JACKSONVILLE — Chip Kelly‘s first-team offense looked different against the Jaguars than it had in the previous two preseason games. Not as rooted in the run game. Fewer quick strikes and bubble screens. Longer-developing plays. The offensive line was decidedly less effective. So what happened?
A few things.
Some of the credit goes to Gus Bradley‘s defense for taking away a lot of what has worked for the Eagles to date. Jason Kelce explains:
“I think you take what the defense is giving you, and I think that a lot of the game they were playing with one-high safeties, stacking a lot of guys down to take away the running game and take away some of the bubble screens, and I think that’s why you saw a little more passing early on,” said Kelce.
And the Jags’ approach up front was effective against this offensive line, which was operating with all of its projected starters for the first time.
“This is the first team that we have played that has really slanted and angled the front, which kind of took us off of some of the double teams in the zone blocking scheme,” said Kelce. “So we’ll be able to look on film and figure out what went wrong. Whenever somebody’s moving against a zone scheme or slanting you have to make a quick adjustment on your double-team blocking, on your angles. We really hadn’t faced that up until tonight…I think it was more of the d-coordinator [Bob Babich] trying to screw a little bit with us up front. At times the blocking fits just weren’t right for us.”
Then there was the early struggles of rookie Lane Johnson, who had his hands full with former Eagle Jason Babin.
“He lined up on me a pretty good bit most of the game. I think he was probably trying to take advantage of the rookie,” said Johnson with a smile. “After the first few series, after I got adjusted to what kind of moves he was going to do, I felt like I held my own for the rest of the game.”
So, part of it can be chalked up to the Jags’ approach against an Eagles offense with some new parts working in a new scheme.
Kelly was asked if part of the different look was simply the Eagles focusing on/implementing various elements of the offense.
“Yeah, this is still a work in progress. We’re a ways away from anything,” said Kelly. “That’s what the preseason is all about is you get four opportunities to do some different things. Everybody in every group — whether it’s offense, defense or special teams — is all learning a whole brand new system, so you can’t throw everything on them, there has to be a layered effect as it goes in. There are some subtle tweaks as we keep moving, but it will be that way during the season because the defenses you face are different, so what you ran against one team will be different than what you ran against another team because the looks are going to be different.”
Jacksonville had an answer for what Kelly has shown so far. But he hasn’t shown much, according to multiple players in the Eagles’ locker room.
“Chip’s not showing everything right now,” said DeSean Jackson. “Our offense is so complex. Everything is really not up when we go into games like the preseason.”
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