Chip Kelly is starting to get criticized in Philadelphia and rightly so. The Eagles offense which put up gaudy numbers through the first six weeks has combined to amass 479 in the last two weeks combined including a paltry 201-yard performance against the 1-6 Giants.
That's not good enough and everyone knows it.
One glaring issue has been Kelly's play calling which has been baffling to say the least. Last Sunday against the Cowboys, the Eagles had the ball on the Dallas 42-yard line with under 30 seconds remaining in the first half and one timeout remaining. On third-and-one, Nick Foles went deep down the right side of DeSean Jackson but the pass was incomplete setting up a fourth-and-one with 14 seconds left in the half.
Go for it, right? Wrong. Kelly opted to attempt a 60-yard field goal which missed to give the Cowboys the ball back with nine seconds left.
Now let's think about this. On third-and-one, the Eagles had to have an idea that they weren't going to punt if they didn't get it. With one timeout left, why aren't they running a high-percentage play to try and get the first down to make the field goal more manageable? Who knows.
Then Sunday against the Giants, Kelly baffled everyone once again. With Matt Barkley in the game and the Giants leading 12-0 late in the second quarter, the Eagles started moving the ball down the field. They worked the ball into the red zone setting up first-and-goal from the two-yard line.
Instead of handing the ball to LeSean McCoy, a top running back in the NFL, Kelly called a quarterback roll-out in which Barkley faked a hand-off to McCoy from the shotgun formation and rolled to his left where he had one receiver. Barkley isn't the fastest quarterback in the world so it's no surprise that cornerback Terrell Thomas sacked him at the 14-yard line and forced a fumble which the Giants recovered.
The Eagles were so close to their first offensive touchdown in two weeks and it all vanished that quickly. Barkley has to be stronger with the ball but that play call - buzz, your girlfriend, woof.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter. the Giants just snapped the ball over punter Steve Weatherford's head and Najee Goode recovered for the Eagles and carried it into the endzone to cut it to 15-7 with 4:11 remaining. Kelly opts for the onsides-kick which the Giants recover with great field position at the Eagles' 48-yard line.
Why not kickoff and trust the defense to get a stop? They had held New York to just three points in the second half and forced punts in four of the previous five Giants possessions. When they were called upon on Sunday, the Eagles defense stepped up. Instead the Giants got good field position and were able to pin the Eagles at their 16-yard line.
Nobody is perfect and every coach is going to make mistakes but these play calls are pretty straight forward yet Kelly seems to be complicating things for some reason. Keep it simple.
Unless this is part of Kelly's master plan to get one of the top quarterbacks (Marcus Mariota, perhaps?) in the draft, then I'll apologize. If that's the case, Sam Hinkie approves. But, right now, the play calling needs to improve or else this team is going to continue to struggle.
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