Kelly explains offense doesn't require running QB

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Kelly explains offense doesn't require running QB

Heres all we know about Chip Kellys plans at quarterback: Hell have one.Who will it be? Is he currently on the roster? Will he have to be a running QB or can he be a classic drop-back passer? Young guy? Old guy? Fast guy? Slow guy?Not a clue.Kelly, in his first full day as head coach of the Eagles, spoke at length Thursday about the quarterback position but only in general terms. He said its way too early to speculate about the future of Michael Vick and Nick Foles, but he did say there are a lot of misconceptions about the quarterback position in his high-powered spread offense.He doesnt have to be a crazy scrambler. Hes not going to carry the ball 20 times a game. He doesnt need to be the next RG3 or Colin Kaepernick.
He just needs to be good.Theres perception vs. reality, Kelly said. My quarterback last year at Oregon, Darren Thomas, who is up in the CFL, we played in 14 games, he ran for 200 yards. Everybody is like, Well, you run a running offense. Well, look at the statistics, its not that. We dont run designed quarterback runs or were snapping the ball to him and then running quarterback power.Two years ago we played Collin Klein of Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl game. The year before, Collin Klein carried the ball 317 times and Oregon running back LaMichael James carried it 271. Theyre snapping the ball and hes running. Tim Tebow, theyre snapping the ball, hes running counter, hes running power, its direct-snap stuff.Ive never been that way. Weve run zone-read concepts, man-read concepts, where its a mathematical game. If there is an extra defender in the box, your quarterback can read him and by controlling him and reading him he is basically blocking him.
Dont forget, it was Patriots coach Bill Belichick who reached out to Kelly recently to learn about his offensive concepts. Belichicks quarterback, obviously, is no RG3.
So its all about finding a talented quarterback, not necessarily a mobile, athletic one.
What Bill does in New England with Tom Brady is not a spread-option offense, he said. If someone tried to make Tommy run the zone-read, I think hed get fired, to be honest with you. You need him to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball because hes one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks ever.
Its about what tools do we have in our toolbox and what tools can we use based on the players that we have. I think what Jim Harbaugh has done in San Francisco and Pete Carroll did in Seattle is that they identified the strengths they had in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, and they played to them.
Mike Shanahan did the same thing with RG3, played to his strengths. Its no different than what the Colts did with Andrew Luck and what Denver is doing with Peyton Manning and what the Patriots did with Tom Brady. Any great coach identifies what their personnel is and puts them in positions to be successful. You have a wide variety of talent at the quarterback spot.The Eagles have three quarterbacks under contract -- Michael Vick, their starter for most of the last three seasons; Nick Foles, who started the last six games last year; and veteran Trent Edwards.Kelly is most familiar with Foles, who threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns against Oregon in 2011 while he was a junior at Arizona.Im a huge fan of his, Kelly said. Hes tough. I think a lot of people dont understand how hard it is and what toughness means to the quarterback spot. To just be able to stand in the pocket and throw the football is tough. We hit him as many times as we could hit him and he just kept getting up and making plays.
He completed a 13-yard pass left-handed against us once and I remember just standing on the sideline shaking my head saying, What do we have to do to stop him? Hes a competitor, hes accurate, so Im excited about that.
That said, Kelly made it clear that everybody on the roster -- at quarterback and at every position -- starts out even.
I want to take a look at all of our personnel and try to make an opinion of what I think of them after seeing them on tape, he said. I dont have any preconceived notions because I dont think thats the way to go about it.
Im going to look at everybody. If you can throw the ball and run, Im going to take you out there. Ive followed Michaels career and I understand what a talent he is.
But there is nothing thats on the board right now, theres nothing thats off the board right now. Our sole focus and goal is that were going to put an offense on the field thats going to score points. Thats basically what were going to do and whoever that is, I dont know that.
Vick is due 15.5 million in base salary in 2013, with base salaries in future years of 12.5 million in 2014 and 14.5 million in 2015.But the Eagles can release him immediately after the Super Bowl and owe him nothing, absorbing only a 4.2 million salary cap hit.General manager Howie Roseman said he and Kelly havent yet discussed how to handle that. Theyll have until Feb. 6 -- three days after the Super Bowl -- to make a decision.Its pretty obvious that there is a first decision to make, Roseman said. We do have time to make that. No decisions have been made about any person on the roster. We did not tell any coach that we could or could not do anything about anybody on the roster.Surprisingly, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said the question of how to handle the quarterback position really wasnt an issue when the Eagles interviewed Kelly -- or the other candidates.
Theyre thinking long-term, so its not about whos the quarterback in 2013, its about how best to move forward for the next 12 or 15 years and have the greatest chance to win a championship.No candidate was prepared to make that decision because they hadnt studied it enough, he said. I think these coaches for the most part see a much longer-term situation, and theyre not judging where you are at at the exact moment.Theyre trying to assess where they want to be with their football team down the road. And you dont know what course thats going to take. Its impossible to know.So it wasnt a short-term decision these coaches were making. It was really what kind of football team they want. Nowadays, as I said, theres a chance every year to find quarterbacks that can be successful fairly quickly. Thats good for the league.
E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

The Colorado Rockies laid the wood to the Phillies again Tuesday night. The Rockies hit three home runs en route to an 8-2 win at Citizens Bank Park. The Rockies beat the Phillies, 8-1, on Monday night.

