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Eager, excited to be Eagle, Kelly has work ahead

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Eager, excited to be Eagle, Kelly has work ahead

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Now that Chip Kelly has settled into his new position, he has quite a challenge ahead.

The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a 4-12 season, have won just 12 games over the past two years and need to rebuild almost from the ground up. There are some high-priced underachievers on this roster and a few players who quit on former coach Andy Reid.

But the biggest question Kelly faces is whether he can take all his success at Oregon and translate that into wins in the NFL.

``Football is football, and this is football at its highest level,'' he said. ``But it's still a game and it's played 11 on 11. It's about putting together a great coaching staff, having a great organization behind you, and having great players. Ultimately, whether it's in high school football, college football or professional football, it's a personnel-driven operation.

``I know in the experience that I've had is trying to figure out any way we can to put our players in the best situation when they have an opportunity to be successful. That's what this game comes down to. Are there a lot more cameras around? Yes, but that's what this deal is all about. It's still the game of football. It's X's and O's and I understand that aspect of it.''

Kelly is known for being an offensive innovator. He led Oregon to four straight BCS bowl games - including a bid for the national championship against Auburn two seasons ago - and three conference championships.

His up-tempo offense averaged 49.6 points this season and the Ducks averaged an astounding 44.7 points per game in his four years, going 46-7. But the NFC East isn't the Pac 12, and Kelly knows it.

``There's perception and then there's reality,'' Kelly said. ``The perception is we run our quarterback all the time and this is what we do. The reality is that's not the case. One of the best qualities in a quarterback is durability and a lot of that has to do with play calling. Our quarterback is not going to get the direct snap like Dick Kazmaier did at Princeton in the single wing and have him run it 25 times, I can tell you that.

``Part of what we do offensively has always been understanding what personnel is and then how do we maximize that, and what are their best traits. If you're going to ask someone to do something that they're not capable of doing then obviously that's a recipe for disaster. Then I analyze everyone that's in our program (and) in our scheme offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, it's going to be personnel driven. A lot of coaches have great ideas but we're not playing the game.

``The players are playing the game. It's about putting them in position where they can be successful. Our offense is always going to be tailored to who's playing.''

Everyone in Philadelphia wants to know who will run Kelly's offense? Will it be Nick Foles, who started six games as a rookie or Michael Vick? Foles clearly doesn't possess the speed or mobility to fit into Kelly's scheme. Vick does, but he's due to make $16 million next year, will be 33 and is injury prone.

Kelly raved about Foles after Oregon beat Arizona in September 2011, and he still recalls him completing a 13-yard pass left-handed in that game.

``I'm a huge fan,'' Kelly said of Foles. ``He's tough. It's an attribute that I think a lot of people don't understand of how hard it is and what toughness means to the quarterback spot. We hit him as many times as we could hit him and he just kept getting up and making plays. I remember just standing on the sideline shaking my head (saying), `What do we have to do to stop him?' He's a competitor, he's accurate, so I'm excited about that.''

As for Vick, Kelly took the political approach.

``I've followed Michael's career and I understand what a talent he is,'' he said. ``But there is nothing that's on the board right now, there's nothing that's off the board right now.''

Some aspects of Kelly's hurry-up, spread offense are used by New England and Washington. Patriots coach Bill Belichick even brought Kelly in to get advice on his offensive philosophy.

``The one thing is that people want to paint a brush and a label an offense with one word,'' Kelly said. ``What Bill does in New England with Tom Brady is not a spread option offense. If someone tried to make Tommy run the zone read, I think he'd get fired to be honest with you. You need him to sit back in the pocket and throw the ball because he's one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks ever. There are a lot of different facets. For us, it's about what tools do we have in our toolbox and what tools can we use based on the players that we have.''

The Eagles were convinced Kelly can adapt his system and have success no matter which direction he goes.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie praised Kelly's work ethic, communication skills and smarts.

``Forward thinking not just about what he is running at Oregon but where the league is headed and where college is headed, how there are going to be current trends and how there would be trends off of these current trends,'' Lurie said. ``Just somebody who is on the cutting edge of football today, but saw that there are going to be reactions to that and what to do going way past that. Also, someone who was a program builder. That's important because it shows the best possible leader.

