Eagles introduce Chip Kelly as head coach


Eagles introduce Chip Kelly as head coach

Chip Kelly's first press conference as the Eagles' head coach is over. Below are some of the highlights.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie:

"We had an amazing experience interviewing some incredible football minds. ... The whole key was to find the right leader, not to make the fastest decision. As it stands in the NFL anyway, you take two weeks, and some people think that's a long time. That's a very, very short time when you're trying to decide who the leader of your football organization is going to be.

"We really were able to circle back with coach Chip Kelly. We had an outstanding interview with him on Jan. 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Scottsdale Arizona. It was just incredibly impressive. ... Everything we had ever heard was just so true. ... It was an outstanding nine hours.

"We were told at the end of the same day. He was either going to come to the Philadelphia Eagles or go back to Oregon. ... We kept in touch, and I've got to give Howie a lot of credit because Howie and Chip have mutual friends, and they kind of alerted us to the fact that this was a great match and Chip was really torn. Things reached a crescendo about 48 hours ago, and we were really committed to seeing whether we could welcome Chip as our new head coach."

Chip Kelly:

On the Eagles and his decision to leave Oregon:

"It's a special situation. In meeting with these three guys (Lurie, Roseman and president Don Smolenski), it was very evident to me, it's an iconic franchise with a passionate, passionate owner and great people in this company, and that's the thing that struck me.

"I probably took a long time with this decision, and probably a lot longer than some other people probably wanted me to take, but I think for me, I've always coached and been involved in this game because of the people.

"I knew what this place was all about, and it's where I wanted to be, but I love my players. We had a great culture at Oregon. Have an unbelievable coaching staff. It was really known versus unknowns. It was just very, very difficult to say good-bye to men that I truly love and respect. The way our players handled it when I talked to them the other day was nothing short of amazing to me. I probably cried more than they did.

"I knew this was the place for me. It was just trying to figure out a way to do it the right way. I wanted to be the first to tell my players. ... I want to tell you how impressed I was with both Howie and Jeffrey that allowed me to do this in a manner where my players were going to find this out from me first-hand, and it wasn't going to be something they saw on a Twitter account or a local TV station. That part is extremely important to me.

"The game of football to me is always about relationships. And the game of football is about people, and you win because you have great people."

On Andy Reid

"One person that I really want to thank in terms of advice in this whole thing is Andy Reid. "The fact that Andy Reid reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization is all about. There's not a classier guy.

"When Andy texted me yesterday when I accepted the job, I told him I had really, really, really big shoes to fill, and in typically Andy fashion he said, 'Just be yourself, and you'll be fine.' I just want to publicly thank Andy, because that really right there spoke to me about what this organization is all about.

"I'm excited to be an Eagle and excited to get started, and we're ready to go."

And the decision is final:

"I burned the boat. I'm not going back. I made the jump. I want to be an NFL coach."

On Philadelphia:

"I know about the fan base in Philadelphia, and that excites me."

As a recruiter at the University of New Hampshire, Kelly spent every December, January and May in this area.

"I know that the second most important bowl besides the Super Bowl, which is my goal, is the Wing Bowl."

On adjusting from college to the NFL:

"Football is football, and this is football at its highest level. But it's still a game that's played 11 on 11. It's about putting together a great coaching staff, having a great organization behind you, and having great players."

On the Eagles' QB situation:

"There's perception and there's reality. The perception is we run our quarterback all the time. The reality is that's not the case. One of the best quality in a quarterback is durability, and a lot of that has to do with play-calling.

"Part of what we do offensively has always been understanding what our personnel is, and then how do we maximize that, and what are their best traits? If you're going to ask someone do something that they're not capable of doing, then obviously that's a recipe for disaster.

"Our scheme -- offensive, defensively, special teams-wise -- is always going to be personnel driven. A lot of coaches have great ideas, but we're not playing the game. The players are playing the game, and it's about putting them in situations where they can be successful. Our offense is always going to be tailored to who's playing.

