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For five players, Chip Kelly’s practices are nothing new

For five former Oregon players, who are now with the Eagles, Chip Kelly's practices are nothing new.

Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews is a former Duck who played under Chip Kelly. (Rich Schultz/AP)
Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews is a former Duck who played under Chip Kelly. (Rich Schultz/AP)Read more

NOT ALL THE players on the Eagles' roster are surprised by Chip Kelly's fast-paced practices.

For five players, in fact, it's business as usual.

That's because they played for Kelly at Oregon, where the 49-year-old coach perfected the practice routines he's initiated with the Eagles.

Kelly, who took over for Andy Reid in January, was Oregon's head coach for the past 4 years. And he was the Ducks' offensive coordinator for 2 years before that.

Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews is a former Duck who played under Kelly. So are quarterback Dennis Dixon and safety Patrick Chung, who joined the Eagles in the offseason via free agency, and wide receiver Will Murphy and defensive tackle Isaac Remington, who signed as undrafted rookie free agents.

They've all seen Kelly's act before.

"Nothing, nothing at all," said Dixon when asked if there were differences between Eagles' and Ducks' practices "It's the same fast-paced Chip Kelly, the one who gets things done efficiently and 100 percent."

During practice, Kelly uses speakers to blast multiple genres of music, a strategy he used when coaching at Oregon and New Hampshire. Kelly believes the music helps players learn to communicate because they have to be loud and clear. It also helps overcome the difficulties of playing in a noisy stadium once the regular season begins.

"The practice format is very similar, but the main difference is just the speed and the size of all of the players," Murphy said. "It's getting used to all these guys and the veterans. It's quite a different pace."

At Oregon, Kelly monitored what the players ate and how they trained. He's already doing the same thing with the Eagles.

"[Kelly] is one of those scientific guys that wants to make sure his guys are healthy, in shape, fast, strong, quick, muscles are good and no cramping," Chung said. "The NFL is all about guys taking care of your body and [Kelly] will make sure everybody will be taken care of."

Murphy agrees.

"He's always made sure we understood the importance of recovery and nutrition and it's a big piece of everything that we do," Murphy said.

Although Dixon was a starting quarterback when Kelly was the offensive coordinator at Oregon, he said he knows he's in competition with four others on the Eagles' roster.

Dixon, who has played with the Steelers and Ravens, said Kelly has not given him any tips or suggestions about how to make the team. He said that to make the 53-man roster, he'll have to train and compete as hard as everyone else.

"The sky is the limit," Dixon said of Kelly's open quarterback competition. "At the end of day, all I can do is control what I can with the reps that I do have and make sure that I can make the most of it and, at the same time, lead by example."

The feeling is mutual for those who have played under Kelly at Oregon. Murphy said they all know the coach will use the best player at each position.

Chung, who played safety while Kelly was still an offensive coordinator at Oregon, said he was "juiced" at the news that the coach had accepted the Eagles job on Jan. 16. Chung said his excitement grew after he signed with the Eagles on March 12, and realized he would be reunited with Kelly.

"It's faster," Chung, a former Patriot, said of Kelly's approach to the NFL game. "I thought being in college was fast but it's faster now. It gets you mental reps and mentally prepared."

The fast-paced practices and offense is something new to many Eagles, but not to the five who have played under Kelly in college.

"What you see with coach Kelly is what you get," Murphy said. "He is a great coach and he demands hard work and guys like to work hard for him."

With each passing day, the Eagles will try to adjust to a new system, while Kelly tries to adjust to his new team.

"We're all a family right now," Chung said. "I think we're just out there having a lot of fun. Everybody is bonding, making plays and having a lot of fun."

Today on Les Bowen writes about Felx Jones' long, strange journey to Philadelphia.