren, we are pretty young. LeSean is the next oldest guy at 25 and the rest of them are younger than he is. Been a great mentor to the younger guys and has really showed how they want them to perform out on the field.
It's easy to forget the Eagles are so young at running back because they're already really talented there. Sproles' veteran experience is a nice little benefit to that position group.
What can the Eagles evaluate based on non-contact OTA/minicamp drills?
Assignment, knowledge of what we are doing scheme‑wise, technique in terms of footwork, hand placement. There are a lot of little intricacies to that position that I think you can evaluate at this point in time. There's still a huge physicality part so you can't make a full evaluation.
But from an assignment standpoint, does he know where he's going and is he making the proper calls in terms of where he is? Is he communicating with the offensive linemen he's working with, whether it be a right tackle communicating with the right guard or the center getting the right calls out in front and recognition? Technique, footwork, hand placement, all those things. A lot of it is studying the drill tape work in terms of where he is. Is he a heavy‑handed kid? Is he a wide‑arm guy that can't get his hands inside and is he going to get beat on a bull rush? Really, the technical things at that position I think you can evaluate at this point in time.
I'm quick to point in my practice notes every day that there's only so much to be gleaned from players running around in shorts. Kelly's quote here gives a good idea of what the team is looking for.
Yeah, I just think ‑‑ and again, I know I say the same thing, it's a guy in year two, so he's a lot more comfortable than at this point in time last year, learning what our calls were, giving himself, hey, it's this, I go to the ball snap. Instead of now what's my proper footwork, what is my hand placement, how do we want to run this block here, how are we going to cooperate, are we double‑teaming this guy to the back side linebacker. Whatever the assignment is, I just think he's so much more comfortable in terms of what we are doing because he's not totally learning.
Now it's really concentrating on, I think he knows what to do but it's the how I think are the important things you're getting out of him in year two. And I think he's shown improvement from that standpoint. So it will be exciting when we get back in July when we get the pads on to see if he can take it full circle ‑‑ he has, he looks different. His body type looks different in terms of where he is. He has gotten stronger. His number in the weight room will indicate where he is from that standpoint so he has gotten stronger and he has gotten a little leaner at the same time.
The Eagles seem to be high on Tobin. Despite coming in as an undrafted free agent he impressed the team enough last year to earn a backup roster spot but he never really saw any significant time. On an offensive line that's the second oldest in the NFL, Tobin could prove to be an interesting prospect moving forward.
"Invest in yourself"
Well, everybody has the same amount of time during the day and you can either spend your time or invest your time and that's what we are trying to get our players to understand. It's how you allocate your time. We all have 24 hours in the same day and it's what you want to do. If you want to go play video games and watch TV and do all those other things, you're going to get beat out by the guy that is doing the little things that are going to make the difference between making the team and not making the team.
When we talk about investing in yourself we are challenging them to understand every action you have that has consequences to it. They can be positive or they can be negative. If at the end of the day your goal is to make this football team or your goal is to be a starter or your goal is to be an all‑pro, you have a say in that matter and that's what we are trying to get across to our guys in terms of that
There's just a familiarity in terms of what we are doing. We don't have to teach while we're in the weight room or meeting at this time or why we do that. What I have seen from these 90 guys is a real dedication to what we want to get accomplished here. Up until these three days, it's not mandatory but we have had everyone here for phase one, phase two, phase three. Guys are here every single day challenging themselves to get better. There’s been a constant improvement from when we got here on April 21 to where we are standing now.
And they want to improve. It's not us pulling teeth saying hey, what can we get out of them today because we know there's a long weekend coming up and whatnot. But these guys when they are here, they have got a great work ethic. They have a thirst themselves for improvement, and I think that's what we are looking for. We want a bunch of guys that like playing football, not what football gets them.