By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles season opener did not go as head coach Chip Kelly planned. In the first game of his second NFL season as head coach, Kelly’s defending NFC East Champion Eagles quickly fell behind the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-0, but to their credit, Kelly made adjustments and his team kept battling. Eventually, the tides turned, and the Birds scored outscored the Jags 34-0 in the second half, en route to an interesting 34-17 win.
Kelly, who joins Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show every Monday at 8:00am E.T. (cbsphilly.com/chip), believes his high tempo offense played a part in wearing down the Jacksonville defense throughout the game.
“Yeah, we did,” Kelly said when asked Monday by Cataldi if he senses Jacksonville’s defense was getting tired as the game went on. “Obviously you open up, it was hot—it wasn’t unbearable hot, but it was hot. But I think, you know, part of what we do offensively has an accumulative effect on you—kind of like a boxer with body blows where eventually you get worn down a little bit and we saw that a little bit. The [Jaguars] pass rush wasn’t the same in the second half as it was in the first half, and we had a chance to kind of even things out a little bit, but I think part of that is a conditioning factor.”
When the Eagles went into the locker room facing a 17-point halftime deficit, they heard the boo birds from the fans. Kelly, now 11-6 in 17 regular season NFL games as a head coach hasn’t experience much negativity, but says on Sunday it was certainly warranted.
“I don’t think they [the fans] were negative, I think they were expressing their feelings,” Kelly said on Monday morning on the 94WIP Morning Show. “I mean, we threw a goose egg up on the board in the first half. You should boo.”
A once rock solid highly thought of Eagles offensive line is suddenly depleted following Sunday’s week one victory. Eagles All-Pro guard Evan Mathis (knee) and right tackle Allen Barbre (ankle) both left the game with injuries, leaving the Eagles with only five healthy offensive lineman.
While there is no official word on the injuries, Kelly said he does not expect Mathis’ to be a season-ending blow.
“It’s always a concern when you lose anyone that’s a starter, and especially a guy like Evan that’s put so much time into this,” Kelly said of Mathis. “There’s no more dedicated guy when it comes to preparation and trying to be a true professional. You hope for the best, I don’t know exactly—he went to the doctor’s this morning so we won’t get anything back from him. But you also have to be prepared when anybody goes down. We lost quarterbacks last year, and obviously when Mike [Vick] went down Nick [Foles] came into the game. It’s part of that deal. We lost Mac [Maclin] last year in camp and then Riley Cooper stepped up. It’s just one of those deals, that you don’t know, but from what I understand it’s not a Mac situation where I think Evan is done for the year.
So I think, we just got to be prepared to weather the storm here. We did it in the game. We also lost Allen Barbre—the tough thing in the NFL thing is you only dress seven offensive lineman and we lost two in the first half, so we were down to, we only had five guys.”
Kelly and the Eagles will head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Monday Night Football in week two.
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