By Matt Hammond, Sports Radio 610By Matt Hammond

Wednesday conference calls between opposing head coaches and the local media are often quasi pep rallies, full of compliments, praise and pleasantries from one member of the NFL fraternity to others, sometimes without substance.

Then there’s what Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had to say about Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and safety D.J. Swearinger. Unusually kind, and from maybe one of the game’s top innovators and best offensive minds.

On Fitzpatrick, who was at Harvard while Kelly was offensive coordinator at New Hampshire:

 “He’s one of those guys, I think sometimes people count him out, but he always ends up being the starter everywhere he is.

“I knew Fitzy back when he played at Harvard. I think he’s a winner, and I think he’s a really good football player.”

Far and away the highest praise Fitzpatrick has fielded from an opposing head coach this season, his 10th in the NFL and first with his fifth different team.

Then, on Swearinger:

“A lot of things. He’s a tough, hard nosed, physical player. Real impact player from the third level in the secondary and then also when they move him into dime linebacker and get him involved in the front. Seems like a very, very intelligent player, who’s got a really good feel for Romeo’s scheme. The fact that they can move him around and play him in so many different positions, and then when he doesn’t get to the ball carrier, he’s such an explosive hitter, I think a lot of that takeaway stuff occurs when you’ve got guys that can dislodge the football from people, and he’s one of those guys, he’s one of those impact safeties in the game now.”

Twice called him an impact player. Very, very intelligent. Explosive hitter. Not your average tip of the cap.

For the Texans, Kelly’s comments on Swearinger seem to be of more lasting value.

While Fitzpatrick is quietly having a career year under head coach Bill O’Brien and is far from the beginning or end of their problems on offense, it’s unlikely that Fitzpatrick remains on the roster after next season.

Swearinger, though, as a second-year player and second-round draft pick figures to be here for a while. As safety has become an increasingly important position in the NFL game, so too do players like Swearinger, for better or worse.

From what it sounded like on Wednesday, Kelly thinks it will more likely be better.

Hear Matt weekends on Sports Radio 610

Follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow


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