Random notes around the NFC East: Chip Kelly’s under 3.5 year tenure, Giants’ interest in Leach, Redskins punt returners, and Cowboys DEs adding weight

Eagles

• Tommy and I recorded a new show. We recapped Eagles minicamp. Podcasting excellence lies within.

• ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano did a Twitter Q&A, and here was one of his answers:

Graz 1

He then elaborated on that prediction:

Graz 2

Dan is a smart guy, and I like him, but holy hell that’s an awful call. Chip Kelly has a 5 year contract worth $32.5 million. He’s the 9th highest paid coach in American sports. You simply don’t give a guy that kind of coin unless you really believe in him. The Eagles won’t have a quick hook with Kelly if he gets off to a rocky start, and even if the returns are disappointing after 3 years, eating $13 million to fire him doesn’t seem realistic (assuming Kelly’s salary is spread out evenly across his 5 year deal), unless his first 3 years are a complete and total failure. It’s not like he’s Mike Mularkey, who lasted just one year with the Jaguars. The Eagles invested heavily in Kelly. Can he fail horribly at the pro level? Sure, it’s possible, but if you don’t think he’ll last 4 years, you’re betting on a catastrophe.

Also, why refer to him as “this guy” instead of “Chip” or “Kelly?” Am I reading into something that isn’t there, or is that phrasing weird?

Giants

• The Giants reportedly have interest in Vonta Leach, who was recently released by the Ravens:

Vonta Leach

Waaaaay back in the early days of this site, I suggested that the Giants should give Leach a hard look in free agency. He’s a nice fit, and still a good player, but the Giants don’t have any money. Can the Giants sign him for something close to the league minimum? Don’t count on it.

• Ahmad Bradshaw signed with the Colts. The pressure is now on David Wilson to master all the little things Bradshaw did for the Giants. He’s going to be hard to replace.

Redskins

• The Redskins brought in Donte Stallworth for a workout, and he is expected to sign with the team. This is nothing new for Shanny, who loves collecting veteran receivers off the scrap heap. Stallworth was recently involved in a hot air balloon accident in which he was burned… badly.

• Rich Tandler broke down the punt returner competition for the Redskins. The Redskins moved on from Brandon Banks, a player I loved to talk about because of his amazing track record of fumbling, and yet not losing fumble. Here’s what I wrote about Banks a few months ago:

The Skins also finally said goodbye to Brandon Banks. The Skins loved to try to shoehorn Banks into the regular offense, for reasons I’ll never understand. He was also one of the most prolific fumblers in the NFL, and probably the luckiest.

I went to Amsterdam once. In Amsterdam, when the weather is nice, an absurd number of people ride their bikes. In the 3 or so days I was there, I marveled at how so many people on bikes could be riding around, and not collide with a high level of regularity. By the end of my trip, I was almost kind of rooting for it, not because I’m a sadistic jerk, but more because it just made sense for me to have seen at least one crash. To have not seen at least one would have defied all reason.

Finally, literally as I was walking to the train to head to Brussels, two bikes smashed into each other, and all was right in the world. Conversely, I never got to see Brandon Banks lose a fumble in Washington, and that is very unsettling to me.

Cowboys

• Kyle Wilber is reportedly putting on weight to move to DE from OLB. Wilber played at 240 last year, and is up to 252. He said the Cowboys want him at 255. It was previously reported that Anthony Spencer also put on weight. He played at 253, and is up to 263. DeMarcus Ware put on weight as well, although I can’t find any reports of what he is up to. The Cowboys will still be on the smaller end of DEs tandems across the NFL. But clearly, Monte Kiffin recognizes the obvious need for his ends to bulk up a bit.

• Jason Garrett apologized for the way he handled acknowledging the news that Bill Callahan will be calling the plays on offense this year:

“We made that decision months ago. Where we did have a little bit of miscommunication is when we were going to present that publicly…The communication publicly…didn’t happen as cleanly as I wanted it to last week, and I take full responsibility for that.”

Lol. Poor Jason Garrett. Jerry Jones reveals that Garrett has been stripped of his play calling duties, unbeknownst to Garrett, who is then left to answer questions from the media, having no idea what was said by his boss. And he’s the one apologizing for the way the switch was communicated to the public.

Jerry Jones… Please live to be 150.

*****

Quick programming note: The last few days have just been these “random notes” posts. Busy with some non-football stuff lately. I’ll be back to more original content soon.

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60 Comments

  1. The Silent Shard…

    This can in all probability be really handy for some of your work I decide to really don’t only with my blog site but…

  2. “I don’t see any scenario where he gets any more money than they have on the table right now,’’ the agent said, “unless out of the goodness of their heart they decide to throw him a couple extra million.

  3. Cora Conway says:

    There are so many “ifs” here, it’s difficult to predict which direction this Giants defense take this year. With JPP possibly missing the first part of the season, the pass rush cannot be relied upon like they have been in the past. That means the back seven will have to do a much better job in pass coverage – and I mean a much better job. The problem is, they don’t have the personnel to achieve that.

  4. horatius says:

    The fuck are you talking about?

  5. [...] Jimmy Bama wrote a terrific post the other day and I forgot to link to it.  He covered the Dan Graziano / Chip Kelly / first NFC East coach to go story better than I did. Jimmy also cracked me up with his comments on the release of Brandon Banks. Classic Kempski. [...]

  6. Brian says:

    Dan is a very classy and balanced reporter for a division blogger . He doesn’t take unnecessary potshots at teams either. But I guess in his defense he’s getting paid by ESPN to do so. I don’t really know what you’re expecting of the Eagles. Jackson is a one trick pony, Maclin while not a bust is a flop thusfar in his career, Vick is close to done, and Jason Peters is out drag racing the police (I don’t think that is what Chip Kelly meant when he talked about improving team speed). If ownership is patient, maybe he lasts long enough to learn the NFL on the job. Smoothies and music during practice can only go so far. But I’ll say this about Chip, he won’t be Spurrier, but I can’t buy him as a Harbaugh either.

  7. mjoedgaard says:

    My biggest problem, is his argument. I hate the argument that just bc Kelly has no NFL experience that he is going to be Steve Spurrier

  8. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    It’s so hard to tell with NFL coaches.
    This time last year, Shanahan was in a prove-it year, and if the Redhawks hadn’t turned it around down the stretch, he would likely be “retired” now. Coughlin was about to be fired before the Giants’ improbable Supe run in 2007, and is no longer in danger of being fired, but will likely retire in the next couple years.. Jason Garrett won’t survive a 1-5 start this coming year.

    All things considered, Chip Kelly is probably the most likely Beast coach to still be with his team 3.5 years from now.

  9. Phillyboijr says:

    Cute.

    That’s not close to what I implied, but then again, I’m not shocked you’re resorting to that.

    The point is NFL coaches get the boot with years/money left on docket all the time. IMO, three years is a good amount of time to determine whether the coach has the franchise heading in the right direction

  10. Phillyboijr says:

    I think I just found a fanbase that’s more overly sensitive than Cowboys’ fans.

    1. If you’ll notice, nowhere am I claiming that Chip Kelly will be some awesome coach. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. I’m just saying that based on how much the Eagles have invested in the guy, it’s far more likely he’ll last > 3.5 years than < 3.5. But whatever.

  11. Phillyboijr says:

    Let me help you out Jimmy. In 2002, Steve Spurrier signed a 5-year, $25 million contract, which was at that time made him the highest paid NFL coach of ALL-TIME.

    He lasted two seasons.

    But please, continue on with your “but is that the likeliest scenario?” routine.

