Twitter Mailbag: Is the Kelly Offense Sustainable?

Chip KellyOn Thursdays we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @phat_dy: Honestly, is this offense sustainable? Do you believe Kelly knows he can plug in Foles, which enables him to make these calls?

The question of sustainability is relevant, even if you remove the Michael Vick element from the equation.  Chip Kelly‘s Eagles will be running  a ton of plays and will be doing so at mach speed. One concern is that the team will get worn down as the season rolls on. I asked Kelly today whether that was ever an issue at Oregon, and if the extra four regular-season games in the NFL presents a challenge in that respect.

“No, I think our teams were always the freshest teams that played by and large,” Kelly responded. “We have a weekly schedule that we follow almost religiously in terms of when to work, when to recover and what not. So I think we have a plan in place that we put in place in April that is built for the long haul.”

Then there is the injury issue. Logic suggests that the more plays you run, the more times an offensive player is exposed to potential punishment and therefor injury. Certainly the main focus is Vick, who was knocked to the ground 15 times Monday night by Ron Jaworski’s count. To the second part of your question: I don’t believe that Kelly is being bold with his use of Vick because he has a solid backup plan in Nick Foles. But I do believe he realizes the importance of having a quality reserve in the NFL, especially when you are running this system with a QB as free-wheeling as Vick.

Kelly told us on Thursday that Foles still gets some first-team reps in practice.

From @FelskeFiles: I’m concerned the Eagles we saw in the 2nd half was the REAL Eagles and the 1st half Birds were a mirage. Chances I’m right?

The offense that you saw in the first half was the “real” Eagles offense: no-huddle, hurry-up, explosive, confusing. Kelly admitted that they took their foot off the pedal too soon. They slowed things down and were conservative for the most part in the second half. That was a learning-on-the-job moment for the first-year head coach and it didn’t cost them a win ultimately, so that’s a good thing.

Not sure what the answer is yet when it comes to the defense. To say that Billy Davis just went into “prevent” mode down the stretch is inaccurate. He kept the blitzes coming and got burned on it a time or two. RGIII appeared to pick up steam as the game went on, which was another factor. Losing Cary Williams for a stretch also hurt them and speaks to the potential depth issues in the secondary.

Overall I think the defense played well — certainly better than I thought they were going to. It’s safe to raise your expectation levels a notch based off their performance against the Redskins. I don’t think either half  of play fully represents their identity. Chances are, they’ll be somewhere in between.

From @xpler99: does poyer’s development push Boykin to the outside, and Fletcher to the bench?  Or is his role diminished with hughes back?

Bradley Fletcher‘s teammates sound confident that he will be able to play against the Chargers, but he did not practice on Thursday and remains a question mark after sustaining a concussion Monday. Brandon Boykin is expected to be moved to the outside if Fletcher can’t go.

Brandon Hughes (hand) is practicing this week and should be ready for Sunday. I think there is a chance he sees some action against San Diego, perhaps over Jordan Poyer. The rookie saw 17 snaps against the Redskins, and looked like he could still use some seasoning.

I thought Fletcher played well against Washington. I believe the starting job is his when healthy.

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