Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: What To Expect When You’re Expecting (The Chip Kelly Era)


I figured since the Super Bowl is almost here and the draft and free agency are right around the corner, I might pause for a moment or two to take stock of where I think the Eagles are heading this brand spanking new offseason.  14 wonderful, but also difficult years with Andy Reid at the helm came to a close shortly after the season ended and now, here we stand on the precipice of the newest era of Eagles football.

Jan 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles new head coach Chip Kelly addresses the media as ceo and chairman Jeffrey Lurie listens during a press conference at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sportsy after the season ended and now here we are, standing on the precipice of the new era of Eagles football.

And the new era of Eagles football is all about: Tempo.  The dictation of tempo is a main component of Chip Kelly’s philosophy, both offensively and organizationally.  It’s not creativity or physical speed, though those are both also important aspects.  Chip wants to move at a certain pace, get off the highest number of offensive plays as possible, and beat the opponent into submission.

And as Chip believes, it takes the entire organization operating a certain way in order to implement this type of philosophy.  It’s not just the coach.  It’s not just the players.  It’s everyone and it’s everywhere.  It’s in the way the team goes about it’s business.  It’s the way they practice and interact with one another.  It’s an all day everyday thing.  And it’s why Chip’s motto is to “Win today”.

Well, that sounds good, and let’s hope he and Howie and the coaches and the players are up to the task of winning every day up and through February 3rd.  With an eye toward that line of thinking, I bring you my “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” series, taking a look at the current roster and attempting to surmise each position’s future in the Chip Kelly regime.

So, for this series I’m going to go position group by position group for each post, but today, I think I’ll offer some thoughts on how the rosters going to look overall by the time Chip and Howie are done with it.

First and foremost, expect a very, very young team by the time Training Camp rolls around.  I find all this speculation about what veterans are going to stick around in the new Chip Kelly era as, frankly, pretty laughable.

The Eagles already have the second youngest roster in the league.  And considering Chip came out and said when he accepted the job that he loved the speed and the youth on the roster, you can see why I might scoff at the idea of too many aging veterans staying through the transition.

Of course a fair amount will have to stay.  I’m not saying there’s going to be an entire organizational cupboard emptying and then re-stocking.  But Chip’s a new pro coach fresh out of the college ranks.  The last thing he needs is older guys who are too stuck in their ways gumming up the works as he tries to implement his vision.

No, I expect Chip is going to cut bait with a lot of the players on this team that are near or above the age of 30 who either aren’t starters, or were starters but were clearly ineffective.

To my mind, that means Vick’s gone.  Nnamdi’s gone.  Demetress Bell’s gone.  Trent Edwards.  Dallas Reynolds.  Maybe Cullen Jenkins is gone, though he’s been a quality player as a 5-technique end in a 3-4 defense before.

Maybe Jason Avant, though it’d be hard to see him go.  Trent Cole could be hard to find a home for in the 3-4, so that might make him trade bait (Cutting him outright is tough because of the structure of his contract).  Guys like Derek Landri, King Dunlap, Jake Scott and Darryl Tapp are free agents and definitely not coming back.

Either way, fans better be prepared for a radically different roster once next season starts.  A lot of guys aren’t going to be Eagles next year, so steel yourself to the fact that your favorite player, whoever they may be, could be playing in another city come next fall.

Which brings me directly to, the inevitable implementation of the 3-4 defense.  Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz (Who does fantastic work by the way, you should check him out if you haven’t already) does a great job explaining the basics and lining it up with current Eagles personnel.

Taking a look at that, and knowing that Chip Kelly is mainly offensively oriented, makes it all the more crucial that the choice for the next defensive coordinator is the right one.  Which I’m sure Chip knows, which I’m sure is why he’s taking his time and being very careful about who he selects.

Well, that and the fact that the next coordinator is almost assuredly currently coaching on one of the Super Bowl teams, Baltimore or San Francisco.

But, whoever the coordinator is, there is clearly going to be significant roster turnover in this portion of the team especially, where some positions will have altered criteria whereas others will disappear altogether.  Chip is also rumored to covet “longer” players as opposed to bigger and stronger or smaller and faster.

Well, that about wraps it up for now.  Keep an eye out for the first installment of my series taking a look at the current roster and determining where I think Chip Kelly head moving forward.  First position group: Wide Receivers.