Are your knees thick enough to play for Chip Kelly?
In a profile of the secretive Eagles head coach, Sports Illustrated dove into some of his quirks, which include some fairly rigid requirements for players.
"Kelly would like to have defensive ends that measure at least 6'6" (seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik, out of Boston College, stands 6'9"), and he wants stout nosetackles," SI's Greg Bedard writes. "The most important characteristic? Knees with a circumference of at least 18 inches -- an identifier of guys who are built solidly in the lower body and thus, the Eagles believe, less susceptible to injuries.
"At outside linebacker he wants long-armed players who, above all else, can set the edge in the running game; the ability to rush the passer from this position is very much secondary.
"And Kelly wants to man his secondary with tall, long cornerbacks because he runs a scheme similar to that of the Seahawks' physical Cover Three. The Eagles didn't give a sniff to elite shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis in free agency because they have no use for shutdown corners in their scheme. They much prefer having the length to disrupt passing lanes."
Some of the traits he looks for -- long arms in a defensive back and height on a defensive end -- aren't relatively groundbreaking. It would be interesting, though, to see how many NFL teams actually measure the circumference of a player's knees in order to determine how solid his base is.
It would also be interesting to see how many teams start doing that now that one of his secrets is out.
When Marc Sessler and I were at the Veteran Combine, we both noticed how much overtime the Eagles' scouts were putting in. This is certainly a new era for all of them and, for better or worse, the blueprint is quite specific.
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