    1. It happened once, therefore it will happen every time. Got it.

  12. Volt says:

    Hey Jimmy,if Chip doubles the Eagles wins for the next 2 seasons he will be Over..Its a low bar ..I think Chip “figured that in” when playing Coach Free Agency vs Oregon..He gets a “Honeymoon” few seasons

  13. Hokieshibe says:

    Only two of those guys failed at a level I’d call “spectacular”. I think a lot of them get into the pros and realize their messages don’t work as well on 25 year old millionaires as they did on 20 year olds whose scholarships they can revoke at any time. They realize it’s a lot tougher to win when you can’t build a vastly more talented team than your opponents. It’s very different. Plus, most of these guys had sweet college jobs waiting for them should they choose to leave the pro game. You can bet that if Kelly struggles, a lot of schools will offer him a golden parachute.
    Not saying Kelly can’t succeed – just that if he’s going to fail, there’s a good chance he’ll be out within 3 years.

  14. Hokieshibe says:

    A lot of very good college coaches flame out quickly in the NFL. And do so quickly.

    Nick Saban was only the Dolphins coach for 2 years before he ran back to college. Spurrier lasted 2 years (and it’s worth noting he was the highest-paid coach at the time). Mike Riley lasted 3 years with Chargers. Butch Davis coached for the Browns for 3 years. Bobby Petrino was in Atlanta for less than a season (although, to be fair he wasn’t fired – he fled). Dennis Erickson flamed out in less than 3 years twice (Seattle and San Fransico).

    It doesn’t mean Kelly is doomed, but the under isn’t a bad bet. Running a pro game requires a different skill set from running the college game.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      But that’s basically my point. You’re listing spectacular failures like Petrino and Spurrier. To say he won’t last 4 years is to suggest he’ll be a spectacular failure, especially with what he’s being paid.

      1. Jimmy Kempski says:

        And to be clear, that’s certainly one of the outcomes. But is it the most likely outcome?

        1. Phillyboijr says:

          Lol, love the off-season, when Eagles fans are so optimistic and think the football field is their oyster. The season starts….then reality….then Jimmy’s writing gets more objective.

          1. Jimmy Kempski says:

            Optimism = The thought the 9th highest paid coach in American sports just might last 4 years.

            1. horatius says:

              It’s not that college coaches don’t last. It’s just that with a little taste of failure, college coaches love to jump back into their safety net which is college football. It’s awfully tempting to escape a circus after your team fails for a couple of years.

          2. Joe D says:

            hah, thats all fans

  15. corn on the Kolb says:

    The argument, in Chips favor, is the amount of patience Lurie showed in Reid the final years, and the fact that they wanted Chip so badly.

    Say they pull off a 4 win season, and the addition a 5, and another 4. By this point, Philadelphia will have gone through Vick and Foles starting, perhaps Barkley. Do you think Chip goes 2 years with bad QB play and doesn’t draft a high QB at the start of year 3?

    If Chip does draft a QB after the current 3 fail, what are the chances the QB plays his rookie year? And the chances that Kelly isn’t given at least 2 years with this new guy?

    No, he will have 4 years before he is truly on the hot seat.

    1. horatius says:

      If they go 4 wins or less every year, they’ll be really loaded with talent. Like the 49ers.

      They are already a pretty talented team.

  16. DaCrock says:

    If by “ever” you mean before Shanahan had even coached a single game as an NFL head coach, then yes, I think Graziano back at that point may have referred to Mike Shanahan as “this guy.”

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Ok, well that’s sort of my point. On some level, referring to him as “this guy” is a form of disrespect, or maybe more accurately, an absence of respect.

      1. horatius says:

        That depends. Where did he place his emphasis? On “this” or “guy”? Did he make any hand gestures that would give us a clue? How about eye-rolls?

        1. Jimmy Kempski says:

          Pro Football Talk has linked to me a few times. They referred to something I wrote as “a blog post.” Normally, whenever they link to something, they’ll say “According to Joe Blow of the Paducaville Times…” That’s just a common courtesy.

          They could have very easily said “Jimmy Kempski of Blogging the Beast,” but they don’t know me from shinola, so they didn’t have the courtesy to source me by name.

          Jest if you’d like, but there’s absolutely a condescending tone when you choose not to refer to somebody by their name.

          1. horatius says:

            John Gruden must have “this guy”ed almost every player in the NFL. Not all “this guy”s are created equal.

            At this point we are reading tea leaves.

            1. Jimmy Kempski says:

              Isn’t there a difference between saying “this guy” and proceeding to call him the best player in the universe in Gruden style, and saying “this guy” while noting a negative?

              1. horatius says:

                Not to me. It doesn’t. I see no disrespect in what Dan writes. He’s written plenty of complimentary things about Chip Kelly.

          2. Mflick says:

            This guy agrees with you, unless you are referring to yourself.

  17. DaCrock says:

    I read your blog. I read Graziano as well. You both are good reads. Frankly, I’m somewhat surprised Dan even chose to respond to the twitter question about an over/under on Kelly’s tenure. His responses tend to be more of the “let’s get a look at him in a game or two first–at least in preseason” variety, which I think would have been a better answer here. As to him referring to Kelly as “this guy,” I think you’re being a bit too sensitive. It’s not Dan’s style to take subtle cheap shots–he tries to be fairly balanced in his reporting on the NFC East in my view. But then, keep in mind, that’s coming from a whiny, overly sensitive, delusional Skins fan (that’s ALL Skins fans, according to ggeagles21).

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      I guess I’m just curious if he would ever refer to Shanahan as “this guy.”

      1. radi8 says:

        Most likely not. Shanahan was brought through the NFL system as a coach, coordinator and HC. He has 2 SB rings as a HC and 1 as an OC. He is a PROVEN HC in the NFL and by default deserves respect. Mr Kelly is an UNPROVEN NFL HC and also one that was drummed out of the college coaching ranks due to scandal, similar to Pete Carrol, but at least he had been an NFL HC prior to being a college HC. Really there is no comparison between MR Kelly and Shanahan, yet.

        1. Rex says:

          At what point does “proven” get removed from shanahan? The only thing he’s proven in the last 15 years is that he can build a good run game and leeway can win him a Super Bowl. He’s as proven as Jim Caldwell when Jim Caldwell doesn’t have Peyton manning.

          1. horatius says:

            You could say the same thing about Tom Coughlin. Or even Jimmy Johnson. Or Bill Walsh. You get the idea. The only coach to win with multiple QBs is Joe Gibbs.

            1. DanM says:

              Parcells won with Simms and Hostetler

      2. Tim says:

        Kelly is a new coach, Shanahan is not. The “this guy” references his newness, it’s not a value judgement, the way I read it.

        Why the concern over it? You’re reacting as if it was a veiled racial slur or something.

    2. horatius says:

      Yeah, Dan’s no Mark Moseley. He’s arguably the best ESPN blogger around. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

  18. Dave says:

    Keep in mind that this started with him saying that Kelly would be the first coach to be fired or quit. Which implies that he will outlast Garrett, who needs a miracle to make it to the end of 2014.

    And Graziano said “it’s possible that Kelly will just quit” but offered no explanation why.

    1. horatius says:

      Jerry Jones gives awful coaches a lot of rope. Long live Jerrah.

    2. BigTTech says:

      What’s your source for Garrett needing a miracle to make it to 2014? That’s a ridiculous opinion, and not because Jones holds on to ‘awful coaches’, which Garret is not.

  19. Thiergow says:

    Eagles won’t stick with Kelly for 5 years if the 3 first years are awful. As there is no cap for coaches, that means you can’t throw out as much money as you want without really worrying about the consequences. Of course, firing Kelly after the 3rd year would be a pretty huge loss of money for the Eagles but it’s not like this waste of money will affect their ability to sign new coaches/players or something else.
    So even if the contract is a proof that the Eagles believe in Kelly, it doesn’t mean they’ll stick with him whatever the results are.

