News came out yesterday that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had asked two of his veteran offensive players, Jason Avant and Clay Harbor, to make a position change from offense to defense.
This is curious and surprising news, especially for Avant, who has been a dependable veteran wideout for the Eagles with arguably the best set of hands on the squad. His best attribute could still come in handy, though, if he’s asked to play his new position at safety in a pinch come Sundays in September.
For an Eagles team that lacked turnovers, he will have no trouble with reeling in errant passes from the opposing QB with his mitts.
The other player being asked to try out a different position is tight end Clay Harbor. Harbor has outstanding athleticism as evidenced by his 4.62 40 time at the combine despite his 6-foot-3, 250 pound frame, and for a team like the Eagles that are currently devoid of solid depth at the outside linebacker spot, it is worth the risk to see what skills an excellent athlete like Harbor has at that position.
Kelly has already done some pretty innovative things with the Eagles, from the carnival-like atmosphere at practices to his shiny new offense that he plans to implement. This latest move isn’t totally unprecedented as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick frequently asks some of his young and veteran players to show versatility by playing other positions.
Kelly seems to be taking quite a few pages out of the Belichick school of football, and hopefully the same out-of-the-box thinking works as effectively for Kelly as it has for the legendary Belichick.
For Both Avant and Harbor, this position switch can be seen as either a positive or a negative, as it may be coach Kelly seeing what these two great athletes can try their hand at, or it may be a sign that their standing on the team is in jeopardy.
Will either or both stick, and will we see these two players on both sides of the field next year? Only time will tell.