Last nights game was incredibly fun to watch. As a younger generation Eagles fan, the only coach I have ever known has been Andy Reid. Experiencing such a complete change in play calling and pace was something I had been looking forward to for months, and was exciting, to say the least.
Picking up an opening game win is always great, especially for this fan base, deprived of success for over a year now. We all needed this win, we needed to see all these positives from last night, and we deserve this success and glimmer of hope. There was plenty of good things to come out of last nights game, besides the win. There was also, predictably, some weaknesses that became more evident as the game went on. I'm going to highlight some things I noticed from last night.
I'll switch it up and start with the negatives from last night, as we all have the positives fresh in our minds. After an exciting win like that, following an abysmal 4-12 season, writing an article on negatives may seem like nitpicking, but it's unrealistic to think this team still isn't flawed, and all of a sudden is a Super Bowl or bust team.
- Chip Kelly: Kelly brought with him an exciting fast paced offense that kept everyone on their toes and made for some great television. That being said, it was still his first game as an NFL coach, and with that comes some nervousness and mistakes. Challenging Zach Ertz' drop early on the game seemed like a foolish mistake, considering it didn't seem to be very close at all, and was a waste of a timeout. Kelly's management of timeouts was so much different than Andy Reid's I didn't even know what to think. I was actually mad that Kelly did not spend a timeout in the fourth quarter right before the Eagles picked up a crucial delay of game while they were trying to move the chains and keep the ball away from the Redskins. As I write this I feel almost spoiled because of all the timeouts we had and the different type of clock management that was deployed. I don't find Kelly as a real weakness as I'm sure he will shake off his nerves soon enough.
- The safeties: Patrick Chung's horrible read in the endzone that resulted in a Leonard Hankerson touchdown late in the fourth quarter was probably the worst defensive play of the night. It allowed the Skins to pull within 6, on a ball that could very well of been intercepted. We knew going in that Chung and Nate Allen were not the strongest safety duo in the league, and that was somewhat exposed late in the game.
- Brandon Boykin: Boykin started off great intercepting RGIII's pass over the middle in the first, but as the game wore on, Griffin continually targeted Boykin, seemingly completing every pass his way. The second half showed some serious holes in our secondary as every Redskin receiver was able to get open and make plays on the ball, allowing Washington to mount a comeback. Boykin is a young player with a lot of promise, and may be forced to start this week with Bradley Fletcher sustaining a concussion.
- Bryce Brown: With the Eagles new fast paced offense, the defense isn't the only unit that is going to get tired. The key to the Eagles success is going to be Brown coming in with fresh legs to break some big runs on a tired defense. I did not feel Brown was able to make any plays, and with a player of his caliber, he should be able to. I would also like to see Brown and McCoy on the field at the same time to keep the defense guessing who is getting the ball, and keep Shady fresh.
- Shady: I'm not going to focus on the offense as one of the positives, even though it obviously is. It was great to see Shady back to form after a somewhat disappointing season last year. I honestly believe we have the second best running back in the league, and some of his moves last night were jaw dropping as he rushed 31 times for 184 yards. After years of Eagles running backs being ignored, seeing McCoy carry the rock 30+ times is a great sign.
- DEFENSE: Wow. The first half defense was not what I was expecting. I could of predicted the points, but I don't think anyone saw 2 interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a safety happening in this game. In particular, Mychal Kendricks, my new favorite defensive player, and Trent Cole were all over the place. Cole seemed to have no problem transitioning to a 3-4 rusher, and Kendricks did a good job spying Griffin and making some great tackles. Cary Williams can do anything he wants at practice if he plays like he did night last, by the way.
- Special Teams: Dave Fipp seems to have done the trick with this unit. All I remember last year was David Wilson returning to the 50 yard line every time he got the ball, but last night our coverage units were spectacular. Football is a game of field position, and it starts with special teams. Donnie Jones had some great punts and Alex Henery still looks just very accurate. I would still like to see some better kick returns, but I can't complain at all about this unit. (Thank god Jake Knott was near Jason Avant at the end of the game.
All hail Chip. #WeWillRise