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Hold Your Horses: Chip Kelly’s Debut Exaggerated by Floundering Redskins

Sep 10, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

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One of the pressing questions for the Eagles heading into this season was what if Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense goes three and out, and their defense had to go back right on the field after they just came off?

New question: what if the Birds’ opponent goes three and out on offense?

The answer is the game in all likelihood will get out of hand quickly.

The overriding theme the day after the Eagles shocked the world* with a 33-27 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night was football is fun again in Philadelphia. Michael Vick posted three scores – two through the air, one on the ground – LeSean McCoy’s 184 yards rushing were one yard shy of a career high and DeSean Jackson had seven receptions for 104 yards off of nine targets. The night was pretty much a best-case scenario for all of the team’s stars.

The final score even lends the appearance the game was closer than it actually was. A blown call by the officials essentially took seven points from the Eagles and gift-wrapped them for Washington, and Chip might have taken his foot off the gas pedal just a bit too early in the second half.

All’s well that ends well though, now let’s go over that parade route one more time…

Time to pump the brakes a bit on the city’s rekindled love affair with football. As good as the Eagles’ offense looked, as convincingly as the defense took care of business – both of them for the first 32 minutes at least – the Redskins did just as much to play themselves out of the game.

As expected, Washington’s franchise quarterback was not sharp after missing the entire preseason, only eight months removed from a torn ACL. Robert Griffin’s footwork was messed up, the timing with his receivers was off, he wasn’t accurate down the field, and he wasn’t a threat to run at all. And because RG3 couldn’t execute the offense in the first half, the Redskins became one dimensional, allowing the Birds’ defense to tee off on Alfred Morris.

By the time the first half concluded, Washington had managed three first downs, less than 10 minutes in time of possession, plus turned the ball over twice and taken a safety.

So while Philly’s offense proved beyond capable of racking up yards and scoring points in bunches, they also had plenty of opportunities. Not to take away from the job defensive coordinator Bill Davis did with the his unit, but that’s simply not going to happen every week.

This was what you would call a perfect storm. The Redskins clearly weren’t prepared for the onslaught Chip’s version of the three-headed monster was about to unleash, nor the speed at which it would attack. But it turns out the best defense might be an efficient offense, and they certainly didn’t have anything resembling that, either.

Teams that can control the ball and sustain drives are going to make the Eagles work a lot harder than what we saw on Monday. It’s more than the points that did or did not go up on the scoreboard – it’s keeping the ball away from Chip’s offense. It’s field position. Not only that, Washington’s defense was continuously on the field practically non-stop until the game eventually got away from them.

Vick and co. are still going to get theirs this season, but it’s a lot easier to jump out to a (would-be) 40-0 lead when the opponent moves the ball about as well as Nichols St.

So what should we make of the Birds’ romp in our nation’s capital? If I had to guess right now, I’d venture Chip Kelly is going to be a successful NFL head coach. The speed at which his offense moves is the fastest the league has ever seen, and that alone is going to ground many a defense into submission.

But after watching the Redskins bumble their way through the first half of that game, I’m even more convinced Griffin wasn’t even close to ready for prime time, and that team will struggle until he shakes off the rust. Sorry to pour cold water on Chip’s epic debut, but there is no way it can be that easy.

* This author wasn’t shocked

  1. lyle - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    the redskins weren’t ready? they had all offseason to scout an oregon offense, 4 pre season games, and they have played previous years against the same core of players. “BUT NOONE KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT BECAUSE HE DID IT IN COLLEGE, NOT THE PROS!”

    Give the defense all the credit to shutting down RG3 and Alfred Morris…or maybe give Donnie Jones’ punt inside the 7 yard line credit. RG3 couldnt step up into a throw because there was pressure in front of him. Boykins’ interception, was a horrible decision…since when was rust an excuse for just a dumb throw.

    With an explosive offense like ours, if you can’t counter or match as the game goes on…you force teams to be one dimensional(ie last night)

    So when you say RG3 was rusty, you can say the same for Vick as he missed targets as well

    Reply
    • Steve - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:05 AM

      I hear what you are saying.The Eagles came out and took it to the skins and dominated the first half.RG3 had a bad game because the defense was in his face,forcing him to make bad decisions.The second half was a little different because they took their foot of the gas pedal and play less aggressive.It seem to me that the offensive line was hungry to turn up the speed in the second half and was disappointed in the slower pace which gave the skins defense a chance to breath and catch their breath.

      Reply
  2. Jason R. - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    I was at the Chargers game last night; it should continue to be this easy for at least one more week.

