PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly emerged, blinking at the late-morning sun, for the first game-week practice of his NFL career. He also addressed the media for the first time since the roster cutdown from 75 to 53.
Nate Allen won the starting strong safety job, but rookie Earl Wolff is going to see some action. “Earl’s pushing,” Kelly said. “Right now, Nate’s a little bit ahead of him. He’ll play at safety, too. We’ve just got to get him in the game.”
Kelly addressed the perception that it helped players to have “Oregon” on their résumés. He has five former Ducks, three on the 53-man roster and two on the practice squad: safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Casey Matthews, wide receiver Jeff Maehl and practice squad players Isaac Remington (OL) and Brandon Bair (DE). “If we’re going to sing the Oregon fight song, it would (help),” Kelly said. “Aside from that …”
Chung, the free safety, is the only starter from Oregon. The other two roster spots, Kelly said, went to Matthews and Maehl because of their special teams capabilities. “For backup players, there were three ways to make this team,” Kelly said. “Special teams, special teams, special teams. The special teams consideration, at times, outweighs their production as a backup linebacker or a backup wide receiver. How are they contributing during a game? They’re contributing as a special teams player.”
Kelly had a possibly revealing answer to a question about whether Michael Vick is still a franchise quarterback. “I don’t know what the term `franchise’ is,” Kelly said. “I know he’s the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback. And if that’s a franchise, then the answer is yes.” According to league sources, the Eagles are indeed a franchise. Kelly was just being a smart-alec, but the guess here is he might have had a different answer about, oh, let’s say Tom Brady.
Trenton Robinsonand Keelan Johnson, wide receiver Greg Salas, linebacker Travis Long, offensive tackle Michael Bamiro and running back Matthew Tucker.