After watching the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Washington Redskins on Monday, the sports world was shocked. The majority of people expected the Redskins to win thinking they had a more well-rounded team. Their major concern was the health of their starting quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Eagles had more holes to fill in the offseason, and were doing it with new head coach Chip Kelly.
This was Kelly’s first head coach position in the NFL. He ran a fast-paced offense at Oregon and was very successful there, totaling 46 wins and seven losses in four years. He took the same approach to Philadelphia and attempted to play at the same speed. It worked out better than expected.
The Eagles came out firing in the first quarter, completely wearing and tearing down the Redskins’ defense. They were running a play about every 23 seconds and snapped the ball 30 times in the first quarter. It was a great display of athleticism, endurance, and mental toughness by the Eagles. Although it was difficult for them to keep the pace up in the second half, they ultimately defeated the Redskins 33-27.
The Carolina Panthers have similar threats on offense that can easily mimic Kelly’s offense and potentially gain that offensive spark they have been looking for. First off, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has the same abilities of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. They both can be very precise with the football but most importantly, can hurt any defense with their speed on the ground.
The Panthers need to utilize Newton’s speed on the ground and run more option plays to keep the defense guessing.
The other run option for the Panthers is veteran running back DeAngelo Williams. He is a quick and agile runner who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulders and punch it through the middle. He is most dangerous when he bounces outside the tackles and gets into open space.
The running back for the Eagles, LeSean McCoy, is just as dangerous. McCoy, when healthy, has been a huge threat to defenses. He is very elusive and difficult to tackle. McCoy had 31 rushing attempts for 184 yards and one touchdown, and Vick had nine attempts for 54 yards and one touchdown.
For the Panthers, Williams only had 16 rushing attempts and Newton only had five carries. The Panthers need to trust the run game more and switch it up. They also have an amazing fullback in Mike Tolbert who doesn’t get the nickname “Bowling Ball” for no reason.
Next are the receivers for the Eagles. They have a great wide receiver/tight end combo in DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek. The Panthers, in comparison, have the duo of Steve Smith and Greg Olson. Both tight ends are sure-handed veterans who have a knack for getting the ball in tough situations. Both wide receivers are very fast and draw much attention from the defense.
Since the Eagles have a fast-paced offense, they need to spread the ball around to keep everyone involved and not wear each other out. Obviously, the quick play and even spread of the ball on offense worked for the Eagles. They came out firing and wore the Redskins’ defense down.
The Panthers need the same approach. They have all the weapons on offense, but they don’t have the spark to make plays and stay on the field. Head coach Ron Rivera should seriously consider a similar approach this upcoming week against the Buffalo Bills. If they can spread the ball on offense, run a quick no-huddle, and utilize the option run game, the Bills’ defense will struggle to keep up and pinpoint the point of attack.
This will allow the Panthers’ offense to stay on the field longer, get into scoring position and then the defense will take care of the rest. If Carolina can’t produce on offense, the same result in Week 1 will repeat. This upcoming game against the Bills should be a great match to test this face-paced offense and see if it works for them the way it worked for Philadelphia.