Certain guys are going to get the ball. DeSean Jackson. LeSean McCoy. They factor heavily into the Eagles’ game plan each week for obvious reasons.
That’s about as predictable as Chip Kelly wants to be, however. As far as the rest of the offense goes, Kelly wants as many people involved as possible –- a random and wide selection of contributions from various players.
“We like to say we’re an equal-opportunity scoring offense,” Kelly said during Wednesday’s press conference at the NovaCare Complex. “We don’t care if we run it in. We don’t care if we throw it in. It’s just about scoring points.”
The Eagles average 27.7 points per game, fourth-best in the NFL. Part of that is a function of spreading the ball around and distributing the touches. This season, nine different Eagles have scored at least one offensive touchdown. And in five of their six games, six or more players have caught at least one pass.
“We don’t go in trying to say we’re going to force the ball to this guy,” Kelly said. “Everything we do is dictated on what is the defense presenting to us. And then, really, what’s our plan to attack? Is it Cover 1? Is it Cover 2? Is it zone blitz? Kind of how that expresses itself. Certain people have defended us in manners that they haven’t shown on film before we played them. And then other guys were really almost 100 percent to what they had shown. We probably anticipated that early because there wasn’t a lot of tape.”
When discussing the tape, Kelly mentioned the differences and difficulties in preparing for two separate teams: The Chiefs and Buccaneers. Kelly noted that the Eagles played Kansas City early in the season and the Chiefs had a new defensive coordinator in Bob Sutton. As a result, Kelly said, “You only had one or two games to go on them.” That game was one of the worst for the Eagles offensively. They scored 16 points and only five players caught passes. Both were season lows.
Against Tampa, Kelly said the Eagles had “a better feel” and “a little bit more of a sample size” since “we could go back to last season because that staff had been together.” The Eagles scored 31 points against the Bucs while eight separate players caught at least one pass.
“How are they going to defend us?” Kelly asked rhetorically when talking about distributing the ball. “If they’re going to double someone and take him away, then we’re certainly not going to force it in to player X. We need to make sure player Y, Z and whomever else can step up and make plays when they get opportunities.”
Nick Foles -– who was named NFC offensive player of the week after beating the Bucs (see story) –- had a lot to do with creating those opportunities. He completed 70.9 percent of his passes against Tampa Bay.
“If you go through your progressions, you’re going to find an open man,” wide receiver Jason Avant said. “That’s what Nick does. He’s going to get the ball to the open receiver. I think that’s part of what makes this offense so dangerous. We spread it around.”