Kelly addresses the struggling offense
“I don’t think there's anything else our offense needs to look at except our defense,” Chip Kelly (left) said Monday of Billy Davis' improving defense. (AP)
Chip Kelly knows exactly where his sputtering offense should look for inspiration and motivation.
Right across the line of scrimmage.
Kelly said the guys on the Eagles’ offense, which has managed all of three points on 25 drives in its last two games, should take a hint from the Eagles’ defense, which has shown substantial improvement over the last four weeks after a rocky start (see story).
“I don’t think there's anything else our offense needs to look at except our defense,” Kelly said Monday.
“They’ve stayed the course. They’ve worked continually on their techniques. We haven’t added a lot of new things for those guys. We continue to let them feel comfortable in what we're doing. On a weekly basis, I see them getting better and better and better.”
Meanwhile, he sees the offense getting worse and worse and worse.
The Eagles’ offense hasn’t scored a touchdown since the Tampa game, generating just three points combined against the Cowboys and Giants, and somehow a defense that was on pace to allow the most yards in NFL history a month ago is carrying the team.
The offense averaged 28 points per game the first six weeks of the season and is averaging 1 ½ points the last two.
The defense allowed 28 points per game the first four weeks and is allowing 18 per game since.
Kelly said that disparity will be pointed out Tuesday morning, when he meets with his players as they begin preparing for a game Sunday against the Raiders in Oakland.
“You don't have to look too far on what the formula is for success,” Kelly said. “We need to go back out there, we need to continue to work, need to get a better understanding of what we we’re trying to get accomplished as a group.”
The last two weeks, the defense has allowed just 32 points and two touchdowns but has nothing to show for it except two losses.
This is the first time in 15 years the Eagles have lost consecutive games while allowing 17 or fewer points in both. It happened the second and third weeks of 1998 with a 17-12 loss to the Falcons and a 17-3 loss to the Cards.
Last time it happened at home in consecutive weekends: Nov. 2 and Nov. 9, 1986 --- 13-10 to Cards, 17-14 to Giants.
So the defense is doing its job. This might not be the most talented group we’ve seen around here, but at least for now they’re playing unselfish team football, and the result has been impressive.
That’s the attitude the offense needs to adopt, Kelly said.
“Not one person has to do it all himself,” he said. “We all [have] got to kind of contribute. But I think on defense, we have 11 guys really contributing. [With] the sub packages, a lot more than that.
“Everybody is thriving off each other, they're doing a really good job. We’ve kind of got to get back to an offense which we were like earlier in the season and for the last two games, we haven’t been there. We’ve got to get that fixed getting ready to go play Oakland.”
Kelly said the way for the offense to do it is by emulating the defense.
Who would have thought a month ago anybody would be saying that?
That means detailing every aspect of your work, as Andy Reid used to say.
“It's still about executing,” Kelly said. “You’re not going to surprise people eight games into the season.
“We have to run the right depth on our routes. We have to catch the ball when it's thrown to us. We have to put the ball on people when people are open. We have to hit the hole when the hole is there. We have to create a hole if the hole is not there. That's just executing football.
“We were successful for six games. The last two, if I look at the last two and just analyze what the situation is, in both games we got to our third quarterback. I think that's a difficult proposition, you know, especially when you don't have a lot of reps for those guys to go around at practice. We have to execute it.”