    I suppose this post is really just to calm everyone down about the offense, and I realize the defensive tsunami the Eagles put on in the first half was mostly due to redskins ineptitude, but 1) it was good to see the defense get some turnovers and 2) idk that the Giants/Cowboys looked any better than the ‘skins did.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that maybe they should forget about the 4-minute offense and just keep the pedal down and try to put up 50 points per game. I also realize that the majority of people that would agree with me are WIP callers, but when you take the speed out of the offense it pretty much looked like the offense from ’11 and ’12. Feels like the proverbial, “the only thing the can stop us is us”. Focus on putting up 50-60 points per game and see who can catch you. If the 2007 Pats are any indication, the answer is “no one”*.

    I feel like a crabby old fart, but one observation: I like the uptempo that it doesn’t give players time to showboat. Chip said in his presser that he thinks they could’ve gone faster had they gotten the ball to the official quicker after the plays. That “act like you’ve been there, give the ball to the official, you’re just doing what you’re supposed to be doing” was instilled in me by my grandfather’s discipleship to JoePa. I feel like Chip’s philosophy is, “you got 10 yards, ok, so get up, get set, and go get 10 more”. TD celebrations are one thing, but when you pick up 30+ first downs, don’t celebrate them as if you just walked on the moon. And players look like jackasses when the official runs in to spot the ball and the player tosses it four yards upfield and some other official has to go track it down and being it back like a servant. Especially in an offense that wants to run plays ASAP, give the ball to the guy so he can set it and you can go.

    End rant. Praise god that, if nothing else, the birds are fun and interesting to watch again.

    *Screw David Tyree

    Reply
    • Jason R. - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Also, special teams looked competent except for one punt that almost went through the uprights. A welcome change.

      Reply
    • Ryan H. - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:47 AM

      that pats team had Tom Brady and Randy Moss. Vick and Desean aren’t a pimple on their asses.

      Reply
  3. willh888 - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    It’s not like Shanny didn’t know Chips offense would run around like a bunch of road runners the first few mins of the game. I guess they thought they were prepared.. but couldn’t stop them when it came down to it. Chip fell back on a ground approach pounding the heck out the ball when he got such a lead. Plus i think they had fewer possessions later in the game. I can’t remember Shady with 30+ carries either. Did it happen maybe once ever? If a team wants to run and gun with them all game long, i’ll take McCoy v NFC East Ankles all day long. Just hope the fella holds up.

    Also with the soft def coverage letting all those under passes with a lead.. that might be the Eagles’ backwards way of running out the clock since they rush so many of their own possessions. Bend but don’t break has worked before.

    My guess is that was Chip’s soft opening too.. as crazy as it sounds.

    Reply
  4. jay peezo - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    for real. redskins looked awful. RGIII cant be fully healthy yet. good article. still totally stoked to watch this game though. loved it!

    Reply
  5. BenE. - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Nah, I’ll stay excited. Our baseball team is 20 games under .500 and Paul Holmgren is making one dumb signing after another, so forgive me. ;)

    Reply
    • Dan - Sep 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Phillies are only 11 games under .500 and I think that they are poised to make a run at .500 (would have to finish 15-4) with 6 against the Marlins, 4 against the Braves after they have locked up the division, and 3 against the Padres and Nats, who we can beat.

      Reply
      • BenE. - Sep 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Fingers crossed for that. Play for pride.

      • Steve - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:08 AM

        Go Eagles.

    • Steve - Sep 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      I think Holgrems hands are tied and Snyder is calling the shots.

      Reply
  6. Porter - Sep 10, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    You honestly cant go one day without writing your usual condescending know-it-all eagles articles? Everyones excited, and rightfully so. I think anyone who doesnt yammer into a phone at the likes of Angelo Cataldi has the good sense to know that this team is hardly a contender at this point. Were all just enjoying it. But noooo, Kulp knows that theyre not gonna win a superbowl guys! Guys, stop enjoying football thats not completely miserable and remember that Kulp, the genius that he is, knows that the eagles arent as good as they mightve looked last night! All bow down to Kulp.

    What garbage.

    Reply
  7. erzug - Sep 10, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Wonder what the final score would have been had RGIII been sharp. Also, more proof that MV cannot get through a game without an injury.
    I think Chip also found out that an offense in the NFL cannot go at warp speed for 60 minutes.

    San Diego should be an easy victory. They should be demoralized after giving up a 21 point lead at home as well as fatigued coming to the east coast on a short week.

    Reply
  8. nahroots - Sep 10, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Klassic Kulp. Can’t stand eating krow, so he’ll just whip up another insufferable post full of condescension and cynicism.

    Your sir, are a giant sack of tools.

    Reply

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