“No I feel like it was slow to be honest with you. I’m not joking,” said Kelly. “We need to do a better job. We left the ball on the ground too much, we didn’t get the ball to the officials. We could have sped things up from a process in between plays, and that’s something that we need to continue to work on.”
It’s hard to imagine the Eagles moving much faster than they did in the first half against the Redskins, when they fired off 53 offensive plays. To put that in perspective, the record for most snaps by one team in a regulation game is 95 (a mark most recently hit by the Steelers in 2002, according to the NFL). If the Eagles kept up the same speed in the second half, they may very well have set a new record in Kelly’s debut.
Instead the head coach slowed things down to nurse a 26-7 halftime lead, and the Eagles finished with 77 plays on the night. The Redskins made a late push as the Eagles’ decelerated. Operating at normal speed is not normal for this team, and it showed.
“We’ve got to practice it a little more. We do lot of things at such a rapid tempo,” said Kelly. “I think our guys understand tempo and do that pretty good but we also have to learn how to practice playing it the other way. Really from a mindset standpoint, we do everything 90 miles an hour, then you’ve got to go back driving through the city streets, you can’t drive 90 miles an hour anymore, you’ve got to kind of slow it down and make sure you can still negotiate the turn.”
So slowing down is part of the operation. But mostly, this team will work at lighting-quick speed which, as it turns out, isn’t quite fast enough for the head coach’s taste.
How can this team sustain such a fast pace over 16 games. Are the Eagles just in better shape than the rest of the league?
“I don’t know, and it would be very presumptuous of me to talk about the shape of other teams because I have never watched them train. But I know our team is in shape and I know how we train and we’re pretty specific in how we do that,” said Kelly. “I believe we can keep up what we are doing right now just because we have been doing this since April. I think if you’re going to wait for the week before you play us to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get some extra sprinting in’ then I think it’s too late.”
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.