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Keys to Facing the Eagles Offense
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One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2013 season was whether Chip Kelly’ s high-octane offense would translate to the NFL.
After one week, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.
Michael Vick and the offense ran 53 plays in the first half, the second most in nearly 20 years, and finished with 77, which was tied for fourth most in Week 1. They rushed for 263 yards, which was the most in the league and an impressive 92 yards more than the next closest team. The Eagles racked up 443 total yards on their way to posting 33 points.
The wide open attack ran at a near record rapid pace may look complicated. But in watching all the reads and formations the team deploys, Defensive Coordinator John Pagano stated Thursday that at its core, it is constructed of basic football plays. It’s just that the Eagles do a great job of masking the call at the line of scrimmage.
“You see the whole idea through the process is running the same play out of different looks,” he said. “They do such a good job of changing up formations and personnel groups. The guys align differently, but when the ball is snapped you’re like ‘Oh, it looks like that play.’ That’s where the tempo and speed of the game comes up. That’s what they do such a great job of. You saw how good it looked on Monday night.”
As a result, defending the Eagles comes down to two key tasks according to Pagano.
“You’ve got to get aligned,” he stressed. “If you look at this game putting it at 100%, 50% is getting aligned and the other 50% is going out and making the tackle. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s got to be…It’s understanding the call, getting the call, getting lined up and getting ready to play. It’s going to take all 11.”
It will certainly take all 11 guys to stop Michael Vick, who turned in a vintage performance by throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. He gained 203 yards in the air and added an additional 54 on nine runs.
“He looks like he’s 23-yars-old running around and making plays,” Pagano said of the 33-year old quarterback. “He’s really shown the ability to jump into this system and take it by the reigns. That first game makes you go out there and work harder. He still throws the unbelievable passes. You have to defend downfield and then you have to make sure those rush lanes are covered. He created three third down runs last week where no one was open, but he went out there and got the first down. That’s the challenge; not only covering downfield, but keeping him contained and in the pocket, so we don’t give him those free lanes to run.”