The Indianapolis Colts sport a 3-4 defense, just like the Eagles. But the Colts' defensive front, unlike the svelte and athletic Eagles front, is huge.
Like, really huge.
Chip Kelly said Thursday that the Indianapolis defensive front of defensive end Cory Redding, nose tackle Josh Chapman and defensive tackle Arthur Jones is what first jumps out at him when watching the Colts.
"First, defensively, just how big they are up front," Kelly said. "I mean, that is a really, really large front. You've got guys that are 330-plus, and then to have three of them in there like that."
When he uses the word "really" twice, Kelly isn't exaggerating. On Monday night, the Eagles' offensive line will be facing 995 pounds from the Colts' line. And then they have to account for the Indianapolis linebackers, whom Kelly also has great respect for.
"You have two really good inside linebackers," Kelly continued. "D'Qwell Jackson came over from Cleveland, and (offensive coordinator) Pat (Shurmur) coached him there, and (defensive coordinator Bill) Davis coached him there, so we have an understanding and feeling about them. They both raved about him as a player. They loved him when they had him in Cleveland."
Needless to say, the Eagles will be facing a stout, talented defensive front seven at Lucas Oil Stadium. After a first half in which Peyton Manning torched the Colts' defense for three touchdown passes, the unit stiffened in the second half and held Manning and the Broncos to just one third down conversion on eight attempts.
And the Eagles' offensive line is in a state of rapid motion lately, with injuries affecting the starting unit for Monday night's game. But on Thursday, Kelly clarified what the line situation looks like with three days between now and Monday, and reassured fans that he has the utmost confidence in his line.
"Yesterday, Dennis (Kelly) was at left guard and Andrew (Gardner) was at right tackle," Kelly said, before quickly reminding reporters, "but it doesn't help anybody to say our starting lineup for Monday is this.
"Right now Dennis is at left, and Andrew is at right. What's going to end up on Monday? I can't predict that right now."
On Thursday, the Eagles continued to practice and prepare for their Monday night game with the Colts...
Kelly said he's confident that, with whatever line he rolls out on Monday night, the Eagles will be largely able to stick to their game plan, including running his famous tempo offense.
"If the guys plugged in are the guys that have been here for a while, they can handle it," Kelly explained. "It didn't affect us in the second half against Jacksonville because David (Molk) and Andrew handled it really well. Dennis can handle it, David can handle it."
Kelly said he likes the way Dennis Kelly matches up with the big Indianapolis front, mainly because the lineman brings such an imposing physical frame himself.
"I think he brings a physical presence in there. He's obviously a very large human being," Kelly said, drawing laughs. "A lot of times in this league when you're playing three techniques, the bigger players are your inside defensive players and not your outside guys. We feel like we got a better push with Dennis in there. I think he's more suited for that battle in there. He's a physical player.
"From a size standpoint, he'll match up with those guys."
Running back LeSean McCoy echoed his head coach's belief in the Eagles' makeshift offensive line because of what he's seen during the preseason and last week's 34-17 victory over the Jaguars.
"I'm confident in my offensive linemen, for sure," McCoy asserted Thursday. "I think with the new pieces we have here, some guys we signed and guys moving into different places ... I think we'll be fine. We'll make some plays in the air, and I think the more positive plays we get as an offense, the more confident we get.
"I think it's more the other team to be thinking about, 'Oh, they don't have their starters, they're hurt, they're banged up.'"
If the Colts underestimate the Eagles' offensive line Monday night, Chip Kelly and the rest of his team thinks Indianapolis will be in for a big surprise.