Chip Kelly met with reporters Monday. Below are three highlights from the session.
1. You’ll hear all week about how the Saints were 8-0 at home this season and 3-5 on the road. Kelly had an interesting reference when asked if New Orleans is a different team away from the Superdome.
“Tampa Bay didn’t win a game in cold weather until they came in here and did it,” Kelly said. “So we are not going to get really caught up in that one, I can tell you that.”
Friend of the blog, @BountyBowl, probably speaks for many of you:
BOOOOOO to Chippah for bringing up Tampa Bay NFCCG.
— BountyBowl (@bountybowl) December 30, 2013
There’s no denying that the Saints have been better at home, but as I pointed out this morning, New Orleans’ five road losses have been to the Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Panthers and Rams. Three of those teams are in the playoffs. Four of them finished .500 or better.
As for Drew Brees, in his career he has a 90.2 passer rating on the road. At home, it’s been 100.5. There’s been a more significant disparity this season (84.8 to 126.3), but the guy has still produced on the road in the past.
If you’re wondering, the latest forecast predicts mostly cloudy with a low of about 25 degrees Saturday night.
2. Kelly is an admirer of great quarterback play. That was evident when Tom Brady was in town during the summer. And again when the Eagles played Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
He was asked today about the challenge of facing a Brees-led offense.
“The challenge is Drew Brees,” he said. “I mean, he’s just so talented and has such a great command of what they are doing. You’ve got five guys in a progression, he can go from one to five like that [snapping fingers]. He understands coverage and he understands how you’re playing them and he’s very, very difficult to fool. He’s been around for a long time. It’s a lot like the matchup when you’re playing Peyton Manning. They are so skilled in their offense and what they are doing, you’ve got to present a lot of different looks to him and he’s got a lot of weapons to throw to.
“I think that’s what makes them so diverse is you just can’t hone in and say, ‘Hey, we take away this one guy, we are going to be in pretty good shape.’ There are so many different weapons there. You have a guy there that makes all five weapons available to them so I think that’s going to be a huge challenge.”
In the first half of Sunday’s game against Tampa, Brees completed 17 of 21 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Again, that was just the first half.
The Eagles stepped up to the challenge of facing a prolific Bears offense a couple weeks ago. An even stiffer test awaits the defense Saturday night.
3. As for Kelly’s’ own quarterback, Nick Foles was sacked five times Sunday night. Kelly said there were multiple factors at work on those plays.
“Depends on which play you’re talking about,” he said. “Sometimes there was a guy open, he probably could have gotten it out of his hand a little quicker. There were some other times where he’s waiting for guys to get open and they didn’t come out of the jam. We got caught once on the first or second play of the second half with a blitz that LeSean [McCoy] got stuck inside running into the twist on the D‑Line but didn’t come off on the linebacker. So a combination.”
When asked directly about why the passing game stalled in the second half, Kelly did not mention Foles.
“They did a decent job generating the pass rush on a couple things and there were a few times down the field where we just couldn’t get off of some jams,” he said. “It was a combination of the two things.”