ESPN Monday Night Football will be in Landover to showcase the return of Robert Griffin III as the Washington Redskins face their NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins quarterback has been the focus of countless hours of coverage ever since Dr. James Andrews performed surgery to repair his ACL and LCL back in January.
Now it is showtime, and if there is one thing we know from past experience, it is that Griffin seldom disappoints when the lights are on. We also know that this game will mark the debut the Eagles’ new head coach Chip Kelly, formally the head coach at the University of Oregon.
Pardon me if I am not yet impressed by Kelly, who has no experience in the NFL and is getting his feet wet as a head coach on the highest level of the sport. I was very impressed with his college resume at Oregon, where he won three Pac-10 Championships and national coach of the year honors.
Coaching in the NFL is like learning to play in the league — it takes time. Kelly and his team will not be ready for the speed and the many issues that the game at this level will throw at them.
Far more accomplished coaches like Nick Saban, who coached the Miami Dolphins, and Steve Spurrier, who was the head coach of the Washington Redskins, did not fare well in the NFL — and both of them had a more impressive resume than Kelly.
Also, both had experience in the pros. Saban was a defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns, and Spurrier was the head coach of the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits.
You can bet that Washington will be ready for Kelly and the Eagles.
Washington’s head coach is well aware that this is the return to the lineup for RGIII, but he also knows that his running game led by Alfred Morris was among the best in all of football in 2012, and they gashed the Eagles defense twice last season in sweeping their two games against Philadelphia.
Much has been made of the wide-open offense that Kelly has brought to the Eagles, and how well Michael Vick looked running it in preseason. This is the same Vick that was on his way out of town prior to Kelly getting to Philly. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has watched almost three years worth of coache’s tape on Kelly’s uptempo, no-huddle offense, and he is ready for anything he has to throw at his defense.
Haslett said during the Redskins’ weekly press briefing that his players are going to be ready for the base defense to stay on the field “all day, against everything” and that he’s not worried about being able to substitute against the Eagles’ no-huddle offense.
On Monday night, it will be Shanahan and his ball control offense beating the Eagles uptempo offense as we once again witness why most college coaches stay college coaches. I know that both Saban and the “old ball coach” at Alabama and South Carolina will enjoy watching Kelly fail.