Kelly talks method behind lineup madness

August, 3, 2014
Aug 3
6:00
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- There is always order behind the apparent chaos of a Chip Kelly practice.

While reporters analyze who’s moving up or down the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart, sometimes the reasoning isn’t what it seems. For example, linebacker Najee Goode and wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah each got some first-team reps in recent days. Sometimes that signals a change in the starting lineup. Sometimes it doesn’t mean much at all. The coaches may just want to see a player play against the best competition available.

Goode is a candidate to spell DeMeco Ryans, who played too many downs last season. But the coaches need to see Goode work with and against starting-caliber players to evaluate his preparedness.

“It’s not, 'Let’s get DeMeco off the field because we’re afraid of reps for him,'” Kelly said. “What we’re really trying to do is (see) how do those players do when they go against the ones. It’s happened at all levels. You see a guy rip it up with the twos and threes and then you put him in with the ones and he disappears a little bit. Maybe he’s not as dominant.

“It’s one of the things everybody is a little leery about in preseason. You see some guy in preseason who has X amount of catches or X amount of tackles, but he did it against the threes and fours. All of a sudden, he’s the talk of camp, but he really can’t do it when the competition steps up a little bit. There is a difference between the ones and the twos and the threes.”

Meanwhile, wide receiver Jordan Matthews has remained with the second team despite having a very good camp. In the case of the second-round pick, Kelly doesn’t want to push him beyond his comfort level. It’s better to let Matthews continue to learn the offense and his role in it and have some success.

Kelly said Matthews will move up “at some point in time. The one thing you don’t want to do with anybody is just throw him out there. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. A lot of the scripting that goes on, the play calls are different for the ones and the twos and the threes. We’re trying to give those a guys a chance to be successful, give them a little bit of confidence, let them get their feet underneath them.”

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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