After what he deemed to be a fun season-opening victory, head coach Chip Kelly turned his eye toward improvement on Tuesday as he reviewed the Eagles' 33-27 win over the Washington Redskins. Upon reviewing the game film, Kelly remained impressed with his team's effort, though there remain many areas in need of improvement.
After jumping out to a 33-7 lead early in the third quarter, the Eagles offense began to slow down. As the team attempted to chew up some of the clock and maintain their lead, the offense fell out of sync compared to its dynamic performance in the first half. According to Kelly, there is a fine line between holding onto a lead and controlling momentum.
"I think part of what we do in our success is that we get into a rhythm," Kelly said. "It's not as much taking your foot off the gas from the standpoint of the tempo that you play at, but it's just play selection and some of those other things. You're conscious of working the clock a little bit because it starts to get into a possession game. So when it's 33-7, it's four scores. How many possessions are left in the second half and do they have enough time left in on the clock or are you just putting them out there?
"Obviously you don't think you're going to turn the ball over, but you also don't want to go three-and-out and just waste 20 seconds, so it's a fine line. As I get a better feel for our guys and they get a better feel for us, it's something that you're always going to continue to work on because four-minute offense, so to speak, is just as important as two-minute offense."
Kelly also dismissed the notion that NFL teams are more capable of coming back from large second-half deficits than college teams.
"Teams are capable of coming back everywhere, it doesn't matter what league you're playing in," Kelly explained. "It's just 'How do you work the clock?' and we have to practice it a little bit more. We do a lot of things at such a rapid tempo and I think our guys understand tempo and do that pretty good, but we also have to learn how to practice playing it the other way, really from a mindset standpoint. We do everything 90 miles-per-hour and now you've got to go back to driving through the city streets. You can't drive 90 miles an hour anymore. You need to kind of slow it down and make sure you can still negotiate the turns. It's a work in progress. We haven't been together for a ton of time, so it's a matter of just getting a feel as we go through it."
The Eagles' sheer volume of offensive plays in the first half (53 in all) left the NFL abuzz with the speed of the new-look Eagles offense. Still, the head coach believes there is room to tune up the offensive engine and race down the field even quicker than they did on Monday night.
"I felt like it was slow to be honest with you," Kelly said, drawing some laughter from reporters. "I'm not joking. We have to do a better job. We left the ball on the ground too much. We didn't get the ball to the officials. We could have sped things up from a process in between plays, and that's something we need to continue to work on."
It was only one game, but Kelly's first game certainly made a statement that the Eagles are not a team that can be taken lightly. Kelly was happy with the way the Eagles performed on Monday night, bet he knows that there is still room to grow.
"Overall as a group, and I said it last night, their effort was outstanding for there's a ton of work for us to continue to do in every facet," Kelly explained. "I think the one thing that we'll harp upon and that we'll always continue to do is that if you play hard, you've got a shot at winning each week, and that's what I thought they did."
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