Tony Dungy on hiring of Chip Kelly: 'It's a great move'

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Tony Dungy on hiring of Chip Kelly: 'It's a great move'

Chip Kelly's hiring as the Eagles' head coach has raised a few key questions:

Which quarterback will fit Kelly's system? What's his biggest challenge in jumping to the NFL? What will the Eagles' defense look like?

NBC Sports analyst and former NFL head coach Tony Dungy joined John Boruk on SportsNite Wednesday to discuss those topics.

Your son Eric played this past year -- he's a sophomore wide receiver at Oregon -- so you have a little bit of insight on what Chip Kelly does in that offense and his coaching style.

My son has actually been there three years and is a redshirt sophomore, and Ive known Coach Kelly since then, and I tell you, Philadelphia is getting a tremendous coach. In watching him practice and seeing what they do in the spring and training camp when I was there, they practice a lot like a NFL team.

I dont think the adjustment is going to be too big and, I dont know this for a fact because I havent talked to Coach Kelly in about two weeks, but I have to think, in watching Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson do what they have done in the playoffs has led him to know that there is parts of what I do that can work and we can put pressure on people with a mobile quarterback and do some things.

I think hes going to have fun there, but hell do what his personnel dictates. Thats the one thing I really enjoyed watching them over three years. He had three different quarterbacks -- Jeremiah Masoli and then went to Derron Thomas and then to Marcus Mariota this year -- and they did a little bit of different things with each one, but they played to their strengths and won a lot of games. So again, I would have to be very excited if I were a Philadelphia fan.

Which quarterback would fit Chip Kellys system (Michael Vick or Nick Foles)?

Well, I think thats going to be a money driven decision and well see what happens. I do know Coach Kelly really liked Nick Foles. I watched Nick play against Oregon twice and have two outstanding games and throw the ball all around and make plays and I know Coach Kelly likes playmakers, so itll be interesting to see. I think Michael could flourish in that offense, for sure. Its just that probably will come down to money.

But the one thing I can tell you about Coach Kelly, he will adjust to his personnel. Hell use guys in the way they can be used best. I know DeAnthony Thomas was a highly recruited kid to go to USC and play corner because people didnt think he was big enough to play on offense and certainly not big enough to play running back, and Chip told him, You come here and Ill find a way to use you and make you a dynamic player, and thats what happened. They used him in the slot. They used him in some different ways running the ball and got the ball to him and hes a great player. So I think thats really coachs strength is getting the most out of his personnel.

What is Chip Kellys biggest challenge in his jump to the NFL?

The biggest challenge for anybody coming in is just getting people to believe and there is going to be some skepticism from his players and from everybody at first. Is this really going to work? Is this guy a pro coach? But Ill tell you what, hell do well once they get to know him and once they just see his demeanor and what he thinks about football. Hes going to impress them and once he gets everyone to believe, theyre going to be effective.

Do you feel as if a guy in Chip Kelly -- he brings an innovative mind that maybe other teams and other coaches around the league will catch on to and will follow once he gets here?

Well, he thinks outside of the box, and hes not afraid to be a risk taker and be a little different from the crowd. I know this was Philadelphias first choice. I happened to talk to both Chip and Jeffrey Lurie way back when this thing first started. I have a little bit of self-interest -- I was trying to talk like a dad and talk Coach Kelly into staying, but also talk from the perspective of being a former NFL coach and the things the Philly organization could give Coach and what its like coaching in the NFL and that type of thing.

I think he was intrigued by that and he wants to step up to the challenge, and I think hes going to do it. Again, the big thing I saw in three years was utilizing personnel, and the National Championship game was my sons first year, and Auburn had 10 guys drafted off that team -- that was Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and that group -- and Oregon played them right down to the last play, lost on a field goal on the last play of the game, and the only guy they had drafted that year was Casey Matthews, who went to Philadelphia. But that was, I think really spoke to what Coach Kelly can do -- take guys that might not be prototypical players, but use them in a way they can perform and produce.

What do you see in terms of the Eagles' defense with Chip Kelly as the head coach?

Well, I think, No. 1, the reason why they hired Chip Kelly was not to fix the defense. Hell get that done and hell get a competent person in there to run that side of the ball. But I know they hired him to be explosive and to move the ball and score points and I think that is his philosophy: Hey, were gonna put pressure on people to keep up with us scoring' and I think Philadelphia will do that. I think youll see some really good offense, and the one thing hes not going to micromanage the defense. Hes going to set a tone for the whole team, and the way theyre going to play and the attention to detail and the focus and the attitude and theyll play good defense.