``Chip brings everyone together at Oregon culturally in preparing themselves to be the best football players they can be. Organizationally, he just had it all.''

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has a theory that may sound familiar to Wizards fans. The star shooting guard now hosts a podcast and said on his most recent episode that he could see DeMarcus Cousins teaming up with John Wall in Washington.

McCollum's Blazers happened to lose in the first round to Cousins' Pelicans, though Cousins did not play in the series due to injury. Now, McCollum has offered thoughts on his future.

Here is what McCollum said about Cousins potentially going to Washington on his Pull Up podcast, as transcribed by SLAM Magazine:

"No slight against the homie. I think he’s a very, very good player. But you just have to look at the team roster and try to figure out what’s best for that roster moving forward...

“I think team success, playoff success, factors in to decision-making with personnel moving forward. Obviously, Jrue Holiday, Rondo, AD will have input on what they decide to do going forward. So that’s something to keep an eye out on in the free agency.

“And if that is the case, Boogie would jump out in to the market as a free agent and be a very hot commodity, and could potentially team up with the Washington Wizards.

“You heard it here first. You heard that here first. You know that Kentucky connection, man. I could see that happening. That’s just something to think about going forward.”

The funny part of those quotes is that McCollum said "you heard it here first." Wizards fans, of course, have been banging that drum since, oh, 2010 when the two were drafted.

As it has often been throughout the last eight years, a reunion of Wall and Cousins is unlikely. Yes, Cousins is expected to hit free agency, but the Wizards currently do not have the money to sign him. They are in the luxury tax and would have to move some big contracts to make room.

Cousins is also coming off a torn Achilles injury. That creates major questions about his future and how much money teams will offer him. 

If healthy, Cousins would fit nicely with the Wizards who will need to get younger at the center position at some point. It just doesn't seem like a good bet given all the factors in play. 

You can listen to McCollum's full podcast here.

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NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins live blog: First round draft updates, analysis

The 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. It's time to file away the mock drafts and frame your big boards for memory.

Tonight, Thursday April 26, the best college football players in the country will learn which franchise they will begin their professional football careers with.

The NFL Draft is the biggest non-sporting event on the sporting calendar, and the 2018 edition is no different. Taking place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, the 2018 NFL Draft is sure to be bigger than ever, with four quarterbacks and a freakish running back all vying for the top pick.

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock, and will make the first overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft around 8:30 p.m. tonight.

The Washington Redskins have the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and won't make their draft pick until around 9:45 p.m. ET.

But we are keeping you up to date on all things NFL Draft with our life blog and draft tracker.

NFL Draft 2018 Redskins First-Round Tracker and Live Updates:

PreDraft Coverage:

5:05 PM - We did a  bracket challenge for Redskins fans, giving you the chance to vote on who the Redskins should take at No. 13. If it were up to Redskins fans, Georgia LB Roquan Smith would be the choice.

4:45 PM - Since we are on the subject of the Edmunds brothers, let's ask and answer this question: When and where will both Tremaine and Terrell go?

4:30 PM - One option for the Redskins at No. 13 is Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds. He just so happens to be the focus of an exclusive NBC Sports Washington webseries. "E-Boyz" takes a look at draft prospects Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds, as well as their brother Trey, a running back for the Saints and their father, Ferrell, and former two-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Dolphins.

E-Boyz — Ep. 1: The Players
E-Boyz — Ep. 2: Ferrell
E-Boyz — Ep. 3: Danville
E-Boyz — Ep. 4: Celebration

4:10 PM - The first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft won't be announced for another four hours. But we have a lot to prep. Let's get started with draft music. Players in the green room get to select their walkup music. Josh Jackson deserves to be the No. 1 overall pick. 

4:00 PM - Welcome to our live update tracker of the 2018 NFL Draft. The draft doesn't get started until 8:00 p.m. But there is a lot to go over until then.

Here is a good place to start. 

- Draft Day Primer: JP Finlay goes over all the Redskins' options
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick