Eagles fans (and Philly sports reporters) got a “State of the Eagles,” press conference from Chip Kelly Wednesday morning, questioning the head coach and head of personnel on a wide range of topics, spanning from their situation at running back to the potency of Sam Bradford at quarterback and even (not surprisingly) his interest in Marcus Mariota.
And while there were a bevy of pieces of information that Kelly was unwilling to reveal, more of his vision for the 2015 squad took shape during the hour he held court at the NFL Owners’ meetings Wednesday.
With Bradford’s acquisition still a bit of a mystery for proponents of the departed Nick Foles, Kelly explained that the interest in Bradford was mutual between the Eagles and Rams.The price for getting the former No. 1 overall pick was the point of contention.
“We were trying to keep Nick,” Kelly said, “we were trying to get it done with draft picks.”
Kelly is confident his sports science regimen, the one that helped Jeremy Maclin burst back from a torn ACLto post a career year will succeed with Bradford too as he rehabs from the same injury.
“We got him on a Wednesday,” Kelly said, also noting that it’s easier for a quarterback to return from an ACL injury than a receiver.”He was therethe following Sunday. He’s been with our training staff since then… we will finally meet with him on April 29th.”
Another rehabbing Eagle, Kiko Alonso, is making progress too.
“He’s running and moving around a lot,” Kelly said. “He should be ready to go. His surgery was done earlier than Sam, sometime duringOTA’s we’ll see him moving around.”
Last year’s rehabsuccess story, Maclin,left the Eagles for the Chiefs, leaving a large hole in the Birds’ receiving corps. Kelly expects Jordan Matthews to expand his role beyond being just a slot receiver. He also thinks Josh Huff can be the next spark plug on the deep ball.
“The biggest thing is consistency,” the coach said.”Getting hurt in the preseason game put him behind everyone. It was a freak thing on the kickoff return [when he was injured] but he is an unbelievable special teams player. He will get an opportunity now with Maclin gone. You just hope that year one to year two jump happens.”
Looking back at Kelly’s first two drafts with the Eagles, the coach revealed that Howie Roseman had final say. He also made a point of iterating that Roseman made the choice to pick Oregon players like Huff, with Kelly making sure he kept himself out of those decisions.
And don’t expect a trade up for Marcus Mariota. Consistent with what has been said all offseason, Kelly, while interested in his former QB with the Ducks, does not think the price to move up is at all reasonable.
“Philosophically, I want tokeep all our draft picks. I want to build through the draft.”
Kelly on trading LeSean McCoy:
“I’m very fond of LeSean McCoy, I think we all are. But it was just a really big number and [McCoy’s agents] weren’t moving off the number. That’s where the decisionwas made. We’re talking about the all-time leading rusher for the Eagles and the league-leading rusher two years ago, but it was a high number.”
On Byron Maxwell at cornerback:
“Because of how good Richard Sherman was, he got the most balls, because you arenot going to throw on Richard. He has a great skill set, great size, great length, a very smart intuitive football player… he also benefited playing opposite of Richard.
“The last few years there hasn’t been a great history of drafting defensive backs for the Eagles, so you have to turn to free agency.”
On the offensive guard situation:
“We feel very confident in Allen Barbre.”
On Evan Mathis:
“Everybody on our roster is available if someone wants to talk. If someone says they want to give us two first round draft picks for someone we’ll listen.”