Five Big-Picture Takeaways From Eagles Preseason Game Two

5 of 6


Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles had one ‘three-and-out’ during the first half. It happened to come on a sequence of plays that started with a seven-yard gain on first down by Raheem Mostert. If there has been one Achilles heel to Chip Kelly’s offense in his two years as an NFL coach, it has been drives that don’t result in a single first down. Given the strain these types of possessions put on the Eagles defense, to go three plays and out from the start of any drive can have a more devastating effect to Kelly’s teams more than most. Whether as a result of penalties or loss-yardage, negative plays are the Kryptonite to Kelly’s scheme.

No one should doubt that LeSean McCoy was as big a home-run threat as any single player Kelly has coached at any level in his career. Yet for every scintillating scamper in McCoy’s arsenal, there was the potential for a drive-killing loss of yards that Kelly obviously did not have the patience for. Though the potential merits of his decision to move on from McCoy and opt for a pair of effective, albeit injury-prone, down-hill runners cannot be realized until the latter stages of the regular season, it’s tough to ignore Kelly’s thought process.

Both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews demonstrated an ability to churn out yardage and keep the Eagles in manageable down-and-distance situations. Especially with an impressive crop of playmakers on the outside and at the tight end position, the Eagles benefit more from finding themselves in third-and-manageable instances rather than holding out hope for the big play. Both running backs displayed their ability to finish off drives Saturday. It would come as no surprise if Kelly was happier with each of his running backs showing the ability to play ahead of the chains and allow him to deploy his full arsenal rather than allowing the opposition to key in on a certain element of the offense.