The Phillies have lost four in a row, eight of their last nine and 19 of their last 23 to fall to 15-28.

Two games into this four-game series, the Phillies have been held to just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie Colorado starting pitchers.

Starting pitching report
Zach Eflin had his second straight poor outing. He was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs in six innings. He gave up three home runs.

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

The Rockies got another good start from a rookie. This time it was German Marquez, who held the Phillies to a run over six innings. Rookie Jeff Hoffman held the Phillies to a run over seven innings in the series opener on Monday night.

Bullpen report
Mark Leiter Jr. stopped the bleeding with two scoreless innings.

The Rockies' bullpen has given up just one run in five innings in the series.

At the plate
The Phillies scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk in the third inning. Andrew Knapp homered in the ninth to make it a six-run game.

Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon hit a pair of two-run homers against Eflin. He leads the majors with 62 hits. Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He hit five in a three-game series last season.

Gerardo Parra also homered for the Rockies, who have the best record in the National League at 30-17.

Transactions
The Phillies placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 10-day disabled list with a slight hamstring strain. He is expected to return sometime next week. The team opted for an extra bullpen arm and recalled reliever Adam Morgan from Triple A to take Nava's roster spot.

Health check
Howie Kendrick took outdoor batting practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering an abdominal strain on April 15. He could head out on minor-league rehab later this week and be ready to return sometime next week. Kendrick can play corner infield and corner outfield, so he could take away at-bats from Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders if they don't get going. Both were benched Tuesday night (see story).

Up next
The series continues Wednesday night. Jeremy Hellickson (5-1, 3.44) will pitch against Colorado right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-6. 5.09).

More WRs, more buzz, but Jordan Matthews unfazed with Eagles

More WRs, more buzz, but Jordan Matthews unfazed with Eagles

After leading the Eagles in passing targets for the past two seasons, Jordan Matthews suddenly became an afterthought when the club signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. There's even speculation Matthews might be available in a trade if a solid offer comes along.

The Eagles' investments at the wide receiver position this offseason would certainly appear to put Matthews' future with the team in question. In addition to Jeffery and Smith, Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson were brought aboard in the draft, all as Matthews enters the final year of his rookie contract.

None of which seems to concern Matthews, who described the trade rumors as "fake news" on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, where Phase 3 of Eagles OTAs was underway.

"I don't care about any of that stuff," Matthews said. "I feel like it's the NFL, if you think about it, everybody has a price. Those talks, they happen, so it really doesn't faze me."

To be clear, there has been very little noise to suggest the Eagles were at any point actively shopping Matthews or the fourth-year veteran is on the trade block. A reporter merely stated a belief the Eagles would be open to moving Matthews in the right deal. It was enough to get people talking, and once Jeffery and Smith signed days later, the rumors weren't going away.

Matthews' contract situation has a lot do with the reaction. Apart from all the new faces in the receivers room, this offseason was the first he was eligible to sign a contract extension.

There is absolutely nothing to report on that front. Instead, the Eagles directed funds toward Jeffery and Smith — who are viewed by some as his potential replacements.

"I haven't really talked to anybody about that," Matthews said. "I really don't focus on that too much, to be honest.

"I think you all know me by now. That's not really what fuels me, so it's like one of the last things I actually really think about. Whatever is going to happen is going to end up happening, so I just try to come out here and play hard and do what I need to do for my team."

Matthews turns 25 in July and has impressive numbers for the Eagles, recording 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. Only six players in NFL history amassed more in all three categories their first three seasons.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Matthews will reprise his role as the Eagles' primary slot receiver in 2017, downplaying the possibility of a reduced role. Pederson also noted Matthews' tight bond with quarterback Carson Wentz.

Pederson also declined to make mention of Matthews' standing with the club beyond '17, nor is it really this coach's place to say.

"Jordan has been a big part of this offense, and he is still a big part of this offense," Pederson said on Tuesday. "He's got a great relationship and a great rapport with Carson, and Carson feels very comfortable with him."

Despite trade rumors, his contract situation and the simple fact the Eagles brought in a bunch of players who would gladly take his targets and his job, Matthews remains positive. In fact, he sees Jeffery and Smith making life easier for the rest of the offense.

"I'm glad, to be honest," Matthews said. "I'm glad to have Torrey, glad to have Alshon, the rookies.

"Obviously, having more guys on the field that have that type of production over a long period of time, they're going to garner attention. That's going to help me get free."

Matthews is coming off of his worst season, posting 73 receptions for 804 yards and three touchdowns. Much of his problems seemed to stem from the lack of options in the passing attack, particularly at receiver, allowing defenses to hone in on Matthews.

Furthermore, Matthews was plagued by an ankle injury for much of the season, from which he is still recovering.

"Still getting there," Matthews said. "An ankle messes up the whole chain. It's not like an upper-body extremity injury. When you're dealing with an ankle, there's a lot more stuff that you have to continue to get right from the back down."

Despite the increasing competition at the Eagles' receiver position, Matthews doesn't sound very worried about his ankle, either. Like trade rumors and concerns about his contract, that too will pass in time.

"We've got a lot of time," Matthews said. "I know I'll be good when it's time to roll."