Kelly Explains In-Game Decisions

chipkelly_400_102613Chip Kelly made some in-game decisions during Sunday’s loss to the Giants that will leave him open to second-guessing in the next couple days.

He was asked about all of them during his press conference. Here’s what Kelly said.

1. With 1:14 left in the second quarter, the Eagles had a first-and-goal from the Giants’ 2. They had just driven 78 yards, and Matt Barkley had completed six of seven passes. Instead of giving LeSean McCoy a chance to punch it in, Kelly called a naked bootleg and had Barkley roll out to his left. With the two receivers covered, Barkley was supposed to throw the ball away. But he waited too long and was stripped by Terrell Thomas. Barkley fumbled, and instead of a touchdown, the Eagles turned the ball over.


"We called timeout. I just wanted to get Matt settled. And we went over and talked about it," Kelly said. "It's a play we've run, we've practiced continually for about six weeks or seven weeks since the beginning of the season. It was just a naked [bootleg]. We've got one route with DeSean [Jackson] out wide and then the tight end on a drag on the back side. If we didn't have it, throw it away."

Why not hand it off to McCoy there?

"That's the play I called," Kelly said. "So I mean, you can go back, it didn't work so obviously it didn't work, but we know in that situation we're first-and-goal. And we talked about it. If we don't have it, let's throw it away and then we'll go to the next snap."

Barkley has to know better in that situation, but it's fair to question whether Kelly put his rookie QB in the best possible situation.

2. With 4:11 remaining, the Eagles were down 15-7 with one timeout left and chose to try an onside kick instead of kicking it away. The Giants recovered and took over at the Eagles' 48.

"I only had one timeout so it didn't matter," Kelly said. "If we kicked it deep, there's still gonna be the same amount of time on the clock. So we felt like if we could get it at that point in time, that was my decision in terms of if we kicked it deep, the time off the clock's gonna be the same exact thing."

Kelly is right that the time would have been the same either way. But with the onside kick, Kelly risked the possibility of the Giants kicking a field goal and making it a two-possession game. As it turned out, they were forced to punt, but the Eagles' offense ended up getting the ball back at their own 16.

It was going to be a longshot either way, but kicking it away would have given the offense better field position. That would have really been glaring had the defense forced a three-and-out.

3. With 10:21 left in the fourth, the Eagles trailed 15-0 and faced a 4th-and-4 at the Giants' 47. Instead of going for it in plus territory, Kelly elected to punt.

"It was a two-score game, so I knew we were gonna stop 'em," Kelly said. "I had great confidence in our defense, and I wish they stopped 'em on the first third down, but they got 'em on the second third down, and we still felt like we were gonna get the ball back with at least time to score and then get an onside kick."

More than anything else, this just seemed like a coach having zero confidence in his offense. Of course, you can understand why that was the case.

4. With 9:20 left in the third, the Eagles had a 4th-and-10 from the Giants' 32. Rather than attempt a 49-yard field goal with Alex Henery, Kelly decided to go for it.

"When we go through pre-game, how far he can kick and what [special teams coach Dave] Fipp feels where he is," Kelly said. "So when I talked to Fipp about it, there was a wind. If you're talking about the one in the third quarter, going the other way, yeah there was pretty good wind there that we weren't… that was a tough wind. That's why we went for it on fourth down down there. Whenever we get close, Fipp's right near me and I'll ask him, and he's like 'We need to get a little bit closer in that situation.'

Results shouldn't necessarily dictate the process, but it seems like Kelly is explaining a field goal decision on a weekly basis. Last week, he decided to go for a 60-yarder instead of trying to pick up extra yardage near the end of the first half against Dallas. This time around, he chose to pass on the 49-yarder. Barkley ended up fumbling the snap before throwing over Jason Avant's head.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • theycallmerob

    ….at least the cowboys lost

    • cliff henny

      skins blowing 14 pnt lead too.

    • Richard Colton

      in classic fashion. Petulant Dez on the sideline was great too. Thought Witten was going to toss him over his knee and spank him.

      • Media Mike

        And Ware did a nice job grabbing Dez as well.

    • Media Mike

      Yes. And I loved how everybody’s man crush, Jason Hatcher, stood there like a dolt when Stafford jumped past him for that big TD.

    • jabostick

      True! It’s a testament to how bitter I was that I took as much joy as I did watching them lose and making it as painful as possible. My wife also smacked me on the arm when Cruz went down and I said “Let’s see you salsa now, motherf*cker”.

      That may have been offside, I admit.

