Chip Kelly values running backs above receivers

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As the NFL increasingly become a passing league, wide receivers have passed running backs on most team payrolls. But that’s not the case in Philadelphia.

After Chip Kelly signed running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews while declining to keep receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles have a wide gulf between what they’re planning to pay their running backs and what they’re planning to pay their receivers.

With a total cap hit of $12.6 million for their six running backs, the Eagles have the second-most cap dollars committed to running backs of any team in the league. Only the Vikings, who (for now) have Adrian Peterson and his huge contract on their cap, have a higher total cap hit for running backs.

But the Eagles’ payroll at wide receiver ranks 28th in the NFL, at $7.1 million. Over the last two offseasons, Kelly has decided to part with two expensive receivers (Maclin and DeSean Jackson) and has declined to spend a lot on their replacements, instead going with the relatively inexpensive Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff.

It’s also important to mention, as noted by Philly.com, that Kelly seems to place particular emphasis on acquiring wide receivers who are good run blockers. A good block by a receiver downfield can be the difference between a 10-yard run and a 60-yard run, and Kelly thinks a receiver who blocks well can spring as many big plays as a receiver who makes the big plays himself in the passing game.

Of course, last year de-emphasizing big play receivers didn’t work out as well as Kelly would have hoped: The Eagles’ offense missed Jackson, who had a big year in Washington. Kelly needs to get his offense back on track this year, playing more like it did in 2013 than like it did in 2014. Kelly clearly thinks the way to do that is to spend money on running backs, not on wide receivers.

106 responses to “Chip Kelly values running backs above receivers

  1. If you don’t have really good fast wide receivers the defense will load the box and stop the run so an offense needs balance.

  2. He’s either gonna be viewed as a innovator or a mad man. i hope he fails…..HTTR

  3. Carrol, McCarthy, Pagano and Belicheck (sp?) were the four coaches in last season’s conference championship games, this guy hasn’t even been to that game, yet he gets twice the press of all of those guys put together.

  4. This is a copycat league – Kelly looks at the Patriots, with an RB by Specialist Committee approach and the Seahawks expensive Marshawn Lynch led brigade

    He’s combining the two approaches in an expensive specialist RB by committee approach (Belichick tends to draft or sign lower priced RBs but utilizes them well)

    Of course I think that both the Patriots and Seahawks will adapt to a league that’s intent on copying them – and will be adept at exploiting the weaknesses in such an approach as well

  5. Desean had a big season for the Redskins and expect the same for Maclin in Kansas City. I also expect the Philadelphia team to find the right pieces to replace them

  6. TheEagles have never won a Super Bowl. Even the Buccaneers, Saints and Seahawks have a Lombardi haha

  7. is that really what he said? really?
    good luck with that philly, the remaining mess after he is fired will be amusing for the rest of the league.

  8. With the bevy of trades and free agents signings, both the AFC and NFC East have quickly become much more interesting. The networks will be looking at big ratings boosts, as these divisions are ratings heavyweights.
    .

  9. Posted by Michael David Smith on March 21, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT

    Of course, last year de-emphasizing big play receivers didn’t work out as well as Kelly would have hoped: The Eagles’ offense missed Jackson, who had a big year in Washington.
    ================================

    Do you even watch football?

    2014 Maclin: 85/1,318 10 TDs
    2014 Jackson: 56/1,169 6 TDs

    2013 Jackson: 82/1,332 9 TDs

  10. jchipwood says:
    Mar 21, 2015 5:48 PM
    Bill Belichick values cheating over everything.

    This thread has nothing to do with BB or the Pats. What’s the matter chump, your team can’t win and now you’re crying about the Pats?

  11. Funny how some people think that’s innovative… Seattle made it to two straight SBs with that philosophy… Patriots did the same in Brady’s first few years in the league.

    Hey, better copy those two team’s strong defenses while you’re at it.

  12. That’s b/c with a one leggit QB there Gona direct snap to RB the QB will drop into the fetal position till play is over

  13. How about putting Chip Kelly on the shelf today and show a little respect for Concrete Charlie ,,,,,honestly Chip would want it that way !

  14. Eagles gonna crash hard at some point.
    i thought they were onto something when they traded shady. looked like they were going to go for depth on d.
    after the bradford trade and the rb signings the eagles just look prime to implode.
    Really they needed to find chip a solid gm to work with. Big mistake giving him control over personal moves.

  15. While DeSean had a solid year for Washington, he did not manage to replicate what he had done under Chip. You could even make the argument that he didn’t replicate what he did under Andy in 09. Just 13 yards shy and he had 3 more TDs in 09, same number of games played too.

