Kelly Credits Williams For Offensive Tweak

NFL: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Late in the first quarter, Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for a 33-yard gain on a post route against Cary Williams.

“It wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t run with Calvin, it was the fact that when I tried to turn, I was sliding initially,” Williams said. “I didn’t get the initial grab into the ground the way I wanted to.”


Williams figured the Lions' defensive backs would likely have the same issue against the Eagles' receivers. So he decided to let Chip Kelly know.

"It was funny, Cary Williams was the one who came up to me, and he was like, 'Coach, this is what you've got to do because you can't make up speed if the guy makes a stick move on you just because of the footing,' " Kelly said. "Cary was kind of the one, and it's coming from a defensive guy saying, 'Hey, if you have an opportunity to either throw a post or throw a corner route, it's hard to make that up.' Finally we hit Riley [Cooper] on it. It was almost like that kind of got us going, got our confidence back a little bit, and then we got rolling there."

Nick Foles started out the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. But he finished 7-for-9 for 144 yards. The 44-yard completion to Cooper was the biggest play of the game by either side. And it came at a crucial time.

The Lions had just taken a 14-0 lead on a 58-yard punt return. But Kelly listened to what Williams said and decided to take some shots deep on breaking routes that put defensive backs at a disadvantage because of the snow.

"You run anything that was inside because you’re used to planting off that outside foot so sometimes your outside foot slips," Williams said. "Sometimes it was that inside initial step that slipped. I knew I was having a little bit of a difficult time coming down because the field was lumpy and it had maybe seven, eight inches of snow on it. So for a defender it was tough. It was difficult to kind of manage your footwork out there. And it puts you a step behind or maybe a step-and-a-half behind guys. And I felt like we had the receivers to get the job done.

"It was crazy, coach went along with me, and it’s weird because you don’t get a head coach or a defensive player telling a head coach, 'Hey, this is a great possibility if we run this particular route.' But Chip believed in me, and it’s crazy."

Asked what Kelly told him after the game, Williams recalled: "He said, 'We took your notes.' And I said, 'Dang, yeah, appreciate it. I’m glad you guys did.'"

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

  • Pennguino

    It’s good to see that he is open minded enough to take input from every avenue. You can see the in game adjustments every week. This was the first week that we struggled in the first half and then lit it up in the second.

    I have been thinking about the Celek slide. It was somewhat like BWest’s slide but we had a larger lead. I know if he scores they get the ball back and have a chance to get it on an onside kick. But you are not getting an onside kick in the snow covered field. Then again, you have no idea on what would happen to the ball kicked into the snow. What kind of crazy bounce would it have taken.

    It was still the right move though it would have been a nice stat pump for him, Nick and the offense

    • nicksaenz1

      I’ve been back and forth on that myself, but I always come back to the conclusion that he did the right thing for the team, and that kind of a selfless move coming from a vet like him speaks to the leadership this team has and the complete 180 this team’s culture has undergone. Can’t teach character.

    • GEAGLE

      Balls don’t bounce in the snow

      • Pennguino

        True but he is going to drive it hard off the tee into a cleared area. No telling how it lands and how slippery it is when packed in snow

      • Brian

        But, Bumbles do.

        • Johnny Domino

          Epic

    • Justin

      If Celek scores on that TD it’s at least 40-20 with about 1:30 left. Does anybody, ANYBODY think the Lions would have scored three TDs in a minute and a half?

      At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. We got the W. But it just seemed kinda needless.

      • BlindChow

        Injuries. Best end the game when you can.

        • Justin

          Fair point. I’m not terribly concerned over Celek not scoring. The only thing that matters is the W. Unfortunately, I’ve been eyeing the #2 seed, but New Orleans doesn’t seem like they’ll cooperate.

        • Waldo

          This exactly. End the game. Hard to get hurt on kneeldowns and you don’t force the defense out to risk injury on a final Lions drive.

          • RC

            That, and while every player keeps saying how fun it was, guys were freezing there arses off too. End it- give the ST and Defense a gift, get off the field, and in the hot showers.

      • theycallmerob

        Apparently there are bonus hot chocolate smoothies if the games ends in victory formation.

      • IHD

        Lions comeback is doubtful, but just remember that Reggie Bush got hurt in warmups. No need to tempt fate once the game is in hand.

    • devCal

      don’t want anyone to get hurt either, like our defense.

  • Dave

    This goes a long long way when trying to build a team. This is the type of thing that makes a coach special. The fact that Williams, a tough minded guy, would have the confidence to tell Chip what to do. Then for Chip to listen, assess and use the information his starting CB gave him…speaks volumes to the players on this team.

    This is coaching, this is making adjustments, this is believing in your players…it’s a breath of fresh air to know you have that type of coach. Just look at Williams comments….he’s in awe that his. Omach believed in what he was saying

    • Tom w

      Couldn’t have said it any better. For all the foles, cooper, shady, young defense looking awesome …. For us to find a once In a generation coach is by far the most epic thing to happen to this franchise. Biggest thanks to Howie for not letting chip get away in January.

  • theycallmerob

    Nick Foles started out the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. But he finished 7-for-9 for 144 yards.
    second half comeback….check. continues to go from chalkboard to field. and damn sure threw a spiral in that storm.
    certainly a game to remember. as if this season couldn’t get any sweeter.

    • nicksaenz1

      Hard to envision a likely scenario where he isn’t the starter going into next year and beyond.

      • SVPhilly

        Maybe starter for a thousand years? :-)

    • Pennguino

      Yea, his best spiral caused it to overthrow Desean.. I laughed when he threw that and was thinking if it was just a little ugly, Desean had it for 6. He came right back to it on the next play to see if Desean could beat him again. The safety got a last send deflect.

  • DirtyWaters

    Strange for Employee #26 to speak up. Quiet guy. Keeps to himself. Way to come out of your shell and speak your mind.

  • Stuart Philp

    This kind of thing is just great. Players and coaches feeding off each other, helping each other out. It’s the kind of thing that makes for a great TEAM

  • PaoliBulldog

    I’m trying to envision how Andy Reid would have responded to a defensive player’s mid-game play calling suggestions.

    • GEAGLE

      Just keep throwing fly routes to Desean…duh

  • Johnny Domino

    Sconces bringing a new strategy to light.

    • DirtyWaters

      When he gets an idea, there’s a lightbulb over his head…recessed in the wall.

  • GEAGLE

    Hey philly…have you fallen in love with Mr. December yet?

    • Johnny Domino

      Which one?

      • GEAGLE

        The one and only, mr. Fiery sconces himself

  • Fly High

    I think it is great that Kelly was smart enough to take Williams’ feedback, but I think this is also progress on the weather front. I thought that Kelly did do a particularly good job of quickly adjusting his game plans to weather at Oregon. I have the idea that helped lose the Stanford game in 2012. This is a little surprising for a guy coming from New Hampshire. (by the way, I love Chip in general).

    I think the Eagles, give where they play, should have a clear set of game plan tweaks ready for winter weather, from equipment, to play calling and more. Sports Snow Science, yes!

  • Justin

    I got a text from a Cowboys fan I work with tonight. He told he “unfortunately doesn’t see philly losing another game” and “that team is for real.” I think he’s right. And call me crazy but there are only two teams in the NFL that really scare me: Seattle and Denver. This is a good time to be an Eagles fan, folks, and I’m sure as hell enjoying the ride after these last few years.