Kelly's Oregon group brings familiarity to Eagles

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Kelly's Oregon group brings familiarity to Eagles

They know exactly what every glance means, every hand gesture, every silent stare.

They speak Chip Kelly’s language, and they know what he wants before he even says anything.

They’re Kelly’s Oregon guys, and they’re a big part of his first NFL coaching staff.

“It was one piece of the puzzle you didn’t have to try to figure out,” said Eagles defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, who spent the last four years in the same role under Kelly at the University of Oregon. “They had been on a four-year interview with us, so it was just one piece of the puzzle that you didn’t have to concern yourself with.”

Kelly brought five coaches with him from Eugene: Azzinaro, assistant defensive line coach Erik Chinander, assistant special teams coach Matt Harper, assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght and assistant offensive line coach Greg Austin.

Harper, Azzinaro and Lyght were with Kelly his entire four-year tenure as head coach at Oregon. Chinander and Austin came to Eugene a year later.

Kelly said he knew as soon as he decided to take the Eagles’ job that he wanted to bring a bunch of guys with him to Philly.

“That was really important to me to get a bunch of guys in here that understood me and really kind of built it from the bottom up,” he said. “And Eric and Todd [Lyght], Matt Harper and Greg Austin are guys that are young coaches at Oregon that have been with me a couple of years and understood how I wanted things done and what my vision was.

“I knew I was going to hire coordinators that were NFL guys that haven't had the opportunity to work with me before. I have a tendency to talk really fast and I want things to be efficient. But I also know that I may forget to say something, and Pat Shurmur can go to Greg Austin and say, ‘What did he mean by that?’ Or the same thing with Dave Fipp and Matt Harper for those young guys.

“Now I can put together guys with NFL experience coming here, and those guys can say, ‘This is what coach means, this is how we operate.’”

And the Eagles will operate differently than they ever have before.

Kelly likes to practice at warp speed -- the same way he wants to play -- and that will be an adjustment not just for the players but for the coaches who haven’t worked under Kelly before.

“We know exactly what type of tempo he wants to run at practice, and we’ll be able to get everything moving exactly the way he wants it,” said Lyght, the former All-Pro cornerback with the Rams.

“The key for us is going to be get a lot of reps at practice and go at a high tempo. We know exactly the type of tempo that he wants and that way we can help bring the other coaches along and get them up to speed.

“I think having us here gives Chip a good foundation for exactly what he wants. Chip has a great vision for this program and where he wants it to go, and we want to develop this program into a championship-caliber team that can compete and win every time that we step on the field.

“The guys he brought with him, they’re exceptional coaches who know exactly what coach Kelly wants.”

Other than Azzinaro, the four other Oregon coaches are all assistants under a veteran position coach -- Chinander under Azzinaro, Harper under special teams coordinator Dave Fipp, Austin under offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and Lyght under secondary coach John Lovett.

So they get the opportunity to continue to learn their craft, while at the same time helping Kelly transition from college to the pros.

“Chip is a smart guy, a mentor to me and all the guys he brought with him and all the guys he didn’t,” Austin said. “We all understand the things that made us successful at Oregon, and we’re all here to help him replicate that success here.”

Very few people have won a Super Bowl as a head coach without ever having played or coached in the NFL. Jimmie Johnson did it in Dallas, and then Barry Switzer did it with Johnson’s guys, but that’s it.

It’s a short list.

Whether Kelly’s system will translate to the NFL remains to be seen, but guys like Azzinaro, Lyght, Harper, Chinander and Austin have been part of one of the most successful college programs in recent years, and Kelly believes they can duplicate that success 2,900 miles to the east.

“Those guys are outstanding coaches and they're going to be rising stars in this profession,” Kelly said. “They're smart, they're intelligent. I don't have to worry about what time you're supposed to be in the office, because we all challenge each other and compete with each other to who can get in first in the morning and who can leave last.

“When you have to worry about guys doing clock watching, you hired the wrong guys, and I didn't with those guys.”

Kelly went 46-7 in four years at Oregon, including 36-4 the last three years with Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl wins. All seven of those losses came to nationally-ranked teams.

These guys are used to winning and understand exactly what’s made Kelly’s program work. They’re here to help him do it again.

“Those guys have coached in a lot of big football games,” said Azzinaro, who also carries the assistant head coach title. “It’s nice to have some guarantees in life, and those guys are guarantees.”

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

Did Corey Davis reveal he wants to be drafted by Eagles?

We finally know who the Eagles will select this Thursday in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

No need to tune into the draft broadcast, or even visit the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to partake in all of the festivities. Just look at Corey Davis' Twitter feed:


Done deal. Get him a cheesesteak and a midnight green uniform.

But in all seriousness, Davis made an appearance Monday on ESPN and retweeted this tweet to Trey Wingo.

Davis would certainly make an immediate impact on the Eagles' offense. He would join a receiving corps already bolstered in free agency with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

But the Western Michigan product might not be on the board at the 14th overall pick, and the Eagles could look elsewhere on Thursday night.

The700Level's Andrew Kulp wrote about Davis at length here.

h/t to bleedinggreennation.com.

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

So, you think you know where every player will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft?

Well, here are some odds, courtesy of Bovada, to help you gauge your early predictions for the draft in Philly this week.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
We start with McCaffrey, probably the most talked about prospect in Philadelphia entering the first round on Thursday.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz compared McCaffrey to Darren Sproles. Stanford head coach David Shaw thinks not only would McCaffrey be a good fit in the Eagles' offense, but would also be a great fit in the city of Philadelphia.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of McCaffrey being selected over the 9.5 pick, and has 11/10 odds of him being selected under the 9.5 pick.

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro has McCaffrey being selected at No. 15 overall by the Indianapolis Colts -- the pick after the Eagles, who are slotted at No. 14 -- in his mock draft.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette has consistently been in the top 10, or sometimes even the top five, of mock drafts.

Many teams covet Fournette for his combination of strength and speed. The LSU product is 6-foot, 240 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of Fournette getting selected over the fourth pick and 11/10 odds of him getting drafted after the fourth pick.

How many RBs/WRs will be selected in first round?
Since Bovada has the same odds for the number of running backs and wide receivers going in the first round, we combined the two.

If you're living under a rock and haven't been following NFL mock drafts since the season ended, there have been three running backs and wide receivers consistently selected in the first round -- WR Mike Williams, WR Corey Davis, WR John Ross, RB Dalvin Cook, RB McCaffrey and RB Fournette.

Here are the identical odds for both position groups:

Over 2.5 with 1/5 odds.
Under 2.5 with 3/1 odds.

How many defensive players will be selected in first round?
This one can get tricky, because you'll have to bank on a few teams getting desperate and drafting some quarterbacks to hit the under.

Over 18.5 with 1/1 odds.
Under 18.5 with 5/7 odds.

How many Alabama players will be selected in first round?
Alabama is the gold standard for NFL players. Every year, the university churns out first-round talent on the opening night of the draft.

In Zangaro's afformentioned mock draft, he has five Alabama players being selected.

Here are the odds:

Over 4.5 with 11/10 odds.
Under 4.5 with 2/3 odds.