Chip Kelly and Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach Dave Fipp had a specific strategy in mind when it came to kicking to explosive return man Cordarrelle Patterson. Don’t kick to him. They repeatedly had kicker Alex Henery squib it and kick it short intentionally just to keep it away from the dangerous Patterson.
Boy did this ever backfire. The Minnesota Vikings benefited from this disaster of a strategy by consistently getting the ball at the 35 and 40-yard line. If you get the ball near midfield on almost every possession I don’t care how bad your offense is — you are eventually going to capitalize on that.
Kelly and Fipp both should have shown more confidence in their kicker. The game was being played in a dome with no wind or weather conditions affecting the kicking game. If Henery can’t get touchbacks consistently in that environment then he doesn’t belong as the starting kicker.
Hopefully, this is another learning experience for Kelly in his first season as head coach. It has certainly been more good than bad for Kelly in his debut season as head coach. He has a team that previously won four games fighting for playoff contention.
His offense is working even with a pocket passer, and his players all love him. Some of his in-game tactics though have left something to be desired — from challenges to going for it on his own side of the field to strategies like this that have really backfired.
Regardless, Kelly, much like players when they make a mistake, will learn from it get better from having dealt with it, and ultimately correct the mistake. Kelly’s ability adjust has been his biggest strong suit as a coach. With Devin Hester looming next Sunday we will see more of his adjustment skills in action again next week.