Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly (right) answers questions during a Wednesday press conference at Gillette Stadium prior to a joint practice with the New England Patriots at the Patriots practice fields. (Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)
Patriots Notebook: NH's Chip Kelly is all business as Eagles pay a visit
As anyone more than vaguely familiar with Kelly knows, he keeps close ties to his roots, with a famously loyal collection of friends in Manchester and on the Seacoast. He maintained those ties when he left UNH to become offensive coordinator and then head coach at the University of Oregon, and he’s maintained them since becoming head coach of the Eagles in February 2013.
“It’s where we grow up; it’s your family,” he said when asked again about his bond with his home state. “I think everybody does that. I don’t know many people that move away or something like that. There’s always a place in your heart (for) where you grew up. I’m fortunate that I get a chance to go home and spend time. My family still lives up there — had a lot of really, really good friends that I grew up with. And I think that’s foundations that we’re all built upon.”
For the second straight day, linebacker and captain Jerod Mayo was absent from joint practice with the Eagles. The Patriots did not disclose why.
LaFell’s sunny disposition
Despite heavy rain, the Patriots and Eagles practiced outdoors, though they moved the session up to 9 a.m. to avoid lightning forecasted for later in the day and wrapped things up a bit early, at 10:50.
“You’re going deal with it sometime this year,” LaFell said. “We’ve got 16 games, everybody playing outdoors, so one of those games it’s going to be a wet ball game. So situations like this are going to get us more prepared for when it comes time to play the game.”
“This is the best weather I’ve ever had in training camp,” he said. “I’m from Houston, so in high school it was hot, LSU even hotter, and Carolina — we went down to South Carolina (for camp) — it was hot. So 70 degrees, 80 degrees — we got that in Carolina, we were happy.”
“Best day ever,” LaFell said.
Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan had a notable day in coverage, with a leaping interception of a pass intended for the Eagles’ Brad Smith early in practice and a tip that resulted in a Patrick Chung interception later during 11-on-11 drills. Ryan also had a couple other breakups.
“I think I’ve handled it well,” Ryan said. “I think I’m a team player. I think everybody on the team is. We have one goal and that’s to win a Super Bowl, so wherever they ask you to play — if you want to win — that’s what you’ve got to do for the team.”
“It helps me learn the defense in total by learning multiple positions,” he said. “It’s something new and fresh, and it’s something I can compete and try to get better each and every day.”
In addition to causing a time change, the bad weather led the Patriots to close Wednesday’s practice to the public — one day after a record crowd of 25,317 watched Tuesday’s session.
Zack Ward is a freelance reporter.