  • Damien

    I like the ad for Whiskey. Gonna need it after that game…

  • Will

    Eagles football a complete disaster!

  • nicksaenz1

    My biggest takeaway from this game is that the Linc needs to be demolished with a reincarnation of the Vet in its place. 10 straight and counting.

    • Token

      quietest stadium in the NFL.

      • djack10

        you could hear Eli’s cadence on almost every snap today. The Linc is nothing like the Vet was.

    • cliff henny

      just put bleachers on the sides of broad street and remove manhole covers, be about the same

    • TheCatalyst

      You could clearly hear Eli’s “kill! kill! kill! Omaha!”…you could also clearly hear Barkley clapping for the ball when he wanted the hurry up. It seemed like the crowd was at a D-III Widner University game.

      • LITOSHEP

        Each center in the NFL is mic’d up this year to pick-up the qb’s calls you idiot. You could have had air horns blaring in the crowd and eli’s calls still would have been easy to hear.

        • BigWhoopWannaFightAboutIt

          I watched the game on TV, and that crowd was silent. Eagles fans better get back into this season or it will be 11 straight losses at home.

          Calling people names on the internet, wow. I know now not to mess with you, big guy.

        • TheCatalyst

          Amazing that Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins and a bunch of other people said the same exact thing I said. Guess their idiots too right?

  • Necessary Proper

    I agree with the onside kick. The offense was horrible and needed all the help it could get. A successful kick at least would have put them near midfield with enough time to get in position to score. And although I have never been a CK groupie, I don’t blame CK for Barkley’s RZ fumble. Barkley had plenty of time to throw it away and just didn’t do his job.. The McCoy play was an obvious call but that is why the Barkley rollout made sense, until he screwed up. April can’t get here soon enough.

    • Cranky Caucasian

      I also thought the on-side kick was the right call. It gives the team one more chance to get the ball back, which at that point of the game is more important than field position.

  • Will

    Na should of kicked off and put the Offense in a better spot, not so they get it back on their 16…Defense 6 and out needed 3 and out…

  • theycallmerob

    KINNE

  • tbwhite

    after last year’s mirage 3-1 start, the Eagles went 2-14 ( including the first 4 games this year). Then 2 wins against winless teams and suddenly they were contenders ? The Eagles suck, they are a bad team as evidenced by the fact that they beat themselves all the time. That’s what bad teams do. This team needs a lot more talent before it contends for anything. From here on out the only thing that matters is figuring out who can be on the next good Eagles team. They ought to trade Peters this week, and DeSean and McCoy, have a fire sale, go all in on this year’s draft. Anyone want to bet that the Giants win the division at 8-8 ?

    • Mark

      You want to trade one of the best young running backs in the NFL, and our only legitimate receiving threat? You know that drafts aren’t a sure thing. The Eagles aren’t as awful as the 76ers, they don’t need a complete fire sale.

    • SeaDucks

      Agreed. It blaringly obvious we need a QB at any expense. Doesn’t matter how much HP the motor(McCoy) has, or how good the tires(Jackson) with no one to drive the car.

    • The Answer

      Yea let’s blow up the entire team. Let’s give away arguably our 3 best offensive players, that will make the rebuilding process quicker…that’s not a knee-jerk reaction. The Giants stink they aren’t going anywhere.

    • Nah__Roots

      How in the world does this thing have up-votes?

    • mike

      Trading McCoy would be a great idea. You don’t win in the NFL with just a star running back. The RB is a secondary position in the modern NFL. If you could get solid picks for McCoy I’d trade him today.

      Plus by time this team is good in 2 (hopefully) years, McCoy will done.

      Jackson is over-rated, and you wouldn’t get much for him in a trade. He’s a #2 receiver making #1 money.

  • Damien

    Jason Peters to KC for a 2nd
    Trent Cole to SEA for a 4th

    Get the 5th pick.

    1. Marcus Mariota/Johnny Manziel, QB
    2. Aaron Colvin, CB
    2. Dion Bailey, S
    3. David Yankey, OT
    4. Kareem Martin, OLB
    4. Jabari Hunt-Days, OLB
    5. Sean Parker, S
    6. Shaq Evans, WR
    7. Mister Cobble, NT

    WR can be plugged in FA.

    BTW, I didn’t pick the players due to name, but Hunt-Days and Mister Cobble is pretty sick on the same defense lol.

    • Dutch

      If the Eagles have this many picks, you can expect a couple of them to be packages in an attempt to move up to select a QB, and while they are at it, they’ve got to try to obtain wr Mike Evans from Texas A&M

    • Richard Colton

      you’re kidding. a team giving up a 2nd for Peters and a 4th for Cole? Sign me up for the Howie fan club after that fleecing.

      • Damien

        We can get that. If we were in 8-0 but needed a LT to win the SB, you’d make that trade.

  • Kse

    Fire Chip

    • jakethesnake

      agree he seems to be a very highly paid Rich Kotite clone…..and a weasel with his fast talking lies.

  • Will

    I Wonder how many games Vick is gonna miss now…..

    • Dutch

      I would estimate 3, that’s why it was a mistake to even play him this afternoon, he gets hurt again and misses a month.

      • cliff henny

        sit him till after bye week? hope for 2-1 in those 3 games. most likely still be within game of 1st place. raiders game is massive, loss there and wanting to see meaningfull games in Dec could be futile search

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          Agree. Gotta beat the Raiders. And then just go from there.

  • Dro

    This team will be bad for a long long time..

  • jakethesnake

    chipper is coming across more and more like a moron each week. these are kotite-like decisions and kotite-like explanations. I don’t trust his judgement…he seems to be a weasel……not happy days in eagles nation.

    • southy

      It’s reactions like this that make coaches like Reid just deadpan people in interviews. I don’t see anything wrong with his decisions actually… You get in a field goal situation, trust your ST coach, you pay the man to know his squad. If you need a 3 and out anyway, not much to be lost with an onside kick. Nothing wrong with calling a bootleg near the goal line; if Barkley can’t run that competently, he shouldn’t be in the NFL. If it doesn’t work out then hand it to McCoy on the next play.

      If the execution were better he’d look like a genius and no one would be questioning these calls.

      • EagleDuck

        Totally agree. Hilarious how everyone acts like poor execution somehow equates to Chip being a moron. Yes, he’s made some odd calls this season, but when they work everyone talks about his brass balls and innovation, when they don’t he’s immediately branded a ‘Spurrier’ or incompetent boob.

  • JofreyRice

    Ok, so we’ve had pretty poor QB play for two weeks, but what the hell is with McCoy and the running game? Kelly was supposed to be a run-heavy coach. Does McCoy have 100 yards in the past 2 games, combined? And RB’s not named McCoy might have about 100 yards all year. Where is the offensive design that’s going to spring the running game to carry the offense? People can argue about the call for Barkley to keep it–and it was dumb–but it’s not like McCoy was a world-beater today, either. I don’t know if the workload is catching up to him, the blocking isn’t there, or what, but he’s a different back than he was just 3 or 4 games ago.

    And, we can agree that he might get better, but right now, Lane Johnson sucks. He’s a turnstile in pass pro–both he and Herremans are an awful right side together on passing downs. Very frustrating to get such up and down play out of such a high pick–cold comfort that KC, Jacksonville and Miami are getting about the same from the first 3 picks. Another fantastic game by Ertz, by the way. It’s really amazing how such a tall guy has such a tiny catching radius. If it’s not right in the guy’s breadbasket, it’s not going to be caught. Terrible quality in a plodding TE.

    • RIP illa

      Not really amazing…6’5 31 inch arms…T-Rex! Well documented heading into the draft, but hey what do we and scouting reports know??? There was Eifert and everyone else, did not need to use a 2nd on a player like him. At best, his ceiling is a less physical version of Witten…and that’s saying something, cause Witten’s game involves a lot of physicality and blocking. If I’m spending a 2nd rd pick on a TE, dude has to have a Calvin Johnson catch radius and/or be a dynamic enough athlete to exploit LBs and Safeties. Soft hands are a must also.

      • Joe from Easton

        Give Ertz time. Celek started out slow and progressed into a good tight end for a few years. I think Ertz has a higher ceiling, but he needs to get acclimated to the pro game. He’s still more athletic than most LB’s and bigger than all safety’s; just not by the same margin’s as he was in college. Ertz will be a fine player.

        • RIP illa

          Having just a fine player is not worthy of a 2nd round pick! You can get just a “fine” player in later rounds. BTW…Celek was a 5th round pick up.

          • Token

            Lurie has beaten this fan base down so much that the majority is so easily impressed now.

            You need key players in the second round. Not a guy who may be a fine player one day when hes grows up and becomes a big boy.

          • Joe from Easton

            The fact of the matter is that 1st round or 7th round; rookies don’t usually dominate. The ones that do are anomalies. I’m not beaten down for expecting a rookie to play like a rookie at times. I just simply understand that for every (insert rookie sensation here) there are 100 rookies learning how the NFL works. If during next season he’s still alligator arming passes and can’t block then you can call him a bust.

