PHILADELPHIA — While most attention was on the return of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper to practice and the NovaCare Complex Tuesday, visiting New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick managed to get a good sized huddle of listeners in the media tent.
He explained the value of practicing against another team, such as the Patriots and Eagles will be doing the next few days before their game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.
Belichick also discussed his past relationship with new Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense and how he feels it may do in the NFL.
“It’s nice to be here in Philadelphia, it’s really a great opportunity for us to come down here and work with the Eagles,” Belichick said. “I have so much respect for Chip (Kelly) and what he’s done. We’ve been friends for a while and I know he does a great job with this football team and the program that he’s run in Oregon and what he’s doing here.”
“It will be great for us from a coaching standpoint because we’ll certainly have to make some adjustments during practices and as we go. We haven’t done any kind of scouting report or anything like that, so a lot of it will be on the run, which will be good for us too, in terms of matchups and communication and all those things.”
Belichick then answered more questions about Kelly, the Manchester, N.H., product and former University of New Hampshire offensive coordinator, and his offense than he did about his own Patriots.
On his past relationship with Kelly: “Chip’s a New England guy, so we crossed paths from time to time in New England. We kept in touch over the past few years, and of course I have a lot of respect for what he’s done with the program out in Oregon. I’ve had several conversations with him since he’s taken over here in Philadelphia. ... I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and I think he does a great job with his team.”
Did he think Kelly would wind up in the NFL?: “I don’t know. I don’t want to predict where anybody does or doesn’t go. Those hirings aren’t up to me. Those are questions you should ask the owners and general managers that do the hiring.
What does Kelly do on offense that is a challenge?: “Well, we’re going to find out. Of course, what he did at Oregon, that was one thing. We’ll see how it all plays out here, but he’s a very innovative, creative guy. He’s got a great mind, he’s smart and I think he’ll take advantage of whatever resources he can. We’ll see what that is. I’m sure he’ll give us plenty of trouble.”
Will NFL officials impact the pace of Kelly’s offense?: “I think that varies from game to game. There is a certain procedure and all, but I think each game and each group is a little different. I think we see that in all sports. You watch a guy go up for a layup and four guys hit the floor and there’s no foul. ... We’ll just have to see how the game’s going to be called. We hear that stuff in the spring and hear it from the officials in the summer and we respect that, but we’ll see how they actually call it. I’m sure it will vary a little bit from game to game.”
And, of course, somebody had to ask something about wide receiver Riley Cooper, who returned to Philadelphia’s practice Tuesday after being excused last week to deal with the ramifications of a viral YouTube incident in which he used inflammatory, racial language.
So, the question was, “Did you feel the need to say anything to your defensive backs about practicing against Riley Cooper?”
And Belichick’s predictable answer: “No.”
Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.