PHILADELPHIA — Two days into Chip Kelly's first minicamp, his attempts to downplay the new brand of football he's bringing to the NFL were thwarted by the Eagles' amazement with his approach.
"From a communication standpoint, it's going to change the league," tight end Brent Celek said.
Quarterback Michael Vick — who is confident that "it's still my team," and that the starting quarterback position is "still my job" — said Kelly's offense is "something like I've never seen before."
It's a new world at the NovaCare Complex. Players left practice and found personalized protein smoothie shakes and snacks waiting for them. Music blares during practice. Vick, who was noticeably stronger, was one of the players wearing a heart monitor. Defensive end Trent Cole is between a wide receiver and running back in the locker room. Players have monitors tracking their sleeping habits. And the offense is apparently unlike anything the Eagles have done before.
This is not revolutionary — other teams play music, incorporate science, and run fast-paced offenses. But for an organization that has had one way of working for more than a decade, many of the veterans are adapting to Kelly's new ways.
Details remain vague. Practice is closed to reporters and the public, and both Kelly and the players are clandestine when discussing anything substantive about the team's plans. It's clearly a fresh start for every player on the roster, though, and Vick is among the most notable beneficiaries.
The veteran, who split first-team snaps with Nick Foles and even Dennis Dixon, remains confident that he'll be the Eagles' starting quarterback. It will require his winning the job, which he understood when he signed his new contract.
Vick, who turns 33 in June, restructured his deal in February so he could stay in Philadelphia. He accepted a significant decrease in salary and bypassed a possible chance to go on the open market in the process.
"I took the risk here because I feel like Philadelphia's been great to me, I feel like Jeffrey Lurie has been awesome and outstanding in his ownership and leadership. Obviously, bringing in Chip Kelly was a determining factor," Vick said. "I wanted to have an opportunity to learn a new offense. Watching Oregon and what they did the last couple of years, I wanted to give it another shot."
The biggest change might be the tempo and the communication. At Oregon, Kelly used large placards to signal plays. The language is also set up to condense on-field communication.
"It's something that I never thought was possible in the NFL," Celek said, without actually revealing what it is.
The new system could be the ideal change for Vick, who is running out of chances. His age and his last two seasons are the reasons he has gone from a $100 million contract to competing for the starting job on a one-year deal.
"I still feel like I have a lot to prove," Vick said. "I still feel like I have to go out and be more consistent with what I'm doing. I think different systems can dictate that."
Vick will likely need to run more in this offense. The added muscle could help Vick endure more knocks, although he said there's a way to bypass hits — and it's not sliding, which he said is the second option.
"You'll understand why when you see us practice, or when you see us play," Vick said.