The Philadelphia Eagles offense has been hitting a groove recently despite some early season struggles. Star running back LeSean McCoy rushed for over 100 yards in each of the team's last two games, which is something he hadn't done all year. Quarterback Mark Sanchez is coming off of a zero turnover performance where he completed 69% of his passes and finished with a 102.2 passer rating.
The challenge now for Philadelphia will be to sustain their success against a Seattle Seahawks defense that allows the fewest yards per game (285.8) and the third least points per game (18.4). On Monday Eagles head coach Chip Kelly talked about the team's upcoming opponent. He went as far to call Seattle's secondary "the best secondary that [the Eagles] play", which is a claim many won't dispute.
Of course, the defending Super Bowl 48 Champions aren't only a strong defensive team. They also have young quarterback Russell Wilson who is a dynamic threat on the ground and through the air. The Seahawks also have a nice running back corps led by bruiser Marshawn Lynch.
Here's a look at what Kelly had to say about the Eagles' Week 14 match-up, among other topics.
How talented is the Seahawks defense?
They've got really, really good players and Pete [Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll] puts them in position to make plays. It will be the best secondary that we play. Obviously, probably the top corner in the league in [CB] Richard Sherman. He's got 23 picks since 2011 -- eight more than any other player in the league – and there's a reason for that: he's a smart player, he's an intelligent player. He's big, he's physical and he's got great ball skills.
I think they’ve got probably the top safety in the game in Earl Thomas. Then they have a bunch of other guys that are fast and they're athletic. [DE] Cliff Avril can really cause some problems, [DE] Michael Bennett can cause some problems. Their linebackers can run. [SS] Kam Chancellor is a guy [who can cause problems]. They've got players at every single position on the defensive side of the ball. There's a reason they won the Super Bowl last year and there's a reason they held the last two teams they played to three points. They've got a lot of really talented players over there.
Do the Seahawks run a lot of Cover 3?
Yeah, they've done the same thing since Pete's been there. They’ve got the personnel. They’ve got a really, really good group of personnel right now. They're probably 60-40 man-zone. They're very balanced in what they do. They’ve got their eyes on the quarterback. They disrupt routes. They’ve got a lot of guys with good ball skills back there in terms of getting after it. It's a very formidable group.
What did Chip Kelly learn from visiting the Seahawks when he was still at Oregon?
I was just watching practice. I've known Pete. We were in the same league together. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for him. He did an unbelievable job when he was at USC and he's doing the same exact thing with the Seahawks. I visited the 49ers after that. I visited Air Force. Whenever we had an open date during the season at Oregon, when we weren't practicing, I tried to go visit somebody that was close.
Obviously, almost everybody else we were playing, so there weren’t a lot of options. It was go watch an NFL team or go watch a team from another conference. I visited Air Force. I visited Seattle. I visited San Francisco. I was just going to watch someone else practice.
How can the Eagles simulate practice against Russell Wilson?
It's difficult because we don't have anybody as athletic. But that's no different than any quarterback you face. We didn't have anybody that could simulate Cam Newton. We don't have a 6'5", 250‑pound -- unless we went to the Sixers [Philadelphia 76ers] and grabbed one of their power forwards.
We don't have a Marshawn Lynch we can simulate, we don't have a Richard Sherman we can simulate. You are really just getting used to what their scheme is and kind of how they run their operation. But you're never going to be able to simulate players of that caliber no matter who you're facing.
More Russell Wilson appreciation
I got an opportunity to play against Russell when he was at Wisconsin. He does the same thing. He always has his eyes down the field. He's not looking to run, but if you give him the opportunity to run, I think he makes really, really good decisions when he's flushed from the pocket. He's always got his eyes up. He's always looking for open receivers. If they're not there, he takes what the defense gives him. He never takes a big hit. I think he's got a real, real good feel of how to play quarterback on the move.
Will the Eagles avoid throwing at Richard Sherman?
Yeah, we always concern ourselves with the personnel on the opposite side. You have to know exactly what they're in, how things are working, the matchups you can exploit or try to attack.I think that's part of any coach's game plan.
I don't think you just say, ‘Hey, we don't care who's over there.’ You really sit down and study the tape and situations, [and say], ‘Who do they have in, what they're doing, do they travel, do they cover guys on the other side when the receiver switch sides, do they match up with people?’ There's a lot more to it than just saying, ‘We're not going to throw to the right,’ because he may not be on the right, he may be on the left.
Why did Mark Sanchez yell at Riley Cooper?
What they were going to eat for Thanksgiving after the game. I mean, guys yell at guys all the time. I don't know why that's a big deal. You could catch someone yelling at somebody probably on every play. Not a big deal. I think we weren't in the right formation and we were trying to get lined up. Coop wasn't the guy that wasn't lined up. There were other guys that weren't lined up the right way.
Nick Foles injury "update"
He had a checkup on Friday. His clavicle is healing, but he hasn't been cleared to play, so... [...] Yeah, he’ll have another exam until he eventually gets cleared. The bone isn't healed yet. [...] No, I don't [know when the next exam will be.]