Eagles players are still slowing down the Chip Kelly offense


As Eagles coach Chip Kelly tries to maximize the performance of his no-huddle, hurry-up offense, he needs maximum cooperation from his players.

So far, he’s not getting it.

Before Sunday’s unexpected loss to the Chargers, Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reported that Kelly has instructed his players not to leave the ball on the ground after a play but to hand it to an official.  During Sunday’s game, Kelly’s players consistently left the ball on the ground.

The biggest culprit was running back LeSean McCoy.  Based on a review of the full game broadcast, McCoy left the ball on the ground at least 10 times.

At one point in the second quarter, McCoy flipped the ball to the officials after a play.  Soon after that, he left it on the ground, stopped, retrieved it, and gave it to the officials.

If the change was the result of being reminded about it on the sidelines after consistently failing to give the ball to the officials during the first quarter, it didn’t stick.  He quickly resorted to leaving the ball on the ground after a play.

Others who left the ball on the ground at least once include running back Bryce Brown, receiver DeSean Jackson, quarterback Mike Vick, and receiver Jason Avant.

While it doesn’t create a major delay, every second counts in Kelly’s go-go offense.  And for Kelly, who wants the system to run a certain way, it has to be maddening that the guys aren’t doing what they expressly have been told to do.

It’s unclear when they were first told to do it this way.  Either Kelly has been harping on it throughout the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason and they continue to ignore him, or he has just realized only recently that time was being wasted by leaving the ball on the ground instead of getting it in an official’s hands.

Regardless, the Eagles could be getting even more plays called if the players start doing what Kelly wants them to do.

It’s unclear how many more snaps they would have had on Sunday against the Chargers.  As it stands, Philly had only 58.  San Diego had 79 plays from scrimmage, despite often draining the play clock in a no-huddle approach while quarterback Philip Rivers made changes based on the pre-snap look.

The Chargers ended up having the ball more than 40 minutes, too.  Kelly has said that he’s not concerned about a 40-20 split, as long as the Eagles get their snaps in.  On Sunday, it was less like the UCLA game Kelly mentioned in August and more like the far bigger NFL game in which the Buffalo K-gun offense was stymied both in time of possession and snaps by a grind-it-out Giants team.

While the Chargers did much more throwing than grinding on Sunday in Philly, they came up with an approach that others surely will copy in the coming weeks.

Starting on Thursday night, when the Chiefs and Andy Reid come to town.

17 responses to “Eagles players are still slowing down the Chip Kelly offense

  1. So his offense is not working properly because grown men are not handing the ball to the nearest official after getting tackled. Sounds like a winning offense to me.

  2. I think Kelly’s system will be very successful, but it will take some time for the players to execute the details without having to think about them. When McCoy goes back and picks up the ball to hand to the ref, he is clearly thinking about it.

    But the end of the game they should have gone into 4 minute offense mode to eat the clock. Kelly needs to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off.

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Kelly needs to worry about that atrocious defensive secondary before he tries to eek even more efficiency out of an offense that’s largely humming along nicely.

    If that offense spends any less time on the field, you’re going to start seeing defenders keeling over on the field by halftime.

  4. Even a dominant defense will struggle if they’re out on the field that long. The Eagles might want to slow it down occasionally, especially after long drives by their opponents, just to give the defense enough of a rest before having to run back out there. Aside from the necessary conditioning your defense would need if you have an offense like Kelly’s, just the sheer number of snaps you play on defense will lead to more points being scored – more opportunities for you to make mistakes your opponent capitalizes on, and more opportunities for the offense to just go out there and make plays. Remember, this is the NFL – even the bad teams are still capable of scoring points given enough opportunities. I just don’t think this system can be sustainable in the NFL. It worked so well in college because Oregon usually had much more talent than their opponents. Too much parity in the NFL for that to be a factor.

  5. For him to succeed he should have a veteran leader or two who is all in and willing to lay it out for the slackers.

    Good luck finding them on that team.

  6. This worked in college because he would have the lead and the other team would have to play catch up. It also helped the teams he was facing didn’t all have the bigger, stronger, faster, quality players that could play in the NFL. There is more parity in this league and defenses will quickly catch up. He’s thinking that every single second he will execute a play. But he doesn’t seem to get that sometimes you want to slow down the clock and that playing that fast and getting 3-and-outs will tire out his own defense.

  7. The problem isn’t 3 and outs, this offense is very very good. The defense just isn’t very good. They need at least two good drafts of defensvie players – players that can play right away. The problem is the personnel on offense – especially the quarterback but also the left tackle and in all probability DeSean Jackson due to his size, just don’t have that kind of time to wait for the defense to catch up.

  8. He should know is QB is very prone to injuries for getting outside the pocket. If Vick continues to get out of that pocket to run this offense on the fast mode, he will find that Always-Hurt ribs of his somewhere on the sidelines again.

  9. Chip, you better worry about the 40-20 split because your D is on the field for 40 minutes. It does your offense no good to run out and score 30 points in 20 minutes if the other team scores 40 points in 40 minutes.

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