On Thursday morning, Chip Kelly met with the media one final time before the Eagles depart for Jacksonville. The all-important third preseason game against the Jaguars is just two days away, and Kelly discussed a number of topics before the team's walkthrough.
One of the biggest storylines heading into Saturday night is the return of Jason Peters, who is seeing his first game action since the end of the 2011 season. Peters said on Wednesday that he will be playing three quarters. Kelly adjusted that statement, saying that no one will enter the game with an exact amount of expected playing time.
"I think that's what Jason hopes to play," Kelly told reporters. "With every guy we've talked about how we want to get them two quarters and then we'll evaluate at halftime how many snaps did we get or not get. There is a certain amount of work that Jason needs to get it. He knows that. I love his mentality. If you ask Jason, he wants to play four quarters. That's great, but we'll monitor those guys no matter who it is at every position and see really, 'How many snaps we're getting. Are we getting enough work? Are we not getting enough work?' because you have no idea going in."
Kelly noted that while Michael Vick will see most of the action at quarterback, other players still need work.
"We'd like to get Matt (Barkley) in if we can, but again it depends on how many snaps we're getting," Kelly said. "Obviously Michael is going to go the first two (quarters), and then does he go into the third? If he goes into the third, how many snaps? Nick still needs a ton of work. The one thing about Nick, and give credit to him, you almost forget being around him that he's just a second-year player. He needs as many snaps as he can get too. As you start to get into this game, distributing those will be a little bit different."
Kelly raved about his newly announced starter Vick, saying that he has been a great piece of this team both on and off of the field.
"What I've learned about him is how passionate he is about this game," Kelly said. "He has not missed a day. He's here every single day. You listen to our strength and conditioning guys and I asked them the other day who is, from top to bottom, if he could rank our guys, and he was by far number one in terms of his attitude, work ethic, helping other players, everything in terms of weight room and off the field things. I'm not in the weight room every single day with those guys but I always get input of what's going on in there. Every facet of what you've asked him to do since he's been here, he's been outstanding at."
Kelly also addressed the depth of his team, specifically at the linebacker position. Phillip Hunt suffered a partial tear of his ACL earlier in camp, leaving the team with some question marks. According to Kelly, the upcoming roster cuts limit what the team can do right now in terms of bringing in extra bodies. On Tuesday, the Eagles have to trim the roster to get to the 75-player limit.
As the first-team offense gets its most extensive work of the preseason on Saturday, it will be interesting to see how many plays the Eagles run. Kelly is not concerned with the team's time of possession as much as the number of plays. In the first two preseason games, the Eagles have averaged a time of possession of 29:52, but have executed an average of 77.5 plays. By comparison, the New England Patriots ran an average of 74.4 plays per game last season which led the National Football League.
"It's about plays run," Kelly explained. "I've heard the question about time of possession, but we've talked about it all the time. Time of possession is how much time can the other team waste. Most games we lose the time of possession, but it's 'how many snaps do you face?' and I think in both games that we've played, we played more snaps than the other team.
"We played a game against UCLA a couple of years ago and the time of possession was 40 to 20, they had 20 more minutes of time of possession and it was 73-71 snaps, so they had two more snaps. We won 60-13. So all I gathered was that they stand around a lot more than we do," Kelly said.
"I think when people look at the time of possession and that's what people look at automatically, it's not time of possession, it's plays run that I look at, because you're not exerting any energy if you're just standing in the huddle. Now if it's drastically different and teams are snapping the ball and getting 80 snaps against our defense and we're getting 50 snaps offensively, then it's an issue."
Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley said on Wednesday that the Eagles and the Jaguars ranked first and second in the league in the preseason in fewest amount of time in between offensive snaps. With this being the dress rehearsal for the regular season, the amount of snaps will be just one of the many aspects of the game to keep an eye on.
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