On your marks. Get set… Go!
Monday night’s Week 1 match-up featured the new look Philadelphia Eagles with Chip Kelly and his 18-seconds or less offensive philosophy as well as Robert Griffin III in his first game back after a right knee injury ended his 2012 postseason run early. To say that this game wasn’t dripping with storylines before kickoff would be a bold faced lie. Now me, I’ve been looking forward to seeing exactly how Chip’s offense would operate in the NFL.
I mean, it was his offense at the University of Oregon that made me a fan of the Ducks up in Eugene. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of option football in general, but the pace in which the Oregon offense ran plays was breathtaking in the sense that defenders and fans alike would be left breathless due to Chip’s rapid fire offensive attack.
Now that the game has been played and the entirety of the league has had a taste of the breakneck speed at which the Eagle offense will attempt to operate under over the course of the season, and there’s one thing that needs to be said in that regard: “Oh my gosh!”
After the Eagles’ first two offensive drives (one ending with DeAngelo Hall scooping up a “backward” pass for a 75-yard fumble return for a touchdown), the Washington Redskins defenders must have felt like I did last college football season when I decided to try to match the Oregon Duck push-up for push-up – namely, out of practice and winded long before the game concluded. Honestly, having watched a lot of Oregon football over the last few seasons, I must say the Eagles’ spread offense wasn’t all that revolutionary. Nevertheless, Michael Vick ran the read option offense where on any given play there are three to four options for which an offensive skill player, be it LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson,takes the ball and gains positive yards. For defenders that extra half second of thinking on the field is where the read option (no matter if it’s the Spread or Pistol) gives a huge advantage for the offense.
With the Eagles having ran 53 offensive plays in the first half, this game looked all but done going into the half. The second half of the game is where the Eagles need to show improvement as not only an offensive juggernaut but as a cohesive football team. For all the breathlessness that occurred to Washington in the first half, the same can be said about the Eagle defense in the second. This is due to their offense only running 23 total plays in the latter half of the contest.
As much as Chip Kelly wants his team to play at a pace that would leave distance runners winded, he needs to first bring his current team up to speed on how to play two halves of football at the same pace similar to his former Ducks. It’s a long season so time and games will tell if 18-seconds or less is doable throughout a whole season.