Camp Chip kicks off in Philadelphia

By ROB MAADDI - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-07-22 18:26

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Chip Kelly already made his mark on training camp before the Philadelphia Eagles even took the field.

When rookies and certain veterans reported on Monday, they only had to drive to team headquarters in Philadelphia. That's because soon after Kelly was hired to replace Andy Reid, the Eagles shifted camp from Lehigh University to their own practice complex.

No more cramped dormitories or college facilities. It's first-class treatment year-round now.

``It feels a lot different,'' general manager Howie Roseman said. ``It's good being home, it's good being in our own offices, having our own facilities, it's good having the benefits of having our training camp in Philadelphia and our fan support has been unbelievable.''

Practices start Tuesday for the rookies, and the rest of the team arrives Thursday. Everyone wants to know how Kelly's practices will go. After all, his spring sessions were drastically different from Reid's.

``Practices are higher tempo, more fast-paced but also shorter,'' center Jason Kelce said.

That's not all.

Kelly's unique approach includes music blaring through large speakers during practice, players wearing heart monitors on the field and having individualized protein shakes waiting for them after they're done.

``Being part of the offseason, seeing how his practices were run at Oregon, spending a lot of time with him, I think I have an idea of how it's going to be run,'' Roseman said. ``But until you get into it in the moment and know about it, we've never been here, I've never been here, none of us have ever been here. Even just the logistics of being here, being over at the stadium, I think that's the exciting part of it, seeing how that part of it works out.

``But I think we have a good idea of how training camp's going to be run.''

Kelly was lured away from Oregon after the Eagles fired Reid following a 4-12 finish. Kelly had tremendous success in college, leading the Ducks to a 46-7 record in four seasons and turning the program into a national powerhouse.

His high-octane, up-tempo offense averaged an astounding 44.7 points per game in four years, but will it transition to the pros? And, who will be under center?

Michael Vick and Nick Foles are battling for the starting job, but rookie Matt Barkley also has a chance to be the No. 1 quarterback.

``I feel like we're still competing and there is no lead,'' Foles said. ``There's never a lead. That was the spring. That was an opportunity for the team to get better. And I feel like I had a solid spring. There's a lot of stuff I had to correct from the spring. I look at it like a work in progress. This camp is another opportunity to get better and improve on the things I didn't think I did well in the last camp and get even better at the things I thought I did do well.

``There is no lead. Every day, one guy is going to have a good day and one guy is going to have a mediocre day.''

Kelly and Vick will speak to reporters on Tuesday. Barkley made sure right away that he doesn't get overlooked in the competition.

``I couldn't care less about what people are talking about,'' Barkley said. ``I don't listen to that. I'm part of that race, whether people are saying that or not. There is an open competition. I absolutely feel like I've got to be a part of it. I've got to challenge myself, just like any other guy on the team.''

Barkley doesn't have to wait until the preseason schedule starts to throw his first pass at Lincoln Financial Field. The team is holding its camp at the NovaCare Complex and the stadium after 17 years on the campus of Lehigh University. There will be several open practices for fans at the Linc, and already more than 200,000 have been reserved for five sessions.

``I think they'll like the energy,'' Eagles president Don Smolenski said. ``I'm interested to see that myself because I've seen it now through all of the OTAs, the minicamp. From the music and the enthusiasm and sort of the pace of it, I think that will be intriguing to them in terms of what they see and how quickly it moves from session to session.''

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