Semi-Coherent Eagles vs. Chargers Preview: Chip Kelly’s Encore


Sep 9, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines during the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

All hail Chip Kelly!

After all the speculation about how Kelly’s offense would fare in the NFL, we finally got to see it in action on Monday night and holy crap, was it amazing!  There were wacky formations, there were plays being run every five seconds or so, and most importantly, there was a sense of urgency that we haven’t seen around these parts in quite a while.

I have a feeling that if Kelly had been coaching the Eagles in Super Bowl 39, that final scoring drive wouldn’t have taken quite so long.  On the other hand, if he had been forced to play at that pace, Donovan McNabb almost certainly would have thrown up.

The Redskins didn’t know quite what to do with themselves, and it’s telling that players around the NFL are saying things like, “They can’t do that for an entire year.”

While that sounds a bit like wishful thinking, they may have a point.  Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy won’t be upright after many more games like that.  Unlike his predecessor, Kelly seems to realize that you can use the running game to actually build a lead in a football game  The problem is that after using the back to build that lead, he might be too worn down to effectively preserve it late in the game.

Here’s hoping that Kelly realizes this and that backup backs Bryce Brown and Chris Polk get some additional carries going forward.

Raining on the Parade

Pundits across the nation are REALLY high on Kelly right now.  Analysts seems to be competing to see who can praise him the most.  And in my experience, whenever something in the NFL gets hyped that much, it usually means that we’re due for a huge letdown.  This phenomenon is often exaggerated after week one due to the limited amount of evidence people have to base their opinion on.

In other words, there’s a good chance that next week’s media will have more than a few “Maybe Chip Kelly isn’t revolutionizing the NFL after all” stories.

Elsewhere in the NFL

Sep 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) calls a play against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

If it weren’t for Kelly, the big story of the week would be Colin Kaepernick: Pocket Passer.

Kaepernick took the world by storm last season when he unexpectedly led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.  In the offseason, many pundits were skeptical if Kaepernick could repeat that success this season once teams began to game plan for him and the 49ers’ read option offense.

The Packers geared their defense specifically to prevent Kaepernick and the 49ers’ running game from beating them.  In response, Kaepernick carved them apart with his arm.

Many people are declaring this a sign that Kaepernick has evolved into a complete quarterback capable of beating teams with his arm as well as his legs.  I’m not quite ready to jump aboard that bandwagon.  Every QB in the league is capable of having a big passing week like that.  Let’s see him do it again before we crown him as the next great pocket passer.

What’s the Deal with the Chargers

Everyone is so excited about the Eagles, that their opponents for this week have been a bit overlooked.  So let’s take a look at the San Diego Chargers, shall we?

Like the Eagles, the Chargers made their 2013 on Monday Night Football, the only exception being that the Chargers played in the late game which most fans on the East Coast happily ignored.  In that game, the Chargers blew a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter and fell to the Houston Texans by a score of 31-28.

I guess we shouldn’t expect that much out of the Chargers’ defense when their most famous player hasn’t even played a game for them, and due to an ankle injury might not do so for a while.  In case you had lost track of him, the Chargers drafted Manti Te’o in the 2nd round of April’s NFL Draft.

The Chargers are quarterbacked by noted douchebag Philip Rivers who had a strong game on Monday with four touchdown passes.  Or at least, it was a strong game until the 4th quarter.  In the 4th, Rivers was 1-7 with an interception returned for a touchdown.  Not exactly a clutch performance there.

A Page From Chargers History: Norv Turner

After last season, the Chargers finally fired head coach Norv Turner.  Turner lasted six seasons as the Chargers coach which is amazing considering all of the evidence that indicates that he is not a good head coach.

He had previously served as head coach of the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, and was thoroughly unimpressive at both stops.  And yet, in 2007, multiple teams actually wanted to hire him again.  I guess they thought the third time would be the charm?

The Chargers were the team to finally “win” him as their coach.  Yes, the team had a deceivingly strong 59-43 record under him.  But look at some of the talent on hand: LaDanian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Michael Turner, Antonio Gates, and Vincent Jackson.  That should have been one of the greatest offenses ever!

I have a theory behind Turner’s ineffectiveness as a coach.  At some point, every player who has ever played for him suddenly realized, “Wait, the coach’s name is Norval?  Norval?  I ain’t listening to this guy anymore.”

In America, we want our coaches to have names like Bill, or Vince, or Knute, not Norval.  (I’m not sure where the name Chip ranks)

Anyway, Turner has been hired as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before some franchise (Don’t rule out the Browns here.  They’re always a safe bet to make a bad coaching hire) gives him another shot at a head coaching job.

Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner reacts against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

 Key Eagles Storyline

You mean aside from “What is Chip Kelly going to show us next?”

There’s the possibility that the Eagles are looking past this game a bit.  They’re coming off a big divisional win on Monday night, and they have a showdown with their former coach on Thursday.  You’d think that they wouldn’t be looking past their home opener, but it is possible.

The Week in Andy

After thirteen years as the Eagles’ head coach, many Eagles fans miss having Andy Reid around.  Therefore, I take a weekly look at what “Big Red” is up to these days.

The scene: Reid is sitting in his office reviewing game tape with offensive coordinator Doug Pederson when Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt enters the office.

Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Kansas City Chiefs won 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hunt: Great win today, Andy!

Reid: Yep.

Hunt: I tell you, the fans couldn’t be happier about things.

Reid: Great.

Hunt: And you certainly lived up to your reputation.  I mean, the way you never reacted once to the game was just amazing.  Our fans have been through a lot the past few years, and when they see the head coach remain so calm and collected, it just fills them with confidence.

Reid: Okay.

Hunt: And your press conference!  The way you stayed so stoic was perfection.  Our fans don’t want answers to those annoying reporters’ questions.  They want to know that our head coach has it all figured out, and that’s the important thing.  But that’s why we hired you, right?

Reid: Sure.

Hunt: Great!  Well, I’m going to leave you alone here, because I’m sure you’re busy.  I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work!  And hey, we’re ordering some BBQ upstairs.  You want anything?

Reid: I could go for some ribs.

Hunt: Sure thing.  I’ll have them brought down.  After all, you earned it!  (Leaves the office)

Pederson: So who was that guy?

Reid: I have no idea.  But hey, I’m not gonna pass up ribs, am I?

Final Take

Kelly certainly had a strong coaching debut.  Then again, so did Steve Spurrier.  He needs to show that he can do it every week.  This is a very winnable game for the Eagles, and they need to go out and avoid a letdown.