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August 08, 2015

Chip Kelly likes what he's seen out of QB-turned-WR G.J. Kinne

Technically, the Eagles have five quarterbacks in camp, but that's only if you include G.J. Kinne in the equation.

With no realistic shot at making the team at his natural position, the one he played for three years at Tulsa, Chip Kelly is giving Kinne a chance to make the team in any way he can, whether that's as a receiver, a running back, or a special teams player. And because of that, he's been able to show his coaches a variety of different skills he can bring to the table, something Kelly definitely values in his players.

"I think he looks real comfortable," Kelly said of Kinne's transition. "The one thing about him, is he can play a lot of different positions. That versatility is a benefit to him. He's a lot like Brock Holt for the [Boston] Red Sox; you can plug him into a lot of different places. He can fit in at running back for us, he can still be an emergency quarterback for us and he's done a really nice job at receiver for us. He's trying to really make a niche for himself on special teams. You know, it’ll be interesting to see when we get out against the Colts, how he fits in."

For those keeping track at home, that's two baseball comparisons for Kinne in two days. On Friday, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur compared him to the 1980s Detroit Tigers double-play combo of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell.

Kinne has been working out with the receivers -- although Chip believes he can play in a multitude of spots -- because there's more nuance to the route-running and blocking schemes for receivers. And he hasn't looked bad. I'm not saying he's stood out, but you'd never know he's really a quarterback.

Kelly seems to agree, and added that he has Kinne working with the receivers because he feels the rushing aspect will come more naturally based on his college experience.

"He's picked up receiver because that's where he's training mostly. The running back part of it, I think a lot of that comes from his quarterback experience, in terms of what he does. But one of the things about G.J. that stands out is that when he was a quarterback, he was a really good runner of the football.
"So when you put him in there, I think he understands how to make people miss. He understands how to set up blocks because that's part of what he did – really, when you go back to what he did in college, he carried the ball a ton in college. I think the running backs part of it is just that he was a running quarterback, so that part is probably a little bit easier transition. The nuances are at the receiver spot and that's where he does all his training."

Kinne will really need to show something in then preseason, because as of right now, he still has an major uphill battle to make the 53-man roster -- Jimmy Kempski doesn't have him making it. But he was still invited to camp, so that has to mean something.

Look at it this way: Kelly could have easily let Kinne try to catch on with another team, but there's something about him the Eagles like. 

Will he make the team? I wouldn't bet on it. But would any move Kelly makes surprise you at this point?

•  •  •  LEFTOVER CHIPs  •  •  •


RB DeMarco Murray

"He was sick. He's going full today. He was just sick. There's a couple guys that were sick that had been in and out. [WR] Jordan Matthews was sick and missed walkthrough yesterday. There is something going around. But we were just getting [Murray] back up to speed, but he's full-go today."

TE Zach Ertz and LB Mychal Kendricks:

"No [they aren't also sick]. They just had a nagging something. They are both back today."

LB Kiko Alonso

"Kiko has to go through the injury protocol– the concussion protocol, not the injury protocol. He has not been cleared yet, so until he's cleared, he'll just be doing exercises with the trainers."

Timetable? "I don't even ask, they just tell me when he's cleared."

When did it happen? "I don't know. It was at the Linc [Lincoln Financial Field]. I don't know what specific play, but it was Tuesday at the Linc."

Concussion history at Oregon? "No, he didn't. I think they said it was his first, but I’m not sure. You’ll have to check on that, but he didn't have any in Buffalo."

His aggressive style a worry? "No, because he doesn't have a history of it. So we are not worried about it right now. But obviously any time that word comes up with any player, you'll take all of the precautions necessary before you put him back out there."

Is Alonso at NovaCare? "He's here. He's been working with the trainers every day. They have a whole protocol that they go through on what they are allowed to do. There are exercises and then there are tests and all those other things."

S Jerome Couplin

"He had appendicitis."

Timetable? "I think he'll be back at the beginning of next week."

So he had an appendectomy? "Yes. He was sick the other day and his stomach was bothering him and then they said it was appendicitis."

Who will be out Saturday?

"Couplin and Kiko."


Did he see that Nick Foles got paid by the Rams?

"I know that Nick got a new contract, but I don't know what it was. But I heard he got a new contract."


"I’m very happy for him. I think things worked out for him. Nick is an awesome person, first and foremost, and when you get to this league, you always hope you get an opportunity to get to a second contract and it looks like he did."


Did play-calling come naturally? 

"With anything, there's always a trial and error. There's always got to be a first time that you do it, whether you're riding a bicycle, or calling plays, or writing an article, whatever. There's a process in it and I think there's an experience that’s gained through in how you did it.”

Was there someone he learned from?

"No, I always talk to a lot of different guys. Whether it was Dana Bible when he was at Boston College, or Sean McDonnell who was the former [New Hampshire] offensive coordinator who became the play caller, [former Oregon and LSU offensive coordinator] Gary Crowton. There were a lot of different guys that I had an opportunity to visit with and talk with about it."


Do you value that more than others?

"I just think that you have to, when you're not the number one, when we play on gameday with a 46‑man roster we have seven offensive linemen up. So those two backup offensive linemen have to be able to be‑‑ one of them is a center-guard guy and one is a guard-tackle guy. And you don't know what is going to happen in a game.

"So when someone goes out‑‑ we win our first game against Jacksonville, we lost Evan Mathis. We lost a guard and we lost a tackle. So Molk had to play guard and I think Gardner came in and played tackle when Allen [Barbre] went down. That's just the nature of it. It’s the same thing at any position. If you're a linebacker we may only keep three outside or we may only keep three inside; if you do that, then that person has to be able to play both inside and outside when they go.

"Same thing in the secondary. Are you a safety, are you corner, are you an inside receiver, are you an outside receiver? Unless you're the number one guy, then those guys have to be able to play multiple positions. Just because when you get out there on Sunday and you have a 46‑man roster you don't have two deep at every single position.

"So you have to kind of make do and just be prepared that if they go, then you've got to play guard and tackle and you have to play center and guard or whatever the position."

The Eagles return to practice tomorrow in front of fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin