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First One in the Books: Patriots Clip Eagles in Chip’s NFL Debut

Aug 10, 2013, 12:16 AM EDT

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In many respects the Eagles’ first preseason game under head coach Chip Kelly probably met a lot of expectations. Philly’s offense was potent, be it by quick strike or methodical march. The defense on the other hand is still a work in progress. And not surprisingly, an opponent that’s reached the playoffs nine times in the last 10 years looks far sharper in August than a club that is essentially starting over.

The Birds ultimately fell to the New England Patriots by a final of 31-22, although the result doesn’t matter. The biggest initial take-away from this exhibition is Chip’s squad should be entertaining in 2013. They looked like they can “hang,” at least they did for a quarter or so until the starters began exiting.

Oh, it was shaky during the early-goings for sure. When Stevan Ridley broke off a 62-yard run on the first play from scrimmage for New England, it was shades of last year all over again. That sinking here-we-go-again feeling continued to creep in while the Patriots were finishing off their six-play touchdown drive – all runs. A short few minutes later, the Eagles’ offense were immediately into 3rd and long on their opening possession.

This was worst nightmare stuff. Then they came to life.

Michael Vick found Jason Avant down the seam for 23 yards, a big conversion to keep the series alive. Two plays later he hooked Pats safety Steve Gregory with a ball-fake, then unloaded a perfect 47-yard strike into the hands of DeSean Jackson, who had gained a stride on talented corner Aqib Talib. That connection unofficially went for the first touchdown of the Chip Kelly era.

Things seemed to loosen up from there. Tom Brady took it personally, forcing New England to paydirt once more before hitting the showers. Hey, what did you expect? The guy is amazing.

Then after some back-and-forth, Nick Foles would lead the Eagles on a long scoring drive of his own early in the second quarter, knotting the score at 14 apiece less than 20 minutes into the fray.

You don’t always see that kind of pace in a preseason game, and certainly not the first one of the summer. Brady played for two series. Chip got his up-tempo offense going. For a large portion of the first half, this contest resembled actual football.

As far as the Eagles’ quarterbacks are concerned, Vick did edge out Foles for the night. The four-time Pro Bowler was 4/5 for 94 yards and the score, with one stalled drive. Foles finished 5/6 for 43 ticks, moving the offense into the end zone once, but also had a fumble lost – albeit largely due to a protection breakdown.

Matt Barkely also saw plenty of work. While the rookie was largely unimpressive, he did improve as he got acclimated to the speed of the game, posting an 11/22 for 103 and a TD.

We’ll be exploring more of this game, including individual player evaluations and a look at some of the vanilla schemes we saw over the next couple of days. By and large though we’re already tempted to say this was a successful introduction into the Chip Kelly era.

If you caught the game, as I’m sure many of you did, what are your thoughts? Who or what stood out to you from Chip’s debut?

  1. Wmcgar01 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Quick paced offense and lots of rushing… Very welcome changes imo

    Reply
    • Edward does not like Rube - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      I know 7 looked good but I am not sure he is as accurate on the outs as 9 is… But 7 throws a great deep ball.

      Reply
  2. EaglesFaninVA - Aug 10, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    It was nice to see the O-line protect the QB…much improved over last year…let’s hope they can continue. vick throwing from the pocket unscathed was a welcome sight.

    Reply
  3. Brett Morgen - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    I can’t believe Chip downplayed the pathetic performance of the defense at his press conference. If you see a defensive player or coach on the Eagles walking down the street, please let them know what you think of their PATHETIC defense and effort (preferably by pouring whatever drink you have on them, they are a HORRIFIC JOKE). How many 50 yard+ runs are we going to give up? How freakin many??? It’s not going to matter who the QB is with a defense like this, I can’t begin to describe how pissed off I am, Billy Davis is a stinkin bum and if I don’t see improvement on this defense I can’t in good faith predict the Eagles to win more than 6 games. Then Chip gets all defensive about the lack of hitting in practice, CHIP DID YOU WATCH YOUR OWN STINKING DEFENSE? DID YOU???

    Reply
  4. Chutley - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Brett…i bet my buddies last night after the opening run that maniacs would come out and declare this team dead. Stop it dude.
    Nice write up Kulp…focus on the progress

    Reply
  5. Chingo - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Yea this Brett guy is an idiot….Band wagon philly fan who has no knowledge of football what so ever…Its Pre-season, We are switching to a 3-4, and running Vanilla Schemes…..Get over it. Looking at Individual Performance more than the defence as a whole. Brett is the type of fan who acts like a lunatic now, and is the first to buy a Bill Davis autographed jacket when we go in to washington and shut them out week one….Go cheer for the giants, we don’t need your kind here…. And Lane Johnson is an Animal in the run game, but needs some work on his pass protection, especially Inside moves…..and Watkins looked really good last night.

    Reply
  6. colinmcdonnell23 - Aug 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Getting annoyed by the “Chip needs to start making the defense tackle to the ground during practice” narrative. Do these people have amnesia? Andy consistently ran one of the most physical Training Camps in the NFL. Tackling in camp didn’t help Kurt Coleman and the like last year during game days. Why would it help this year?

    Reply
    • Negativo - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Why wouldn’t it?

      Reply
  7. jrc80 - Aug 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    New coaches, new schemes, new team essentially. I was very happy with the first preseason game against a very tight Patriots squad. Offense is going to put up some numbers this year, given the line remains in tact. D was sloppy which was expected – Kendricks is going to have to be a total stud this season to keep us in games. A lot of work ahead, but for a team in transition I think this should be an entertaining season.

    Reply
  8. erzug - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I think the starting defense can take off the rest of the preseason since they look to be in mid-season form already.

    Reply

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