Time To Chip In: Kelly Needs To Bring His Team Back To Reality
The Philadelphia Eagles were far and between the dumbest team in the NFL last year. Unfortunately, they're not looking too much brighter in 2013.
Sure, they're the leagues top rushing team (627 yards) and have averaged 26.3 points through three weeks (avg 17.5 in 2012), but the Philadelphia Eagles have been struggling mightily to nab a second victory since leaving FedEx field week one.
After losing their home opener on a nail-biter, Kelly's team was stunned on Thursday Night Football when Andy Reid and the Chiefs came to town.
How Did Reid's Chiefs Outplay Kelly's Eagles?
Chip Kelly had his offense put up some pretty collossal numbers the first couple weeks, but his team took a huge step back in effiency week three.
Michael Vick, who was coming off a career high 428 yard performance, was held to just 200 yards against the Chiefs. Unfortunately for No.7, the hardship didn't end there. The talented Kansas City secondary was able to force the Eagles offense to turnover the ball a whopping five times, three of them belonging to Vick.
LeSean McCoy on the other hand had another stellar game racking up 158 yards and a touchdown. Nevertheless, it proved to be all for nought as Kelly's offense could only produce a measly 16 points after back-to-back 30+ point performances.
In terms of Scoreability, the Eagles have stumbled all the way down to 17.52 Yards Per Point Scored, good for 21st in the league.
The way the Eagles defense played Thursday night, they're lucky they didn't give up 40+ points.
Alex Smith continued his display of smart football by completing 62 percent of his passes and once again not throwing any interceptions (only one of three QB's to do so). He passed the ball around to seven different receivers, and kept the Eagles defense off-balance the entire game.
Jamaal Charles had his best game of the year, rushing for just under 100 yards and scoring the teams only touchdown. Kicker Ryan Succop was arguably the teams MVP as he drilled four out of five field goals en route to a 26-16 victory.
When we look at the teams Bendability, or how many yards per point they allowed, we see the Eagles defense once again struggled. Three weeks in, the Eagles defense is allowing 15.29 Yards Per Point, 20th in the league.
How Does Kelly Fix His Mistake-Prone Team?
Kelly has his work cut out for him, especially considering his team is facing the Broncos, Cowboys and Packers in the coming weeks.
Improvement must start with the offensive line, which allowed Vick to get sacked five times. Kelly and OL Coordinator Greg Austin must help Vetreran Center Jason Kelce work on his ball handling skills, who fumbled twice in Thursdays loss.
It doesn't stop there, every Eagles lineman swapped holding penalties all night, but the best call of the game came late in the fourth-quarter. The actual call on the field: "False start, everyone but the center." If Kelly and Austin can't get through to his line, the season may already be lost.
Second, Kelly must instill the notion in LeSean McCoy to not let off the gas despite being nearly 100 yards ahead of next closest rusher. Obviously, the NFL isn't a race, it's a marathon. McCoy will need to prove he can be just as productive for the next 13 weeks, beginning this Sunday. He has yet to have a game not worth talking about, so expect McCoy to have another big week, whether it's on the ground or through the air.
Next, it falls on the shoulders of quarterback Michael Vick, who reverted back to old tendancies by throwing two interceptions and coughing up the ball multiple times. He averaged a passer rating of well over 100 through the first two weeks, but fell victim to a 49.4 rating on Thursday. If he hopes to find victories in a tough schedule, Kelly must help his aging quarterback keep improving.
If Vick can't succeed in the new look offense, the Eagles won't win, it's that simple.
Usually a kicker wouldn't make the list, but Alex Henery has certainly struggled this year. He has been automatic from 30 yards forward (as should every kicker), but hasn't even been close outside of the 40-yard mark. The Eagles can't rely on just touchdowns all the time. If they want to put up competitive numbers, they can't leave points on the field, i.e. missed field goals.
Lastly, the defense needs more helped than can be summed up in one article. They've given up an average of 438 Yard Per Game, and have been penalized 23 times (5th in the NFL). The worst stat for the defense? How often they're on the field. The Eagles currently rank first being on the field for an average of 35 minutes and 35 seconds per game (conversely Ealges offense on field for least amount of time out of all NFL teams).
Can Chip Kelly Bring His Team Back To Reality?
They have a lot of confidence, that's for sure. With all the flashy numbers his
Eagles have put up, it's hard to believe they've struggled so hard in key categories. If he wants to win football games, it'll take a whole lot more than just big plays and scoring.
The defense must fix their mistakes and figure out how to get off the field to allow the offense to keep up with the likes of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
In the end, it will be interesting to see if Kelly can bring out the best in his weak defensive unit to compete in an even weaker NFC East.
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