"In terms of Nick, I know him because we played against him. I'm a huge fan of his. He's tough. ... We hit him as many times as we could hit someone and he kept getting up and making plays. He completed a 13-yard pass left-handed against us once and I remember standing on the sideline shaking my head going, 'I don't know what we have to do to stop him.' But he's a competitor, he's accurate, so I'm excited about that. I'm excited for everybody in this program."

On Michael Vick's future with the Eagles:

"I'm going to look at everybody. If you can throw the ball and run, I'll take you out there. We're going to look at everything we can do to put the best product on the field... There's nothing that's on the board right now. There's nothing that's off the board right now."

On control of the organization:

"My role is clearly defining what we want. What is a cornerback? What are we looking for? What's the height, what's the weight, what's the speed, what's the makeup of each individual here? And then in collaboration with everybody. Not one person can do it all.

"I've heard questions about that I want control over this, control over that. That's never been an issue, never is an issue for me. I'm a football coach. I'm not a general manager. I'm not a salary cap guy. I coach football. I need people that can go out there and say, 'Hey, this is what you want.' It's going to be a collaboration. I have no delusions of saying I want all these different titles. I just want to coach football."

On the offense:

"I'm not married to 'we have to do this' on offense ... I'm an equal-opportunity scorer ... I'm not going to take a running quarterback and make him throw and I'm not going to take a passing quarterback and make him run. ... It's not about style, it's about substance.

"It's about putting guys into positions where they can be successful ... We're going to put our guys in the best position to score points.

"People want to paint a brush and label an offense with one word. For us, it's about what tools do we have in our toolbox."

On the defense:

"We're going to be an attacking style defense. It's going to be a group of people that dictates the tempo of the game. What that spacing is, in terms of is it a 4-3 spacing, 3-4 spacing -- it's again looking at our roster and understanding who we'll have the opportunity to bring in here."

On the NCAA's investigation into Oregon's recruiting practices:

"We've fully cooperated with the NCAA and will continue to cooperate with the NCAA. That did not play in any role in my decision."

FIlm Review: What led to Eagles' poor run defense against Washington?

FIlm Review: What led to Eagles' poor run defense against Washington?

The Eagles have vowed to get better. 

They desperately don't want to have a performance from their run defense like the one against Washington, when they gave up 230 yards on the ground. 

Head coach Doug Pederson said the run defense is "a pride thing" and the guys responsible for the performance, Jim Schwartz included, say things will get better. The defensive coordinator cited bad angles as a reason there were so many missed tackles on Sunday afternoon. 

In all, the Eagles missed 10 tackles and gave up 156 yards after contact — both more than they had given up in the first four games of the season. 

Washington's rushing yards came in some big chunks. Here's a look at some of the key running plays from Sunday as we try to figure out what went wrong: 

This is a key 3rd-and-7 from the Washington 13-yard line. On this drive, Washington ends up scoring a touchdown to go up 14-0, but it doesn't happen without this key third down conversion. 

The Eagles collapse the pocket and force Kirk Cousins to his left. That's exactly what Schwartz said he wants, to force the quarterback to his non-throwing side. Everything at this point is working out perfectly. 

Here's the angle that's really troublesome. At this point, Nigel Bradham (circled in green) has Cousins in his sights, while Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham (farther behind) are in pursuit. Curry and Graham seem to let up in their pursuit when it looks like Cousins will go out of bounds. But he doesn't. 

Schwartz talked about bad angles, and this is the perfect example from Bradham. He overshoots it and when Cousins makes his cut back inside, all of Bradham's momentum is heading toward the sideline. Curry ends up making the tackle but tackles Cousins forward for a big first down. 

This next play was just a little counter draw that ended up going for a huge 45-yard gain. Rob Kelley takes the handoff, which looks to be going right. The entire Eagles' linebacking group bites hard. Still, right end Connor Barwin is free and has a chance to make the play. 

He doesn't. Just a missed tackle. 

Kelley finds some open field. Rodney McLeod is the next guy to beat and Kelley simply turns him around. You'll see Mychal Kendricks enter the frame. Kendricks showed great recovery speed to get back in the play and has a chance to finally bring the running back down. 

