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Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

Redskins interested spectators as Chip Kelly reshapes his Eagles

The Eagles started making news on Tuesday afternoon when word got out that they were going to part ways with cornerback Cary Williams and pass rushers Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. While Philly fans and media were working on figuring out how these starters would be replaced with no obvious candidates to step in on the roster, the bombshell hit.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Eagles and Bills had agreed on a trade that would send linebacker Kiko Alonso to Buffalo in exchange for LeSean McCoy. Chip Kelly, who was give full control of player personnel in January, had traded away arguably his team’s best player for a linebacker who had a very good rookie season but missed 2014 with a torn ACL.

It is clear that Kelly is not afraid to use his newly acquired personnel power. Cole and Todd Herremans were the two longest-tenured Eagles, both drafted by the team in 2005. McCoy, who will be 27 before the season starts, came aboard in the 2009 draft. Graham was the Eagles’ top pick in the 2010 draft. The Andy Reid era, the most successful in team history, is fast fading into the rearview mirror.

Trading McCoy saved the Eagles $8.55 million in salary cap space. Alonso may take the place of veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who may also be released to save $6.9 million. That would give Kelly nearly $60 million in cap space to work with.

But what would he do with it? The word around Philadelphia is that Kelly only wants players who buy into his system, his way of doing things. It started last year when he was the driving force behind the decision to cut DeSean Jackson a year ago. The best way do that is to build through the draft, bring players in out of college and train them the way you want them. As Scot McCloughan says, free agents come in with their own agendas. You can only vet players so much during the interview and background check process. If Kelly does it that way it will be largely a process of trail and error.

One could surmise that Kelly wants the cap space because he intends to use a good chunk of the next two drafts to move up from 20th into the top five and take Marcus Mariota in the draft. That’s possible but putting all of your eggs in the basket of a spread offense QB is risky business, as the Redskins have learned. The fact that Mariota played for Kelly at Oregon may increase the chances for success but it’s far from a guarantee.

So what does this mean for the Redskins? In the short term is means that they won’t have to face McCoy twice a year. He has 206 carries for 807 yards and five touchdowns rushing and 51 receptions for 479 yards against the Redskins. The receiving numbers are by far his best against any opponent.

But beyond that it depends largely on if Kelly, who has 20 NFL wins, none of them in the postseason, knows what he has doing. He apparently convinced Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie that he does. Now he has to show Eagles fans and the rest of the NFL that he does.

If Kelly’s way works, the Redskins could find themselves needing 11 or 12 wins year after year to contend for the NFC East title. That would make the Redskins’ rebuilding job that much tougher and increase the pressure on Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan to get big results in a hurry.

And if Kelly busts? Well, for right now it would give the Redskins some company at the bottom of the division. Beyond that, we would have to see but given their record since 2007 the Redskins have little room to revel in the difficulties of other division teams.

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!