I think its a great move and theres no doubt in my mind Coach Kelly is going to be a special coach in the NFL.

Adam Morgan gets a fresh start in Phillies' bullpen

Adam Morgan gets a fresh start in Phillies' bullpen

SAN FRANCISCO – The Phillies are trying something new with Adam Morgan.

They are going to give him a look in the bullpen.

“It’s an awesome opportunity,” the 26-year-old left-hander said on Sunday after the Phillies lost to the Giants (see game story). “I need to take advantage of it.”

Morgan has been used exclusively as a starter in his career. That includes 26 big-league starts with the Phillies. But in 11 starts this season, he has a 6.55 ERA, largely because he has had difficulty getting the ball down.

Morgan was dropped from the rotation on Saturday when the club announced that Vince Velasquez would come off the disabled list and pitch Monday night in Arizona (see story). It was unclear whether Morgan would go to Triple A and continue to start or stay with the club and go the bullpen. When the club announced that lefty reliever Elvis Araujo had been shipped to Triple A after Sunday’s game, it became clear that Morgan was staying – in a new role.

“I’ve never done it before, but I will give it a shot,” he said. “I’m excited.”

Morgan can immediately give the Phils multiple innings out of the bullpen, which has run up some miles lately.

“Long man, swing guy,” manager Pete Mackanin said of what Morgan's role in the bullpen would be. “We're going to get a look at him in that role for the time being, which doesn't mean he's never going to start again for us. But at this point, we want to give it a look to see if he can pitch out of the bullpen.

“He has four pitches and he has a good breaking ball and a good change-up for right-handers. I think, having been a starter for all his career, that's just what the doctor ordered when looking for a long man. A guy who throws strikes and has pitches to get both lefties and righties out. He's got it.”

Will this be the move that makes Morgan a successful major leaguer?

Time will tell.

Aaron Nola beaten up again, and his confidence is bruised, as Phillies suffer walk-off loss to Giants

Aaron Nola beaten up again, and his confidence is bruised, as Phillies suffer walk-off loss to Giants

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO – The Phillies have another rebuilding project on their hands.

And this one requires more immediate urgency than the methodical construction of a team that club officials hope can be a contender in a couple of years.

Right now, the Phillies must rebuild Aaron Nola’s confidence. It took another beating Sunday in an 8-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants (see Instant Replay).

The 23-year-old right-hander was hit hard for the fourth straight start. He gave up a career-high 10 hits and five runs in just 3 1/3 innings. Known for being a master of control, Nola uncharacteristically hit three batters, which prompted San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto to drill Maikel Franco in retaliation.

Really, there was no need for Cueto to retaliate. Nola wasn’t trying to hit anyone on purpose, and two of his plunkings came on curveballs. He has lost his way so badly that he had no idea where the ball was going.

“He’s a little confused right now,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s approaching his first full year in the big leagues so he’s going to have some adversity. He probably hasn’t had any in quite a while, if at all. You can see his confidence is shaken. But he’s smart and a competitor. He’ll bounce back at some point.”

Nola had a 2.65 ERA in his first 12 starts this season. It has climbed to 4.45 over his last four starts as he has been tagged for 32 hits and 22 earned runs over just 13 innings.

Nola arrived in the majors 11 months ago and recorded a 3.12 ERA in his first 25 big-league starts. His ERA in his last four is a troubling 15.23.

“I’m concerned,” Mackanin said. “Four starts in a row he hasn’t gotten out of the fourth. It happens. He has to battle his way out of it.”

Mackanin said “as far as I’m concerned” Nola would make his next start Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against Kansas City.

Nola’s strength has always been his ability to throw four-seam fastballs, sinkers and breaking balls away from the middle of the plate.

Lately, that strength has abandoned him. His stuff has caught too much plate and hitters have feasted.

“I’m not really finishing my pitches,” Nola said. “I’m just kind of cutting everything off, not getting on top of the ball, which leads to finishing the pitch.

“This is the first time I’ve gone through this. I’m going to keep working through the week and try to bounce back. “

Nola wouldn’t admit to his confidence being shaken, but he did acknowledge a slump like his weighs on the mind.