    As for,” declining to keep receiver Jeremy Maclin,” he got a crazy contract from Andy, the Eagles had an offer for Maclin, but he went for the money, which I don’t blame him for doing.

    In two seasons Chip has been able to get career years out of 2 different WRs, I think he’s earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to WRs. Plus, Matthews already showed he’s a strong option, posting 872 yards and 8 TDs in his rookie year.

  16. But the media is always talking about his “fast, zone-reading, pass happy” offense?
    —————————————-

    Chip Kelly is a lot smarter then the media. He enjoys playing with them. If you believe anything about the eagles the “media” has to say you don’t know much about CK.

  17. jchipwood says:
    Mar 21, 2015 5:48 PM
    Bill Belichick values cheating over everything.

    This thread has nothing to do with BB or the Pats. What’s the matter chump, your team can’t win and now you’re crying about the Pats?

    Thank you so sick of hearing these crybabies there real jerks

  18. This is overly simplistic, Florio. The Eagles used premiums picks in rounds 2 and 3 last year to draft WRs. They did not draft a RB. Looking only at $$$s spent doesn’t account for the fact that draft picks are undervalued (relative to their $$ cost) and thus serve as additional resources that are only partially reflected by the salary cap (since their “market” value salaries for those players absent a draft would likely be much higher). Maybe Chip values RBs more than WRs. Or maybe he doesn’t. But using cap dollars is insufficient to make a conclusion in this case, given the premium picks (with undervalued contracts) used on WRs.

  19. But you forgot to mention . . 10 Wins / Mark Sanchez @ QB. and still in rebuild mode.

    I can’t wait to hear / see how your team does, when it goes into rebuild mode . . . you would go crazy for 10 wins.

    don’t compare 2013 to 2014.

    Let’s see this article again in the 2015-2016 season, then we can judge . . . who is correct.

    face it . . Chip is smarter than you.

  20. Jordan Matthews is a nice player,but without someone to stretch the field it remains to seen how effective he will be as teams will concentrate more on the underneath routes. And if they relying on Riley Cooper they in trouble……

  21. delshofner says:
    Mar 21, 2015 5:55 PM

    Chip Kelly is a great … college coach.

    ==============================

    I’m not sure I’d even agree with great college coach, good definitely but he was in a soft major conference and he left when they were under investigation for cheating.

  22. @ chipadelphia22:

    Good post,but does that mean he can just plug anybody into their spots. I watched every Eagle game last year(live in Philly,not a fan,but love football) and Maclin seemed to have alot of big plays off of broken plays, but having him on the field(same as Jackson) created opportunities for Matthews.

  23. rrhoe-

    They said the same thing last year DeSean left. Maclin was able to produce and he’s never been considered a burner, though definitely not slow, but speaking of his speed, Maclin ran a 4.45 40 yard, Matthews ran a 4.46.

  24. Chip seems a bit confused. Like he wants to be a contrarian. Whatever the league is doing he claims he wants to do the opposite.

    He has an ego problem and the minute he gets behind in an early game, they will let him have it. You don’t just decide to change horses in the middle of a stream.

    The loses on offense will prove too much to overcome. The smartest man in the room will feel the wrath of Philly fanatics.

  25. Carrol, McCarthy, Pagano and Belicheck (sp?) were the four coaches in last season’s conference championship games, this guy hasn’t even been to that game, yet he gets twice the press of all of those guys put together.
    —————————————————————————-
    At least 3 of those coaches should be honored. Chip Kelly is building his offense around their philosophy of blocking receivers over speed, and finesse receivers.

    That’s the ultimate complement. It shows Chip Kelly is adaptable, and happy to go with what works over what he believed in college.

  26. The Eagles can still be effective in the passing game with short and intermediate passes to receivers who can gain yards after the catch, especially with effective blocking downfield, as opposed to burners who can stretch the field. The thing the Eagles need to work on is extending drives so the defense isn’t on the field so much. Three and outs just killed that team in 2014….coupled with a defense that had trouble getting off the field on 3rd down.

  27. I am not an Eagles fan, but , it seems like Chip Kelly is nuts ! The team seems much weaker than they were at the end of last year.

  28. I was watching some draft show last night and Thay where picking there late round sleepers. A small quick white RB came up ( don’t remember his name or collage) and Thay where saying he was the next Danny woodhead ….. I hope you guys draft him so bad …. Just to watch Steven A Smiths head explode.

