Chip Kelly said that he isn’t worried about the fast pace of his new Eagles’ offense to wear down his defense.
“It’s always about plays run, depending on how man plays the other team can run and our defense [faces],” he said on a conference all with reporters on Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ve run into these issues. I don’t know the exact count in the last game but in our other three preseason game we ran more plays than the other teams we’ve played so our defense was on the field less than our offense.”
If Chip is going to talk numbers to make his case perhaps he should be more familiar with them.
In their four preseason games, the Eagles ran 297 plays while their opponents ran 288. That’s a difference of about two plays per game. But the Eagles’ defense was not on the field less than their offense was.
Philly averaged 27:39 in time of possession, meaning their offense was on the field that long every game. The other team possessed the ball an average of 32:22 so the Eagles defense was on the field five minutes longer than the Philly offense was per game.
Even if you look game by game, what Kelly said doesn’t make any sense. In their first preseason game the Patriots ran six more plays than the Eagles and held the ball about two minutes longer. In the second game against the Panthers the Eagles had a big advantage in terms of plays run, 69-58, and a TOP advantage of a minute and a half. The next week it was the Jaguars with three more plays and about three more minutes of possession. In the preseason finale, the game Kelly couldn’t remember, the Jets ran 85 plays to 72 for Philly and New York had a possession time of over 15 minutes.
So, in three of the Eagles’ four preseason games the other team both ran more plays and held the ball longer. That doesn’t exactly fit Kelly’s narrative.
Certainly there are all kinds of caveats here since it was preseason and the first team played about four of the 16 quarters. Things may well play out differently when the season starts. But that is what we have to go on and Kelly brought it up. And, so far, his theory for keeping his defense rested isn’t working.