Collinsworth on what he has seen from the Eagles so far
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney hit Mike Vick twice in the Chargers' 33-30 win over the Eagles last Sunday. (USA Today Images)
Donovan McNabb isn’t the only one who thinks Chip Kelly’s read-option offense is unsustainable over the long haul in the NFL.
Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, McNabb’s college teammate at Syracuse, said Michael Vick’s body won’t be able to hold up throughout the course of a 16-game season.
“The problem is with that offense, to be honest with you, is the quarterback position and the pounding the quarterback takes with that, and it’s not college anymore,” Freeney said in an interview with NBCSN’s “Pro Football Talk” that will air Thursday evening.
“And it’s going to be very interesting to see if a team can actually have a starting quarterback or backup quarterback last through the whole entire year with this type of athlete -- not a college athlete -- you’re talking about a guy who may be 300 pounds, running a 4.8-whatever it is, hitting your quarterback every time he carries out a fake, whether he has the ball or not. Will the quarterback to be able to last the whole year? That’s the question.”
Freeney didn’t have a sack against the Eagles in his team’s 33-30 win Sunday at the Linc, but he did have two hits on Vick, who was sacked twice. Vick came out of the game on the Eagles’ final drive of the fourth quarter after being body slammed to the ground by defensive lineman Jarius Wynn.
Nick Foles came in for a second-down snap and threw incomplete, and Kelly later admitted that he should have called timeout to get Vick back into the game without losing a snap (see story).
Vick, who passed for 428 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers while running for another TD, has flourished so far in Kelly’s no-huddle, up-tempo attack. He has the NFL’s third-highest passer rating (119.0) and is completing 62 percent of his passes.
But the hit toll is also rising on the 33-year-old quarterback, who missed nine games over the past two seasons because of injuries and hasn’t played 16 games since 2006.
Freeney said Kelly’s blocking schemes are gimmicky and don’t offer enough protection for quarterbacks.
“They don’t really stress protection,” he said. “They stress more or less, you know what, we’re going to confuse, this, that and the other.”
Freeney’s criticisms sound similar to remarks made Wednesday by McNabb, who called the read-option “just a fad” in the NFL and said the hurry-up offense puts too much stress on the team’s defense (see story).
“I don’t know if any offensive player would want to run 90 plays in a game,” McNabb said. “If you’re running 90 plays in a game, that means your defense is pretty awful and you’re running entirely too many plays.
“At Oregon, [Kelly] may have ran 75 plays in a game, but you’re not going to run 85, 90, not in the NFL, and teams and defensive coordinators are a lot better than what you’re going to see in college.”