  29. rrhoe says:
    Mar 21, 2015 6:58 PM
    @ chipadelphia22:

    Good post,but does that mean he can just plug anybody into their spots. I watched every Eagle game last year(live in Philly,not a fan,but love football) and Maclin seemed to have alot of big plays off of broken plays, but having him on the field(same as Jackson) created opportunities for Matthews.
    ————

    Thanks, I think it means they can plug in Chip’s players. If you watched every game last year then you also saw how open Chip’s scheme gets his WRs. Between Matthews and Ertz I’m not to worried about the offense, also here’s hoping Huff takes a step forward. Plus, they still have the draft coming up with another deep Wrs class.

  30. Chip Kelly knows more about football than every person commenting on this article. That is a fact.

    He will do well or poorly, but if poorly it is not because he is somehow less knowledgeable than the mouth breathers wishing him ill or saying he should do things differently.

  31. Everyone seems to be missing something here. Murray, Mathews, and Sproles are all great recievers out of the backfield and are comfortable out of shotgun. Blocking is the reason they drafted Matthews, paid Coop and kept Celek. Its not really that hard to figure out.

  32. gomybirdsgo says:
    Mar 21, 2015 5:55 PM

    Oh yeah the Eagles missed that game changer jackson…. how many games did Washington win again with that game changer ????
    ================================

    Jackson helped the Redskins won the game against the Eagles which knocked you guys out of the playoff picture.

  33. You don’t pay Jeremy Maclin what the Chiefs paid him……if that’s wrong girl, I don’t want to be right.

  34. Umm, DeSean had a career year in Philadelphia in 2013 under Kelly. His receptions in Washington dropped from 82 to 56 while yardage dropped from 1332 to 1169 and TDs fell from 9 to 6. This article makes it sound like the Redskins made Jackson the star he couldn’t become in Philadelphia.

  35. Things are gonna be interesting in the nest of the Eagles this year, wow the anticipation, hope Kelly’s vision, or game plans get it done, and Eagles sore to the sun.finally again number one, bring her on son….

  36. “This article makes it sound like the Redskins made Jackson the star he couldn’t become in Philadelphia”

    If they had a quarterback who could get him the ball, he might have been.

  37. @ chipadelphia22:

    The only issue I have with your response is Chipper had Macklin to fall back on once Jackson was gone,and Macklin had alot to prove to escape Jackson’s shadow and as you say,Macklin wasn’t no scrub. Who will step up now–Riley Cooper???

  38. Over 1000yds receiving is a big year and he smoked the likes of Sherman and Peterson…or are you still sore because he personally knocked your beloved Eagles out of the playoffs in week 16? It’s ok just admit what every other NFL fan already knows….you miss DJAX!!

  39. @rrhoe

    Well, like I said this is a pretty strong WR draft class, so they could add another there. Personally, I think Matthews and Ertz will both have big years, plus we still have Sproles also Murray is good pass catcher out of the backfield.

  40. People on here are dumb. Anybody who really follows football should remember that all of the Pats winning Super Bowl seasons they won with second tier WR’s and Defense. They didn’t win when they had the top tier WR’s like Moss and Welker. And Seattle getting there the last two years…. yeah they weren’t exactly sporting grade A wide outs either.

    Take a look at Oregon’s offense over the last several years and they haven’t had stellar WR’s either. It’s been RB’s that can catch the ball like LaMicheal James and Kenyon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas, and bubble screens to WR’s. So don’t be shocked that he’s not going for the best WR ever. I’m not.

    And absolutely ZERO people expect Riley Cooper to be some amazing #1 WR. He’s there because he can block and occasionally make a decent catch. So haters stop making it out like Chip is an idiot trying to center a passing offense on Cooper. Yeah it’s taken the third season to reshape the team the way he wants to, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  41. Kelly could’ve kept McCoy, Maclin etc and played it safe with 10 wins maybe a playoff win. With no Super bowl appearance. I can’t say I agree with all his moves, but that’s what everybody said about Jimmy Johnson. They said he was a great college coach and wouldn’t last long in the NFL. Maybe it won’t work but I admire the fact that he is going against the grain trying New stuff. All in. If he fails. At least he tried and unlike most coaches who just try to play it safe and keep their job over going for broke. I like Jeff Fisher, Lovie Smith, etc. But all the the retread coaches are the same. They might win games but they don’t have the balls to go for it…afraid to lose their jobs over trying to win the last game of the season. I’m not sure Chip can/will do it. But it’s fun watching him try. C’mon Eagle fans. What do we have to lose. We ain’t won since 1960! If he fails at least we can throw snowball’s at somebody else…Santa Clause is getting too easy to hit!!!!….LOL.

