While Chip Kelly sat with reporters and discussed his approach to competition at the quarterback position while also debunking the notion that he’s some football mad scientist, he also revealed a few specific pieces of information related to what we should expect personnel-wise from the Eagles in 2013.
First, on the topic of Jason Peters, Kelly said that he expects the left tackle to be a full participant when the team convenes April 1 for the offseason conditioning program. Peters, of course, tore his Achilles twice last offseason and missed the entire 2012 season – one year after earning All Pro honors in 2011.
Kelly also hinted to reporters that the voluntary veteran minicamp which is afforded to teams with a new head coach is likely to take place during the third week of April, prior to the NFL Draft at the end of the month. It stands to reason that Peters has a chance of suiting up for the Eagles during that week for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
As for the offensive line in general, Kelly outlined what he and the Eagles look for from the quarterback protectors.
"I think everybody's looking for the same thing," he said. "You want an athletic person at all spots, but they still have to be tough, hard-nosed, physical. Be able to knock people off the football."
The athletic ability and specifications of Kelly's ideal players remained in focus when he was asked about a perceived preference for "bigger" players on both sides of the ball.
"You have to adjust to what you have," said Kelly. "No one's starting from square one and saying, how do we build the perfect defense, offense and special teams and you don't have 100 first-round draft picks either. So you could say, 'Hey, I really like that guy,' but he's gone. So you always have to make adjustments to what you do. But we want taller, longer people because big people beat up little people."
As long as they can catch the little people, that is. Which is why Kelly is also looking forward to unpacking the explosive speed of wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Kelly hinted, according to reports, that Jackson may be more involved in the punt return game than he was last season, but he also said comparisons between Jackson and Oregon standout DeAnthony Thomas, who excelled under Kelly both as a receiver and out of the backfield, are hit and miss.
"I think they're both similar in size and fast, but DeSean's a wide receiver and DeAnthony's a running back," said Kelly. "When we got DeAnthony, we looked at some of his traits and thought it was beneficial to get him involved, because we had LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, how do we get him on the field at the same time? And he kind of naturally gravitated towards wide receiver, so he was kind of a running back/wide receiver for us. I don't know if DeSean has those qualities, but DeAnthony's been a running back his entire life and DeSean's been, from what I understand, a wide receiver his entire life, so they're not similar from that standpoint. They're both really, really fast. I think that's a similarity that is exciting to get a chance to get our hands on. But I don't look at DeSean as a running back."
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