The anticipation of seeing Eagles football under new innovations of Chip Kelly finally ended Monday night as the Eagles debuted against the Redskins. The entire Eagles fanbase waited to see what Kelly’s offense would really look like and it did not dissapoint, The whole team played with tremendous energy and it seemed like they had an edge that wasn’t there for the past few seasons. This could be seen especially in the defense as they forced three turnovers on the Redskins. During the pre-season the defense was notably weak and most agreed that it would need major improvement for the season and through the first half of Monday night’s game they stepped up to that challenge. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis had some comments on how his defense played, “The guys should be proud and they are.”
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks led the team with six solo tackles and had 10 tackles overall while linebacker Demeco Ryans had a sack and eight solo tackles. Defensive end Cedric Thorton came up with a big tipped pass on a Redskins drive in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Cary Williams had a sack, an interception, and big break up of a pass on fourth down a couple plays after Thorton’s tip and cornerback Brandon Boykin had the first interception. Although the Defense did seem to weaken later in the 3rd quarter, they managed to pull together long enough to hold the Eagles 33-27 lead and get the win over the Redskins.
Trent Cole was particularly impressive in his new position at outside linebacker. Cole recorded a forced fumble on Washington’s first play from scrimmage, had a tackle for loss, four total tackles, and was credited with a safety. Cole also played well when he had to drop back into coverage.Trent Cole seems revitalized and filled with energy in his new role with the defense. Cole said this about playing a new position for the first time:
“I’m not going to fail, I am going to whatever I can and do my best at it. I feel like I can play the postion.”
On the negative side of the victory was news that cornerback Bradley Fletcher sustained a concussion.
The Chip Kelly uptempo offense that many were skeptical of has finally been seen in a reuglar season game by the NFL. The whole offense seemed to click from blocking, good decisions, and scoring plays. The offense racked up a total of 443 yards and ran an incredible 54 plays in the first half. The offense also ran an amazing rate of one offensive play every 24 seconds. Michael Vick threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a big role in the win with 7 catches for 104 yards for a touchdown. The league was buzzing with Eagles hype and we got to see a confident looking team that seems to enjoy playing under Chip Kelly. One player that seemed to benefit most from the new styled offense was running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy, after the first half, led the entire NFL in rushing with 115 yards. The running back finished up with 31 carries, 184 yards, and recorded a touchdown. LeSean McCoy was making Redskin defenders miss with jukes, hurdles, and spin moves that were video game like and pulled off with ease. McCoy was showing exactly what kind of threat he and this offense can pose.
Despite his more than sucessful debut as an NFL coach, Chip Kelly felt that there was still a lot of room for improvement, even suggesting that the pace of the Eagles offense could be even faster than it was, saying:
“I felt like it was slow. I’m not joking. We need to do a better job. We left the ball on the ground too much. We didn’t get the ball to the officials. We could have sped things up from a process in between plays. That’s something we need to work on.”
Under Chip Kelly the Eagles seem to be excited to play, and are playing with a renewed spirit and will to win. Add to that Kelly’s always room for improvement attitude and a defense that can hold together in the second half and we could have an Eagles team that’s even faster and more dangerous than what the NFL has seen before.