After watching a full game of Chip Kelly football fans may need to recover and relax with something a bit more slow and soothing - like jai alai for instance. Chipball is football for the ADHD generation. There should be a Ritalin concession on the concourse. If you don't like the last play just wait a . . . never mind the next one is over too. And the next one. And the next one. There is a method to the madness however and it is the Suzuki method all about creating the right environment for the students to succeed. Here's the environment: Make the other team so uncomfortable that it plays poorly. Make your own team confident that the method gives them a great advantage. When you have teams of essentially equal value and one of them is confident and one of them is unsure the result is what happened Monday night in FedEx Field. This isn't going to happen every week because the Redskins looked spectacularly unprepared to defend the Eagles offense in the first half. Maybe it wasn't a fair test because they had nothing but Oregon film and vanilla exhibitions to work with. Fair or not Washington stunk its way out of the game and couldn't recover even with a much better second half. Other Eagles opponents this season will have the benefit of more useful film and won't be taken by surprise by something like the formation in which the Eagles had just three offensive linemen tight to the football and their other players on the line split wide and arranged as part of a pair of neat triangles. That was different. And of course that was the problem for the Redskins. Everything was different. Football players at this level have played all their lives at a certain pace. Run a play huddle run a play huddle run a play rinse and repeat. It isn't so much about an opposing defense running out of gas although that's going to happen but about simply being off-kilter. The Redskins weren't tired when the Eagles rang up nearly 200 net yards in the opening quarter. They were just trying to keep their heads from spinning around inside their helmets. The win wasn't just a result of the Redskins adjusting poorly. The Eagles were very sharp and very effective even on defense for enough of the night which was such a worry. The offense didn't have to really extend itself. Michael Vick's longest completion was 28 yards in the first half that put the game away and by comparison that seemed like a bomb. Everything else was an underneath route or a quick dart to the sideline or a cutback run off misdirection blocking. Kelly's playbook wasn't groundbreaking but it certainly chewed up ground. Then there was LeSean McCoy who was ridiculously good when he had to be. He hit the holes with confidence and took advantage of the misdirections and broke ankles just when you thought he was hemmed in. McCoy gained 115 yards just in the first half and carried the ball 20 times. As a team the Eagles ran 53 plays in the half compared to just 21 for the Redskins. In other words McCoy had one fewer carry in the first half than Washington had plays. The operative question after Monday's game if questions are permitted is whether the team in general and McCoy in particular will be able to hold up under that pace for a full season or even for a full game when the outcome is still in doubt. Will he be asked to carry it 40 times? As it was the Eagles seemed to sag a bit after halftime but perhaps only in comparison to the calliope ride of the first half. The better question though is what the rest of the coaches in the NFL were saying to themselves after watching a pretty sharp compatriot like Mike Shanahan get embarrassed on national television. In all probability they weren't very happy.
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Philly.com | Sep 10