Here’s this week’s roundup of national media coverage.
The Eagles are counting on Chip Kelly’s offense to stay ahead of defenses, writes Mark Maske of the Washington Post:
So as Kelly enters Year 2 in Philadelphia, the question becomes: Can he stay a step ahead of NFL defensive coordinators? The job could be tougher now. Those defensive coaches have had time to digest and analyze what Kelly is doing and to try to devise ways to slow down his offense.
The Eagles say they’re counting on Kelly.
“It won’t surprise many people this year as far as the pace and what they do,” Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins said of his team’s offense as he stood on the field after Friday’s practice. “But it’s still unusual. Until the rest of the league does it, it’s still something that you have to prepare differently for when you play the Eagles. And I think that gives us somewhat of an advantage because you don’t see it every week. But you know, Chip will find ways to adapt when people do catch on to that. He’ll adapt and do something else. The pace is one thing. But there’s a lot of other caveats in our offense that really give you problems and give you fits as a defense.”
Kelly is now at the forefront of a period of rapid tactical evolution, notes Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com:
Chip Kelly got the jump on the NFL in his rookie coaching season. His innovative Eagles offense finished second to the Broncos in total yards (6,676, or 417 yards per game) and tied with the Broncos in yards per play (6.3). While Kelly’s read-option offense got most of the attention at the college level, his up-tempo, no-huddle scheme proved far more dangerous in the NFL. The Eagles lined up without a huddle on 68 percent of their offensive plays, often leaving defenders disorganized and sucking wind.
Kelly is a true trendsetter, but NFL offenses were accelerating for several years before he arrived. Researcher Jim Armstrong has tracked offensive pace for years, measuring the average time a team takes to snap the football and adjusting for factors like the two-minute offense and other hurry-up (or slow down) situations. As Table One shows, the average team snaps the football more than a second faster now than it did four years ago.
LeSean McCoy is undervalued in fantasy drafts, according to KC Joyner of ESPN Insider:
Running backs are only as good as their blocking, and no back received better run blocking last year than McCoy. The Eagles posted a league-leading 49.6 percent mark in the good blocking rate (GBR) category that measures how often a blocking wall gives a ball carrier good blocking (which is roughly defined as not allowing the defense to do anything to disrupt a rush attempt). Philadelphia gets all five of its starting offensive linemen back (although right tackle Lane Johnson will serve a four-game suspension), so a repeat performance here is likely.
There may be concern that Darren Sproles will take some of McCoy’s receptions, but head coach Chip Kelly wants the offense to run more plays than it did last year, so there will be additional running and passing plays to go around.
For those thinking Adrian Peterson should go first, consider this: McCoy is three years younger than All Day, has less wear and tear (2,239 career carries/receptions for Peterson, 1,421 for McCoy) and plays in a much better overall offense. Add all of those factors together and it equals McCoy earning the top spot in fantasy football.
Jeremy Maclin is a bounce-back candidate, says Jeff Ratcliffe of Rotoworld.com:
But discount players and bounce-back players aren’t necessarily always the same thing. For both in the same package, how about Jeremy Maclin? He’s not a burner like DeSean Jackson, but Maclin has good speed and is a more complete receiver in terms of route running. We saw what Chip Kelly’s offense did for Riley Cooper last year, so Maclin is a player who I fully expect to outplay his current ADP of WR30.
Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com on Kevin Greene spending three days with the Eagles’ linebackers:
With 160 sacks in a 15-year NFL career, Greene probably does belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which held its 2014 induction ceremony over the weekend. Instead of being feted in Canton, Ohio, Greene was giving tips on rushing the passer to the Eagles’ outside linebackers. His three-day visit ends Tuesday.
“I called (Davis) a few months ago and inquired about a potential opportunity to come and share a few of the things I learned playing this position,” Greene said after Monday’s practice. “He said, ‘KG, hang on, let me talk to Coach (Chip) Kelly. I’m grateful to Coach Kelly and Coach Davis for the opportunity.”
Greene spent five years as the Green Bay Packers linebackers coach, working closely with Pro Bowler Clay Matthews. Greene left the Packers after the 2013 season, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. Here, he has the ability to keep his hand in without the full-time commitment required of assistant coaches.
The Eagles’ preseason game against the Patriots won’t be interesting, thinks Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com:
According to legend, whenever DeSean Jackson went deep for the Eagles last year, he took seven defenders with him, leaving Riley Cooper and the others (who can be timed in the 40 with the Mayan Long Count) covered by nose tackles and coaching interns. Also, as soon as Jimmy Garoppolo completes two passes, the Patriots can safely trade Ryan Mallett to the Texans for a package of picks that makes the Herschel Walker deal look like a conditional sixth rounder. Eagles-Patriots preseason games are usually dreary, but the game within the game within the runaway imaginations of hometown fans is always fascinating. Watchability: D.
In case you missed it, Cris Collinsworth thinks the Eagles are Super Bowl contenders, via Andrew Porter of CBS Philly:
“You know the team that I think will have a chance this year, is the Philadelphia Eagles,” Collinsworth said during the broadcast. “I just feel like Chip Kelly and what they did in that first year with that offense, I know they didn’t get it all in, and this year maybe a little bit more advanced Nick Foles. So I’m kind of keeping my eye on the Philadelphia Eagles.”