  20. DerfDiggy says:

    I’ve noticed your optimism on Kelly….I even remember a response to commenter stating the Eagles were due for a 4-6 win season, and you wouldn’t exactly put it out there(I expect it’s coming in your predictions post before the season starts)….but the remark was that you’re not so sure the Eagles can’t win the NFC East.
    And…I’m not saying you’re wrong in that belief…I think the talent level is enough to win a few more games if the coaching is up to par.

    What is giving you so much optimism?
    I’m sincerely curious.

    I’m expecting 6-7 wins max….and if that goes to 7-8 wins next year, and the same in year 3…I’d expect to see Kelly on the hot seat. There’s some talent on the Eagles…but a lot is unproven/unknown as well…and in this league it comes down to the QB obviously…which is still a question mark, or a vet that can’t read the blitz or stop turning the ball over.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      I look at that offense, and I see a loaded group. The RBs, WRs, and TEs are all very deep and very talented. The OL has a chance to be special. Obviously, the big question will be QB, and you kinda need a good one of those in the NFL.

      But I think they’ll score. Can they score more than the D gives up (which I think could be a lot)? We’ll see.

      But it’s not like this team lacks talent. They’re not going to be an easy out like they were last year, barring some crazy string of injuries.

      1. horatius says:

        Dream Team 2.0. Now with Dream Coach.

        1. Scott says:

          2011 called, it wants its awful joke back

          1. horatius says:

            How about dynasty? Will that do?

            1. Rex says:

              At least they don’t refer to themselves as America’s team and have been relevant more recently then when wooly mammoths roamed North America.

              1. poolboy87 says:

                Nice random shot at the Cowboys, I guess…

                Quick: who’s won a playoff game more recently, the Cowboys or the Eagles?

              2. DerfDiggy says:

                That’s because relevancy doesn’t matter for America’s Team….The Dallas Cowboys. The definition is the definition.

      2. Tim says:

        Sure, maybe. Although I think you gloss over the QB point a little quickly– an uncertain QB situation has sunk more talented rosters than this one.

        But even ignoring that…didn’t most people say the same thing about the Eagles at this point in 2012? Or perhaps even more strongly optimistic thing? So I understand a desire to make predictions and espouse your optimism, but I’m also going to reserve the right to not take that optimism too seriously at this point.

  21. Tim says:

    I didn’t see anything odd with the “this guy” phrasing, I think you’re reading into it there.

    I’d also say that, in respect to Dan, “holy hell that’s an awful call” is overstating it. I tend to think you’re “more correct” than Dan is on the over/under, but the 3.5 yrs logic is sound, even with the 5 year contract. NFL franchises (other than the Bengals and a few others) eat coaching salary somewhat frequently, it’s not unheard of and wouldn’t be unusual for Kelly to be fired if he has a Spurrier-like run in his first few years.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Well, yeah, if he’s Spurrier, they’ll fire him. I’m not disputing that. But saying that’s it’s the more likely scenario is crazy, in my opinion.

      1. horatius says:

        If anybody can afford to eat coach’s salaries, it’s the Iggles. They are always way under their cap.

        1. Coaches aren’t on the cap.

          1. horatius says:

            Yes, but it impacts the owner’s pocket just the same.

            1. rls255 says:

              Maybe his bottom line, but it doesn’t impact his ability to sign players under the cap. You know as well as I do Lurie doesn’t need to save cap money to “eat” a coach’s salary. So really, the cap has nothing to do with a decision to fire a coach rather than letting him finish out his contract.

      2. Sean says:

        I think you’re on to something with his choice of “this guy.” He then notes that Kelly has no NFL experience, which is why I think he refers to Kelly as this guy. It’s a way of dismissing him right off the bat based on a distinction that has no inherent value or significance. He says it as if every coach with NFL experience has been such an outstanding head coach. Harbaugh had no wealth of NFL coaching experience. His playing career in the mid-90s and two years of quarterback coaching in 2002 can’t really be helping him all that much as a head coach in 2012.

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