Nope. Can't do it. Eventually, McLeod recovers to bring him down. 

This last play ended the game on Sunday. The Eagles punted the ball away with the hope that their defense would stop Washington and give them the ball back. Instead, Matt Jones broke off a 57-yard run on 3rd-and-7. 

Jordan Hicks over pursues, probably thinking the run was going wide. But he loses his gap and Jones is off to the races. 

Once Jones gets past the first down, it doesn't really matter that it was a 57-yard run. It could have been an 8-yarder and the game was over. 

So what did we learn? 

Well, Schwartz was right. Angles absolutely killed the Eagles on Sunday. But when they have a guy wrapped up, they need to bring him down. Sure, that's not Earth-shattering, but they couldn't do it on Sunday and it led to a loss. 

Sixers to ease in Jahlil Okafor off bench, expect more from him on D

Sixers to ease in Jahlil Okafor off bench, expect more from him on D

The Sixers struggled to carve a clear role for Jahlil Okafor last season as he and Nerlens Noel split time out of position in the frontcourt. Brett Brown has a more clear picture of how to utilize Okafor in his second year, highlighted by goals and a shift to the bench. 

Okafor has been sidelined from preseason action because of his right knee. He underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in March and aggravated it during the final training camp scrimmage. 

Okafor said he felt “pretty sore” after scrimmaging Monday, his first since camp, and he was better after going through individualized training and work in the water on Tuesday. This setback has forced him to exercise patience. 

“I know I told you guys I wasn’t frustrated a few weeks ago, but at this point it has been frustrating because I’ve been doing all the right stuff and I want to see me back out there sooner,” Okafor said after practice Thursday. “But I can’t rush my body, I can’t rush my health. ... I would love to have the opportunity to be there for opening night and play in front of our fans. Right now it’s looking like that’s probable."

The Sixers plan to use Okafor in a reserve role to start the season. Okafor expects to be on a 12- to 15-minute restriction, similar to Joel Embiid, when he is cleared to play. 

“I think about it all the time, but I talk to him. We’ve talked about this for months,” Brown said of Okafor's coming off the bench. “It’s not anything that is going to surprise anybody. He’s been fantastic. ... I talked with Jahlil about a lot of things and that could be, to start the year it will be, a scenario.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in 2015, started 48 of his 53 games last season. He is approaching this year with realistic expectations given his restrictions and is not concerned about being out of the starting five. 

“I’ll be fine,” Okafor said. “That won’t be a tough adjustment for me. I came off the bench a couple of times last year.”

Brown’s focus is not necessarily on how Okafor starts the game, but how he finishes. He would like Okafor and Embiid to be able to play together at the end of games to give the team a fourth-quarter boost.

“If it ends up you’ve got Jahlil coming off the bench and he’s going against backup five men, you think you probably have an advantage there,” Brown said. “If he does anything, he scores the ball, he scores buckets, he gets points. You can see how that can be a really nice role for him and for us.”

Okafor led the Sixers in scoring last season with 17.5 points per game. Brown, though, is focusing on his defensive improvements. The Sixers are looking to play an uptempo system in which they will need Okafor to hustle on defense each possession. Okafor slimmed down and added muscle this summer to prepare for the season. 

“He has to be elite in two areas to me,” Brown said. “Transition defense first — A-plus-plus-plus, get back. If you’re tired, if you’ve got to conserve energy, it’s not that way. It’s running back on offense. We have to get him back on defense.

“Then he has to be better skilled, better drilled by me, [a] high level of accountability with pick-and-roll defense. ... You can go over to defensive rebounding (as) a close third, but those two things happen the most.”

Okafor expects to be more effective on the defensive end after getting adjusted to it as a rookie. 

“(I want) to be smarter on defense, knowing where to be,” Okafor said. “My first year playing in the NBA, it was just a lot going on. Everybody was so fast.” 

Brown sees a focused 20-year-old who is more disciplined and ready to embrace whatever role he is given this season. 

“I can’t wait to coach him this year," Brown said. "I think he’s going to come back and have a great year. His body tells me that, his attitude tells me that. He’s in a good place personally."