  42. I have followed Chip for years and there are two undeniable facts to consider. He is an unorthodox offensive genius and has never had a problem putting up points.

  43. Right, yet Chip used 2nd and 3rd round picks on WR’s last year. Mathews or Sproles will be moved anyway. They wont start the season with both.

  44. Kelly has too much power that was handed to him rather quickly with his limited success. The NFL has always been a “what have you done for me lately” league but let’s face it there’s 29 other teams that think out the box at times but this guy is making lethargic moves with players who gave him that “limited” success as a coach. Good luck Chip, your gonna need it.

  45. Chip Kelly values guys who value Chip Kelly. Lesean McCoy didn’t get along great with Chip, so he’s gone. Same with Desean Jackson, Nick Foles, and Trent Cole. He only decided to go get Murray once Murray called him and told him how much he wanted to play for him. Chip is an egomaniac who needs to feel that everyone thinks he’s a genius and recognizes that he is the true reason for his team’s success (if they ever have success that is).

  46. no crap? what a revelation. had no one ever watched is Oregon teams.he wants to run the ball and play action over the middle and really needs his outside receivers to be big and willing to block.hence Riley cooper still having a job

  47. Jackson helped the Redskins won the game against the Eagles which knocked you guys out of the playoff picture
    ————————————————————————-
    The game was meaningless to the Eagles. Dallas winning knocked them out of the playoffs. Beating Washington would have given the Eagles 11 wins.

  48. What the title really says “Chip Kelly Values Unemployment Over Being Employed”

  49. @gomybirdsgo

    Has nothing to with Washington , the eagles missed him especially in games where the offense sputtered and the WR were lockdown that game changer could’ve helped. But be a typical eagles fan i know Maclin sucks and shady sucks now that there gone.

  50. “Of course, last year de-emphasizing big play receivers didn’t work out as well as Kelly would have hoped”

    10-6 last year, I don’t see how that’s worse than the 10-6 the year before. It’s a dang good record either way.

  51. Not too sure why Chip is getting so much media attention to be honest.

    I guess because he is arguably making the most substantial moves this off-season.

    But regardless, I am not too sure if just because its now a passing league that we should basically devalue the fact of having a solid running core.

    IMO, if the Eagles O-Line can stay strong (somehow) and Matthews stays healthy, that definitely will be the best 1-2 punch running game in football. Any football fan should recognize that.

    But, I also think that Chip has a very good shot with that roster to battle for the NFC East. Not an Eagles fan, so I guess I am keeping a very level head with the thought of it, but if I was an Eagles fan, I honestly wouldnt be all too sour about the moves this off-season. Murray is a freakin beast.

  52. Desean had a big year last year???

    6 games he was held under 50 yards.
    He had 2 fewer touchdowns than our rookie, Matthews.

    I know you have to generate clicks and get comments, which I’ll concede worked in this instance. But, at least try to sound like you aren’t ignoring facts to push your rhetoric.

  53. nfceastfan says:
    Mar 21, 2015 11:05 PM

    The game was meaningless to the Eagles. Dallas winning knocked them out of the playoffs. Beating Washington would have given the Eagles 11 wins.
    ————————————————————————-

    Eagles was still alive for the playoff race before week 16. Did you forget the Eagles lost to the Redskins on SATURDAY DEC 20TH and Cowboys played the Colts on SUNDAY DEC 21ST.

    It was meaningful because if Eagles won and Cowboys lose on Sunday, you guy will still have a chance.

    It will be meaningless if Cowboys beat the Colts before the Eagles played the Redskins (which was not the case).

  54. Hey haters…how many coaches in the world could put together an offense that finished 3rd in scoring and 5th in yards with Sanchize and Foles each playing 8 games???? The number you are looking for is zero.

  55. The man comes into the NFL and has two back to back 10-6 seasons and people are griping over that??? Really? I think he’s earned some trust and respect at this point to be able to see his vision through.

  56. If they’re relying on stone hands Huff and slow as dirt Cooper to do the job they’re in trouble.

  57. Chip took Reid’s team went 10-6 and lost a playoff game. Pretty much stayed status quo to see if they improve, they didn’t. Now it’s build it his way and go from there. They won nothing with Jackson. Maclin and McCoy. All 3 had their best numbers by far under Kelly and they weren’t good enough. I’m a little iffy on the QB move but have no problem with any other moves. The runningback position had to be addressed now. The receiver position will be addressed during the draft or as teams make cuts. IN CHIP I TRUST.

  58. Andy Reid valued the running back position over the WR position, then never used the RB’s as WRs…when he used them at all.