          • Token

            Theres rookies making impacts all over the NFL. Every single season. Just not on this team.

            You cant live in the 1980s. Rookies come in now and are expected to be able to play. Having rookie moments is one thing, thats expected. But you want to see NFL ability at least. Im not seeing very much of it.

          • Joe from Easton

            Like I said, for every rookie that makes an impact, there’s many, many more that are still on the lower arc of their learning curve. I understand what the fan base wants, but we need to understand that this is the NFL, not the jump from JV to Varsity on Friday nights.

            Here’s a few examples of what I mean; please don’t think this is me saying Ertz will be any of these players, but…

            1st season stats:
            J. Graham – 31 Rec / 356 Yds / 5 TD’s
            J. Witten – 35 Rec / 347 Yds / 1 TD
            T. Gonzalez – 33 Rec / 368 Yds / 2 TD’s
            A. Gates – 24 Rec / 389 Yds / 2 TD’s

            Current Rookie TE’s drafted around Ertz along with him:
            G. Escobar – 4 Rec / 64 Yds / 1 TD (extrapolated – 8 rec / 128 Yds / 2 TD’s)
            T. Eifert – 24 Rec / 293 Yds / 1 TD (extrapolated – 48 Rec / 586 Yds / 2 TD’s)
            Z. Ertz – 14 rec / 201 Yds / 0 TD (extrapolated – 28 Rec / 402 Yds)

            Please stop trying to tell people that he’s not going to pan out or that he’s a bust. He needs time, just like the guys before him and the guys next to him.

          • Joe from Easton

            He’s on pace for a similar rookie stat line to Witten, Gonzalez, and Gates. If that’s not at least showing some NFL ability then maybe those teams should have cut bait on those guys, right?

          • RIP illa

            1) you left out Reed who is dominating.
            2) Witten came in as a blocking TE and that whole era was dedicated to blocking TEs that were secondary receiving weapons. Also both Gates and Gonzales, were basketball converts that took time to learn the game, rather than being groomed from the get go in college. And yes I know that they played in college…yet still it was still in the era of blocking TE 1st. They were the prototypes/experiments to see what an athletic, big, and fast receiving TE could develops into.

            I don’t hate Ertz. Just don’t like him for that high of a pick. He’s literally showing every flaw that was put out in the scouting reports pre-draft. And he’s doing so on a consistent basis. The hope would be that he shows only some of those flaws…not live up or rather down to them. If we had a dominant Dynamic, faster receiving TE, I would probably love a player like Ertz on the squad to compliment him. Well minus the fact that he sucks at blocking from a physical and technical standpoint. However Chip sent the message, w/ the pick, that this kid is going to be the guy. Not cool. And please no Gronk comparisons. Gronk, before the injuries, was a physically dominating beast, w/ better hands, and a huge catch radius. Ertz, as of now, is none of these. He can improve his physical nature. It’s bout 50/50 whether he can improve his hands. But he can’t improve his catch radius, due to being breed from T-Rex(s).

          • RIP illa

            This fanbase has a serious case of the “homers”. I too can be swayed by players I have a liking for, but still gotta pull back and look at them objectively at times.

            I thought we would take a TE, but after seeing the difference between the #1 (eifert) and #2 (ertz), I started looking at everybody but Ertz. Thought that we would never invest that high of a pick on a player like that. Really sad thing is…that we probably have to address the position w/ a Draft pick again do to his slow curve of progression so far. Way better TE prospects this year.

          • Token

            Its homerism and blind faith in a franchise that has never given you reason to feel that way.

          • Joe from Easton

            @ RIP – I stand semi-corrected. I forgot that Celek was a much lower pick and that’s certainly an important assessment. Also though, I should clarify; I think Ertz will be more than fine, but he’s just a rookie learning the ropes playing a very physical position. He needs to get his “man strength” under him a little
            and I believe then he’ll be able to dominate like a 2nd round pick should.

            I should’ve been more clear in my stated opinion.

          • RIP illa

            Hey, no worries. We just have a difference of opinion on Ertz’s ceiling.

    • Token

      Ertz…. Yikes.

      If you are a game breaker, like a Jimmy Graham…. then you better atleast be able to make the tough first down catches with guys around you. No matter who throws him the ball, Ertz cant catch it. Plays small.

  • Loke1988

    Incorrect headline. Should read “Kelly makes excuse after excuse for in game decisions”.