Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘More Than Just Two Weapons’
The question posed to Chip Kelly was about the Eagles’ starting wide receivers.
The answer revealed a little something about the head coach’s philosophy and the reasons behind some of the team’s offseason moves.
“The good thing about this group is we’re built in a manner that I think we have more than just two weapons,” Kelly said. “So if for some reason they’re going to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go try to play press man and play those guys out there.’ Then we have to be able to beat you other places. That is one of the reasons it happened to us last year. I think bringing Jordan [Matthews] in, and getting [Zach] Ertz a little more playing time and getting another running back in there is: Who is going to match up with your inside guys? We got into that situation last year, and our outside guys got shut down. So now you have to get to your slots and tight ends.”
The term shut down certainly got my attention. The Eagles set franchise records in yards and points a year ago. By any statistical measure, Year 1 of Kelly’s offense in the NFL was a success.
But we know by now that the team is being built to Kelly’s vision. And clearly, he felt the Eagles needed more firepower in between the numbers.
Labeling the offense with any certainty after two games is difficult. The Eagles combined to score just six points in the two first halves combined. But they went off for 58 points in the third and fourth quarters. Only one other team (the Saints) has scored that many points total. And no team has put up more points than the Eagles (64) overall.
But as Tim has pointed out, the production is not coming from the wide receivers, who have caught just 13 of the 33 balls thrown their way.
A fair question going forward is: Does that matter? At some point, the wide receivers will have to step up. But for now, Kelly doesn’t care where the production is coming from – as long as there is overall production.
Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles have carried the passing game so far, combining to catch 18 of 23 targets for 329 yards through two games. They have combined for eight grabs of 20+ yards.
It seemed clear on Monday night that the Eagles’ best opportunities to beat man coverage was with their running backs and tight ends. Kelly seems confident that the catch distribution will vary depending on the week and the opponent.
We’ll find out the degree to which that holds up in the weeks ahead.
WHAT YOU MISSED
“We’re fortunate to be 2-0,” says Kelly. T-Mac has more highlights from the head coach’s press conference.
Has Kelly created a “quarterback-proof” offense? What they’re saying about the Eagles.
A photo gallery from Monday night’s win.
Nick Foles and the wide receivers are not yet in sync, writes McManus.
Eagles-Colts, the day after: Sproles goes off, five thoughts, No-22, game balls, the number that matters, snap count analysis and more.
McManus on how the defense turned the tide Monday night.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his thoughts on the Birds’ win:
First, let’s be honest about the Eagles and Nick Foles. Both are erratic right now. The team is 2-0, but has hardly looked like anything special. They fell behind 17-0 last week and 20-6 this week. Coming from behind is impressive, but you want to quit falling behind teams. Really good teams have the ability to win games coming from behind and also win on those days when they don’t have their A-game. However, they do both things rarely because really good teams usually play really good football on a consistent basis.
Jeff McLane of the Inquirer revisited DeSean Jackson’s release with several players:
“I was indifferent about it even though we were losing a great player,” Ryans said. “At the end of the day, it was done. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m upset,’ or ‘Oh, I’m happy.’ We lost a good player, but the train keeps rolling.
“I don’t think one player really makes or breaks a team. It just goes to show that it’s all about the team collectively. If you play well collectively everything will be fine.”
We’re back at NovaCare. Short week before the Redskins come to town Sunday. We’ll have it all covered.