Under Kelly, both Jackson and Maclin had career numbers grabbing over 80 balls each for more than 1,300 yards. One might say that sort of production doesn’t get replaced overnight.
The replacement for Maclin and Jackson as the number one receiver in Philadelphia is assumably second year receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews was second on the team in receiving yards last season as he had 67 catches for 872 yards and eight touchdowns.
However, Matthews told the The Philadelphia Inquirer, “People ask me about being the No. 1 wide receiver; forget it. I want us to be a receiving corps. That’s what I want it to be.”
This just goes to show how unselfish and modest Matthews is, but it does beg the question how Kelly is going to replace 1,300 yards of production. The Eagles coach arguably got lucky when Jackson left as he had Maclin to replace him, that isn’t the case this time around.
As it stands right now, the Eagles have addressed the receiving corps by signing an oft-injured Miles Austin. While Austin had his good moments in Dallas, he certainly isn’t anywhere close to the player that he once was. Even in his prime he only had two 1,000 yard seasons, one exceeding 1,300 yards.
It all comes back to Kelly having confidence in his scheme and believing that it trumps talent. The Eagles head coach will draft and sign players to fit his system rather than draft or sign based solely on need.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Kelly believes his system can work with the players he has and that it will work even better once he gets the pieces in place that are more suited to his scheme no matter what.
This sort of system can only work for so long as it has been proven time and time again that NFL defenses will eventually catch on. Eventually you are going to need talent at the offensive skill positions and right now, Kelly is putting a lot of trust in an unproven Josh Huff and as mentioned earlier, oft-injured Austin.
Kelly has the “money-ball” mentality in which he would like to get production from young or cheap veteran players rather than pay his stars. He will pay the stars, see Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray, but he would still much rather it the other way around.
Matthews’ comments directly reflect what Chip Kelly believes. Kelly doesn’t want one receiver going for 1,500 yards and three receivers having 500 yards. He would much rather four receivers splitting that more evenly. This is exactly why they replaced one player, LeSean McCoy, with now three players, Darren Sproles, Ryan Mathews, and Murray.
Chip Kelly has been called a genius in some parts of Philadelphia and around the nation for his so-called brilliant offensive mind. However, that doesn’t stop us from asking the question, what is he doing?
It is admirable how Chip Kelly has so much trust in his system and how he gets HIS players to buy into it. We can only hope that his way of thinking continues to work.
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