Philadelphia Eagles News

Rookies Among Those To Impress Kelly

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Like any head coach after a preseason game, Chip Kelly was probably most pleased that the Eagles came away from their 36-10 victory over the Colts relatively unscathed injury-wise. Beyond that, though, there were standout performances from rookies and veterans alike, from safety Ed Reynolds' two interceptions to running back Kenjon Barner's pair of touchdowns to the play of third-year quarterback Matt Barkley.

With the "starters" playing two series each, Kelly was able to get a good look at the Eagles' 2015 rookie class in their first professional action. Among those rookies, first-round pick Nelson Agholor scored a fancy touchdown and second-rounder Eric Rowe forced a fumble, which had to leave Kelly pleased.

"The one thing you don't know about any of those guys is what are they going to be like until you get them into a game and that's the encouraging thing," Kelly said. "Sometimes the guys stand out in practice. That's been history and all of a sudden you get in the game and they are not the same player, and then other guys that were not so good standing out in practice, stand out in the game.

"We are excited about those guys. It's just one step for us, but we feel like we've got a lot of really good film to teach off of with officials, legitimate down and distance, all those things; a lot of good situations that we can get in the meeting room with those guys when they come back on Tuesday and really start to grow this team."

Among the few negatives from the on-field action, kicker Cody Parkey missed both a 34-yard field goal and an extra point. Kelly, though, cautioned patience.

"No, we are not (considering bringing in competition)," Kelly said. "I mean, he was a (Pro Bowl) kicker last year. In his first exhibition game, he missed an extra point and a field goal. He's hit three from 40, too. I wouldn't push the panic button right now.

"Let's not go crazy now. He's a pretty good kicker. Hey, he's a Pro Bowler. I've seen Pro Bowlers miss kicks. I've seen (Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri)    Adam is a Hall of Fame kicker -- I've seen him miss kicks before, too. Let's not hit the panic button on Cody right now. We are in the first preseason game."

As for those who did impress, here's what Kelly had to say:

On Matt Barkley, who went 12-of-20 for 192 yards and an interception for a 71.2 quarterback rating: "I thought he did a real nice job. We screwed up a little bit on that one naked [bootleg] where it ended up getting tipped, but that guy should have been blocked. Our tight end was lined up too tight, we should have had a pin block on him and got him to the corner and given him an opportunity to throw it, but I thought he did a real nice job out there."

On Kenjon Barner, who rushed for 29 yards and a 9-yard touchdown on six carries while also scoring on a 92-yard punt return touchdown: "If he continues to perform like that, we have to fit him in. We are going to find a way to keep the best 53 players here but when you get an opportunity to do something, you step up and do it. It's not a, well, if I had my chance    everybody gets their chance. A lot of guys played a lot of football today. If he continues to play like that then he's going to put himself in the mix.

On second-year safety Ed Reynolds, who recorded two interceptions: "I thought he showed up today. He showed up, not only two interceptions but had a big tackle on the kickoff return after that late in the game. I think he's a guy that's pushing to make the 53 man roster and I'm happy for him right now. Part of it -- we put a big emphasis on how you play in the game. It's not just our training sessions. It's how do you play when it's live full go and let's go. And I thought Ed did a nice job and put himself in a pretty good situation coming out of game one. We'll see how he grows from here.

"Ed has had a really nice camp. He's a lot like Marcus [Smith], year two. It's not all new for him. He spent the entire offseason here, was here every day. We weren't allowed to be with him until April 20 but he was in the building working on his own and I think it's showing right now."

On Marcus Smith, who played extensively on defense for the first time since the 2014 preseason: "He's a year older. I think it's not all new for him. I think he's been there, done that. This isn't his first preseason game and this isn't his first Training Camp. I just think there's kind of a calming sense around him. He's got a better grasp of what we are trying to do and he's really showed up in our training sessions and he showed up today. We are encouraged with his growth … I think there's just a different    he's carrying himself in a different manner. He was excited about going out and playing in a football game today. We are excited to see where this goes.

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