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Hogs Haven Knows How to Stop Chip Kelly's Offense

Over at Hogs Haven, a writer thinks he's figured out how to stop the Eagles' record-setting offense, based on watching film from last year. Shrewd, stupid, or what?

Rich Schultz

Over at SB Nation's site for the Washington Native Americans, a writer who calls himself RunPassScore has an interesting and detailed article in which he or she explains how to stop Chip Kelly's offense.  It's easy, apparently! All you do is

1) Don't stack the box against the run, and have your DE stay on the QB on zone read plays.

Wouldn't Shady just destroy you then?

"Obviously this puts a great emphasis(and therefore risk) on your defensive line and linebackers to come up and make a tackle on McCoy, who is one of the shiftiest runners in the league."

Oh, I see.  Tackle Shady.  Got it. Why didn't anyone think of that?

2) Play Press Man Coverage on the WRs.

Fair enough.  That's the standard game plan, and losing DJax may make it even more effective.  Of course, coach Kelly drafted two WRs specifically for their strength against man coverage.  But sure, I'd try this if I were an opposing coach.

3) Time of Possession

That's a stat, not a strategy, and Chip Kelly could care less about losing the TOP battle.

In every single game they lost last year they lost the time of possession battle, in some cases quite considerably

Uh, OK.  But they also lost the time of possession battle in 7 out of 10 victories, in some cases quite considerably.  Against Oakland, they only had the ball 22 minutes.  Nick Foles also threw 7 TDs.

4) Watch out for McCoy and Eagles TE's coming out of backfield

Yeah, you'd better.  The author has no plan for stopping them, except "have great linebackers."  Don't tell me what to do! I'm sticking with my "crappy linebacker" strategy.  Dallas will be deploying that this year, too.

5) Blitzing & pressure along with disguising and stemming the defense.

Well, sure I guess.  Sacks are good.  But Brandon Lee Gowton had a recent breakdown with much more detail, well worth a read ICYMI.  It's true that effective blitzes that bring real pressure hurt Foles, but the Eagles have a front line that many writers consider the best in the league.  And if your blitz misses the mark?

Against the blitz, Foles recorded the best yards/attempt, TD%, and QB rating of any NFL QB. Plus tied for the lowest INT%.

To be fair, the writer makes the very good point that beating the Eagles starts with fundamentals: solid tackling, sticking with assignments, team discipline.  That's the key point that people miss when they call Chip's offense a "college" or "gadget" offense.

In general, though, this analysis is based almost entirely on two early losses, to the Cowboys and the Chiefs.  That was the first half Eagles team that went 3-5, with Isaac Sopoaga at nose tackle, Patrick Chung at safety and (mostly) Mike Vick at quarterback, where rookies Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz struggled to get their legs under them, where an entirely new coaching staff (1 or 2 exceptions) scrambled to change every scheme and half the roster.

You might claim that Nick Foles played in that Cowboys game, but it was clear a poorly made replicant made in his general shape that someone snuck into the locker room.  Undoubtedly that malfunctioning robot was destroyed after the game, allowing the real Nick Foles to take over in week 9.

That first half team was exciting to watch but frankly it kind of sucked.  The second half Eagles are the ones with the real Foles and Bennie Logan and (when healthy) Earl Wolff, where Johnson and Ertz looked like veterans with Pro Bowl futures, where the coaches hit their stride.

That team went 7-1 and took the Sean Payton/Drew Brees Saints down to the wire.  If you want to claim you've got the Eagles figured out, show me a plan to stop THAT team.