Don’t Expect Kelly To Change His Tactics

Chip Kelly‘s phone went off during the middle of his day-after press conference Friday afternoon.

“Sorry guys, hold on,” he said as he worked to stop the ringing, to no avail. Finally, after a little fumbling, he slid the device into his pocket and returned to taking questions.

“Can’t even get a press conference straight,” he said.

Such is the life of a rookie coach in the midst of his first losing streak.

After an explosive start back on September 9 against Washington, Kelly’s Eagles have crashed back down to Earth. Turnovers, mental errors and defensive breakdowns have all been a part of it.

Kelly’s approach has also come under the microscope in a few instances. He did not work the clock down the stretch against San Diego and it cost him, as Philip Rivers got the ball back with enough time to engineer the game-winning drive. On Thursday, Kelly chose to go for two following the team’s first score of the day, and it failed. Ultimately that didn’t impact the outcome of the game, but it could have.

In their two losses, the Eagles were essentially doubled-up in the time of possession department. Kelly believes time of possession to be an irrelevant stat.

Bumps in the road aside, Kelly certainly isn’t going to abandon the philosophies and tactics that helped get him here. Not after three games. Kelly used the two-point attempt to help illustrate why. As we showed you earlier, the Eagles used the “swinging gate” play where they lined five linemen out to the left and direct-snapped the ball to Zach Ertz, positioned a few yards behind them. They had the numbers they were looking for but failed to get a hat on Tamba Hali, who made the stop.

“If we block that up the right way we’re five-for-five and we score,” he said. “It’s not ‘going for it, not going for it,’ it’s an opportunity when the situation presents itself. It’s no different than if somebody decided to onside kick. You decided to onside kick because the left tackle always bails really quickly when you watch film. If he doesn’t bail quickly and you call the onside kick then you say, ‘Are you going to change all your tactics?’ No, you’re going to study film and say, ‘Do the numbers match up and can we get something here?’ and that’s what we’re looking to do. It’s not a tactic that worked at one level that doesn’t work at another level.”

Expect, then, for Kelly to remain aggressive when he sees an opening, two-point conversions included.

As for time time of possession, Kelly reiterated that the stat “means nothing” to him and that it’s about plays run.

“We’re not running enough plays  on offense, we’re turning the ball over too much offensively, we’re not executing the way we’re supposed to execute and that’s what we have to do to be able to keep our defense off the field.”

The Chiefs ran 77 plays to the Eagles’ 63. On Sunday, the Chargers got off 79 snaps to Philly’s 58.

We have seen promise and we have seen growing pains, both for team and coach alike. All of it was to be expected in a year of firsts. And yet another first for Kelly: he didn’t suffer back-to-back losses in his four seasons as the head man at Oregon. Now he’s charged with trying to get his team off the mat, and with Peyton Manning and the Broncos on deck.

“I think you draw on the positives, you know, what did you do well, and then look at what correctable mistakes occurred in the game and address them. That’s what I talked about in the locker room after the game with our guys,” he said.

“The people that are going to fix this right now were in the locker room last night. It’s our coaching staff and our players. We’ll get together as a group and get ready and put in a game plan to go play the Broncos.”

Injury update 

Patrick Chung had his left arm in a sling as he exited the NovaCare facility Friday morning. Kelly said that the safety has a shoulder contusion and should be ready to practice Tuesday when the team returns to action.

Kelly said that everyone else, including Michael Vick, is fine.

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