Kelly has eyes set on play­offs

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By BOB GROTZ

PHILADEL­PHIA — Chip Kelly had a slip. Freudian, it ap­pears. Dur­ing his me­dia avail­abil­ity Thurs­day morn­ing, Kelly, the most suc­cess­ful rookie Ea­gles head coach since re­align­ment in­ti­mated his team would be back in the play­offs.

The lofty ex­pec­ta­tions popped out in re­sponse to a ques­tion about who would be the next man up at out­side line­backer if veteran Con­nor Bar­win was shaken up.

“We don’t do any­thing like that,” Kelly said. “I’ll men­tion it to­day and prob­a­bly 16 times dur­ing the year and dur­ing the play­offs is we have a train­ing ses­sion to­day, we have a train­ing ses­sion to­mor­row, we have a train­ing ses­sion Satur­day so that’s when we’ll kind of sit down and kind of fig­ure ev­ery­thing out.”

Con­sider “dur­ing the play­offs” a sign the Ea­gles fig­ure to be around for the du­ra­tion. It’s no se­cret the Ea­gles are heav­ily fa­vored to win the NFC East. That would get them into the tour­na­ment.

Last year Kelly guided the Ea­gles to a 10-6 record and a di­vi­sion pen­nant. The New Or­leans Saints ousted the Birds from the play­offs.

There is rea­son to be op­ti­mistic at One No­vaCare Way.

Nick Foles looks like he’s ready to build on a Pro Bowl sea­son. De­fend­ing NFL rush­ing cham­pion LeSean McCoy’s big­gest worry is mak­ing his coach happy.

Then there’s for­mer Saints run­ning back Dar­ren Spro­les, who ig­nited the fan­tasy foot­ball side of Kelly.

“I don’t know if you guys play Fan­tasy Leagues but if some­one said ‘hey, you get a chance to get Dar­ren Spro­les,’ I’m in,” Kelly said. “It

ball game of the sea­son.

“I asked him to ad­dress the team,” said Paul Strus, Dan’s long­time spe­cial teams coach who is serv­ing in his ab­sence as head coach. Strus is one of sev­eral O’Hara foot­ball coaches of past and present who came to the team’s train­ing camp and signed on to help in a sea­son ded­i­cated to Dan.

“Things that we do as a team, a lot of it re­flects what Danny al­ways did, like the (pre-game) prayer,” Strus said. “I told the kids his mantra was faith, fam­ily and foot­ball. Faith in our re­li­gion, faith in our team­mates and our fam­ily. It’s not just our par­ents and sib­lings, it’s our team­mates, too.

“It’s al­ways go­ing to be emo­tional. This is Danny’s team still.”

Thank­fully, it’s still in fa­mil­iar hands.

Jim Al­geo, left, talks with Car­di­nal O’Hara’s in­terim head coach Paul Strus at prac­tice last month. The long­time head coach at Lans­dale Catholic, Al­geo is as­sist­ing Strus after the death of head coach Danny Al­geo.

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