“You just have to fight through it,” he said

Looking to shake Nola from his slump, Mackanin paired Carlos Ruiz with Nola for the first time ever.

Ruiz sensed that Nola’s confidence is bruised.

“You can see that a little bit,” he said. “His command is not consistent. It’s tough. He’s young.”

As a team, the Phillies showed plenty of fight in this series. They battled back to beat Madison Bumgarner with three runs in the seventh inning on Saturday night and never stopped coming at Cueto on Sunday. Bumgarner and Cueto entered the series with ERAs of 1.85 and 2.06, respectively, ranking third and fourth in the NL.

“I’m real proud of the guys and the way they battled against tough pitching and a good team,” Mackanin said.

The Giants have won 32 of their last 42 games while the Phillies have lost 28 of 36.

With Nola struggling so badly, the Phils fell behind 5-1 in Sunday’s game. Nola hit his second and third batters in the third inning and Giants put four runs on the board.

With two outs in the top of the fourth, Cueto drilled Franco. The Phils went on to rally for two runs. They rallied for two more to tie the game on Cody Asche’s two-out, two-run single in the fifth.

Franco had a feeling someone would get plunked by Cueto – “it’s part of the game,” he said – and it turned out to be him. But Franco said the plunking actually was a good thing for the Phils.

“It brought us energy,” he said.

The Phillies tied the game twice more on a homer by Odubel Herrera in the seventh and an RBI hit by Ruiz in the eighth. The Giants won it on a walk-off hit by Conor Gillaspie off Severino Gonzalez with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Ramiro Pena’s long-fly double to the right-field corner preceded the hit. Rightfielder Peter Bourjos fought the sun and wind, but could not make a catch.

“The ball crossed right in front of the sun and the wind was pushing it back,” Bourjos said. Because of the elements “I couldn’t take my eye off the ball and check where the wall was. If the sun is not there, it’s a play I probably make.”

Mackanin used Gonzalez into his second inning of work because he said his bullpen had been taxed lately.

“I’m going to the bullpen so much,” he said. “I can’t use everybody the way I want every night.”

In the end, it was just another loss for a team that has already racked up a ton of them.

Of more immediate importance is the matter of fixing Nola.

Best of MLB: Indians top Verlander, Tigers for MLB season-high 9th straight win

Best of MLB: Indians top Verlander, Tigers for MLB season-high 9th straight win

DETROIT -- Lonnie Chisenhall had four hits, including one of Cleveland's four home runs off Justin Verlander in the fifth inning, and the streaking Indians won their ninth straight game Sunday by beating Detroit 9-3 to remain unbeaten in nine meetings with the Tigers this season.

Juan Uribe, Tyler Naquin and Mike Napoli also went deep for the Indians. Chisenhall was 4 for 4 with a triple and three RBIs.

Cleveland overcame three homers by former teammates, including two by Victor Martinez, to sweep Detroit for the third time this year. The Indians have outscored the Tigers 60-20 in nine games.

Only once before had Verlander allowed four homers in a start -- also against the Indians in 2007. According to the Elias Sports Bureau and Fox Sports Detroit, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to give up four in one inning.

Verlander (7-6) allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings (see full recap).

Chris Sale earns MLB-high 13th win of season vs. Blue Jays
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale pitched eight innings of two-run ball to become the majors' first 13-game winner, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Sunday.

Tim Anderson and J.B. Shuck homered to help Chicago take two of three from slumping Toronto, which has dropped five of seven. The White Sox returned to .500 (38-38) with their fifth win in seven games.

Sale (13-2) allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked two in his fourth straight victory. The ace left-hander matched his win total from all of 2015 when he was 13-11 (see full recap).

Jose Fernandez strikes out 13 Cubs in Marlins' win
MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez delivered another gem at Marlins Park, allowing one run in seven innings and striking out 13 Sunday to help Miami beat the faltering Chicago Cubs, 6-1.

The Marlins won three of four from the injury-depleted Cubs, who went 1-6 for the week but still have baseball's best record.

Fernandez improved his career record at home to 24-1 with a 1.48 ERA, and this year the right-hander has been pretty good everywhere -- he's 10-3 with a 2.28 ERA and 138 strikeouts.

Giancarlo Stanton doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the sixth for the Marlins, who went 7-3 on their homestand. At 41-35, they're six games above .500 for the first time since June 2012, their first season in Marlins Park (see full recap).