By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Despite a variety of reports suggesting Chip Kelly had lost the Philadelphia Eagles’ locker room, three players defended their former coach just minutes after his firing on SportsRadio 94WIP.

Eagles’ offensive lineman Lane Johnson, wide receiver Jordan Matthews, and rookie corner Eric Rowe spoke with 94WIP’s Paul Jolovitz Tuesday night.

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Lane Johnson

 

Q: What was your initial reaction?

“I was shocked. I was actually sleeping and woke up to a text from one of my teammates and I read it and called him. And I was like, ‘Are you believing this?’

“I had no clue. Maybe come back for another year. But I’m in shocked to be honest.”

Q: Did Chip Kelly lose the locker room?

“I wouldn’t say that. It’s just we weren’t producing for him. The offensive line, we didn’t put up as near as many points as we’re used to doing.”

Q: Did you expect Kelly to address the offensive line last offseason? Did it have enough talent?

“Maybe [add] some depth, but I think that was something we were going to address in the draft this year moving forward, but who knows now?”

Q: What did you think of the offseason moves?

“This offseason, it was just crazy. All these guys that we had played with over the last past few years were just gone and really — just not really a reason why. So just a lot of confusion and unanswered questions.”

Q: Biggest thing that went wrong?

“It’s ultimately players going out there and making plays. Maybe it wasn’t the right personnel, the right people to do it, but it ultimately goes down — it was up to the guys out there who were actually playing. So from that stand point, it was all on us to be honest.

Q: Do you feel responsible?

“Yeah, in a way. That’s what happens. When you don’t go out there and play well, you know, players get fired and coaches get fired whenever good stuff doesn’t happen.”

 

Jordan Matthews

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Q: Reaction?

“I was actually just watching some film on the Giants. I had no idea what happened. We pretty much learned like everybody else. I just had a teammate call me and say, ‘Did you see the news?’

“It’s one of those things like you know, wow, you didn’t really expect it. It was definitely something that I wasn’t expecting.”

Q: Was Chip Kelly the person unable to relate to the players?

“I don’t think that’s true. It’s all relative on who you ask. I know my wide receiver coach, especially, is really close with him. If you’re already kind of a like a reserved guy like Coach Kelly is then that wall maybe looks even more up and looks even more harder to connect with him sometimes. I’ve never had any problems with Coach Kelly or anything like that on that front, but I think it’s all about who you ask really with that.”

Q: Did he lose the locker room?

“It’d be interesting to see what Lane [Johnson] said. A lot of questions are really relative. The NFL is such a hard thing. The grass always looks greener. I can go to any NFL team and guys are gonna complain. There’s guys that complain on Super Bowl winning teams. You know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, OK well you complain, but once you go out on the grass are guys still working hard? Are guys still practicing hard? That’s really how I gauge, like OK, are guys still bought in?

“I know when it’s a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, we do get more press. We do have more coverage. It is a city like Philadelphia where everybody is extremely passionate about football, as they should be, so those things get magnified even more. So those little rumblings turn into loud shouts really quickly.”

Q: What did you think of the offseason changes?

“The narrative on the whole Jeremy Maclin thing gets skewed. Because it’s not like — nobody forced Jeremy Maclin out. Mac signed with somebody else. Now, it’s there that whole conversation of could there been offered more money? Ok, that’s — I’m not in those discussions. I don’t know anything about that. I can’t speak on that.

“I come in, I get to learn from a guy like Jeremy Maclin. When Nelson [Agholor] comes in he gets to learn from me and Josh. We’re still learning. It’s totally different situations from the jump, plus you got a new quarterback with Sam [Bradford] too. So just a lot of changes.”

 

Eric Rowe

 

Q: Thoughts on Chip Kelly?

“Very smart guy. He was tough. He should have been a better coach, but he showed no sign of quit. No sign of losing confidence in us. Came to work everyday with the same attitude. Kind of flowed throughout the building. I was really disappointed when I heard the news.”

Q: Were you disappointed in the way you were left on an island against Calvin Johnson in Week 12?

“I was on the one who told the coaches, ‘Leave me on Calvin.’ They wanted to put Byron [Maxwell] on him. I told them no. Kind of the competitor in me, I liked that.”

Q: Did Chip Kelly lose the locker room?

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“At least from what I saw, we were all frustrated of course. No, no, no one doubted his play call or doubted his coaching abilities and the way he runs practice. We all know from a players standpoint it was the mental errors that we made on our own. He didn’t lose us. He didn’t lose our confidence.”