By Kevin McGuire
Americans love fast. We like fast cars, eat too much fast food, send instant thoughts through social media and start our mornings with instant coffee. On Monday night the Philadelphia Eagles officially showed off a new up-tempo offense to the NFL too much praise, but Chip Kelly thinks they can go faster. After slowing down in the second half against Washington, Kelly will hope to see the Eagles build up the endurance to keep the foot on the gas pedal against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
“I think part of what we do in our successes is we get into a rhythm,” Kelly said Tuesday, according to PhiladelphiaEagles.com. “It’s not as much taking your foot off the gas from the standpoint of the tempo that you play, but it’s just maybe play selection, some of those other things.”
Those other things include the coaches having the team prepared to run the right plays at any given second. Kelly likes things to move quickly because that plays in to the advantage of his system. Kelly was not hired to try to win games the way NFL teams have been doing for years and decades. Kelly was hired to try something new. It is off to a good start, but everything is a learning process for Kelly as a first-time head coach in the NFL and his players, picking up a new offensive philosophy and mindset in a relatively short period of time.
“As I get a better feel for our guys, they get a better feel for us, it’s something that you’re always going to continue to work on,” Kelly said to the media Tuesday. “Four‑minute offense, so to speak, is just as important as the two‑minute offense.”
As the Eagles prepare to take on the San Diego Chargers in the home opener in Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Kelly knows his team must slow things down in practice to be properly prepared for the opposition that does not run a quick offensive style. While building stamina and endurance for defensive players against the Eagles offense in practice is a good thing in the long haul, it is also important for the defense to be adjusted to real game situations with a slower offensive style.
“We also have to learn how to practice playing it the other way really from a mindset standpoint, where we do everything 90 miles an hour, now you’ve got to go back to driving through the city streets,” Kelly said Tuesday. “You need to kind of settle down and make sure you can still negotiate the turns.”
The Eagles defense was on the field much longer in the second half than they were in the first half against Washington. The Redskins managed to slow down the Eagles offense a bit after halftime but the Eagles managed to hang on for the win. Against the Chargers Kelly seems focused on continuing to push on offense and give his defense a little more of an advantage after halftime.
Kelly also suggested that teams preparing to play the Eagles will be at a disadvantage if they attempt to add a few speed drills to their practice routine in the week or two leading up to a game. The Eagles have been conditioning for this style since Kelly opened mini camps. In the first game of the season though even some of the Eagles offensive players needed a breather at times. How will this play out over 16 games? Opponents only have to deal with this offense once or twice a year, but the Eagles could eventually tire themselves out down the stretch if they are not careful.
But Kelly is a smart coach who takes sports science seriously. He probably already has a plan. Like plays in his playbook, he just has not shown it yet.
For more Eagles news and updates, visit Eagles Central.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.