    At least Chip plans to run the ball. I’ll let him give it a shot his way.

  59. I got a nickname for Chip, how about Weather Vane?
    Today he says he values the running back position more, by Wednesday it will be the wide receivers he values more. Stop the carousel and let me off.

  60. As long as you have a good QB, you can win with any set of skill guys. Great skill guys don’t matter if you don’t have a QB. RBs are more important than WRs. Winning teams are generally built through the draft, and the Eagles haven’t had a draft yet since Kelly was put in charge. So we really don’t know much about Kelly, yet. One thing I do know is that you have to get guys like DeSean Jackson out of your locker room and off your field, if you want to win. I think Kelly knows what he’s doing. I hope he knows. But it’s way, way too early.

  61. Why don’t we see what their final roster looks like and how they do this year before deciding that Chip is “nuts”.

    And I’d take this guy over any of the other coaches in the the NFC East.

  62. I think you may be reading the data wrong. Getting rid of Jackson was not a financial decision. And who knows if Maclin even gave the Eagles a chance to match what he got from Kansas City. The fact is that there was more time and talent available at running back this off-season than at wide receiver.

  63. @realitycheckbaby

    Sounds a lot like Andy when he was in Philly. Eagle fans ran Andy out of town on a rail after 5 nfc championship games & a SB appearance…but they are already having Chip’s bust done for Canton. A lot like Eagle fans treat another coach that never got them over the hump but that doesn’t seem to matter when when Buddy Ryan’s name comes up. You have Buddy Ryan II with Chip Kelly. Yup, all systems are go in Philadelphia.

  64. Im not even an Eaglesfan, but for a team to go 10-6 with Mark Sanchez at QB is unbelievable and the coach must be pretty good. I love the Eagles fans posting that are down on him because they “didnt improve” from his first year. Because their QB went down early and Mccoy, Who for some reason acting like he didnt regress, was a shell of himself last year. Thats why they got rid of him.

  65. Eagles was still alive for the playoff race before week 16. Did you forget the Eagles lost to the Redskins on SATURDAY DEC 20TH and Cowboys played the Colts on SUNDAY DEC 21ST.

    It was meaningful because if Eagles won and Cowboys lose on Sunday, you guy will still have a chance.

    It will be meaningless if Cowboys beat the Colts before the Eagles played the Redskins (which was not the case).
    ————————————————————————
    The Eagles were out of the playoffs when they lost to Dallas. The players knew it, the fans knew it. They played Washington as a finished team with next to no chance Dallas would lose both games to their remaining cupcakes.

    Even if Philly beat Washington it wouldn’t have mattered. Philly would have had 11 wins, and Dallas at 12. The Washington game was meaningless. It meant nothing. If Philly beat Dallas and lost to Washington than Washington would have knocked them out of the playoffs.

    I remember Jackson, and Washington fans wanted that to be the case badly, but that just wasn’t so.

    Dallas just as everyone expected won out.

  66. @ joesixpack:

    You make a few good points. Chip is definitely learning from what the Super Bowl coaches have done. Shouldn’t he? The Seahawks ran the ball more than any other team last year but Murray out rushed Lynch and Chip is adding that onto a passable running back committee, like the Pat’s.

    You might criticize the cap space involved but it’s scarcely any more for all 6 backs than it would’ve been for McCoy alone. Sproles is even better than Shady in space while the others, when healthy, are better at grinding out three yards or punching it in from the one. Much better. And enough of them are there to cover the risk of injury.

    It’s a copy cat league since teams will do whatever works and aren’t afraid to learn from what others are doing. Except the Raiders. They just loose.

    Carrol and Belicheck are certainly among the best at exploiting any weakness but that’s not any more true for what Philly has cooking.

  67. This is pure madness. Does coach Chip Kelly mean he can one day play without wide receivers?

    If this coach had the experience in the professional league, someone would think his sad experiment may work. However, with the confused state in which he has executed in the off season, his actions are those of a confused guy or someone acting in panic. Key wide receivers and players in the NFL are backing away from the Eagles. That is the whisper and open secret in the NFL this Spring.

  68. Once again, the amount of attention this team gets just shows you they are truly America’s Team. No other team draws this much interest.

  69. They didn’t “decline” to keep Maclin, they offered him 10, he took 11. But don’t let facts get in the way of your argument.

  70. Kelly coaches like he is still in college football. Trying to get the eagles to a rose bowl not a super bowl.

    As clueless as eagle fans that think he is going to turn it around for them by cutting Jackson and Shady.

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