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Eagles Preseason Preview: Don't expect Chip Kelly to tip his hand

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It's only preseason.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I greatly look forward to tonight’s preseason matchup versus the Bears. I suspect many Eagles fans and media will be curious to see how much the offense has changed for Year 2 under Chip Kelly and Nick Foles. But we must remember these games typically reveal practically nothing at all.

I fear that the offense will come out running several new or previously seldom used plays, and everyone will start to think those plays will be featured in the offense this season. The preseason is not a very reliable tool for answering this question about what the offense will look like. Last year, the Eagles ran numerous plays that did not play a big role in their regular season offense.

Let’s look at last year’s first three running plays.

First play:

http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2317588/1.gif

This formation did not appear in the regular season until week 2.

Second play:

http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2317594/2.gif

The under-center formation was hardly a staple of the 2013 Eagles offense.

Third play:

http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2317600/3.gif

While this looks like the typical outside zone play the Eagles ran a ton last year, note the blocking by the LG and LT. Even what looks like a common play was executed with a twist that I don't think was that common in the regular season.

There were plenty more unusual plays from the Eagles offense last year throughout the preseason. Remember Shady's ridiculous juke against the Panthers? Even that came on a play rarely, if ever, run in the regular season. Note how the pulling guard and the running back start on the same side of the formation, rather than opposite sides, as with the Eagles typical power play.

http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/imported_assets/2317606/shady-mccoy-preseason-run.gif

Conclusion:

People talk about teams being vanilla in the preseason. If anything, it looks like the Eagles offense was more complex in the preseason than the regular season. With that in mind, let’s just not jump to any conclusions about what the offense will look like based on anything we see tonight.