How close to perfect does Vick need to play for the Eagles to win?
The Eagles have unsuccessfully challenged two plays this season. (USA Today Images)
It’s ultimately up to Chip Kelly when to throw the red flag and when to keep it in his pocket. But like all head coaches, Kelly has help from his assistants in the booth upstairs when deciding whether or not to challenge a play.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been designated as Kelly’s point man on challenges, though Shurmur said that it’s more of a collective effort than people might think.
“I'm up there with a bunch of other coaches,” Shurmur said during his weekly press conference at the NovaCare Complex. “I don't always have the greatest view of it. We kind of put our minds together up there. In a situation where it warrants a challenge, we say, ‘Hey, Coach, you ought to think about doing this.’ We give him that information.”
About that information: Shurmur and the rest of the Eagles' coaches have the same replays and television feed as the fans that watch from home.
“If we see visible evidence to support the fact that we may win on the challenge, then we want to do it,” Shurmur said about the process. “Unfortunately, there's a lot of times in the game where you're thinking about it. For whatever reason, you don't see it. ... If you don't have the evidence to support it, then you just can't do it. Then I don't want to lead Coach Kelly off the bridge by giving him bad information. There are times when you can't. There's times on the sideline when he can see it better than I can because it's right in front of him. There's other times that we get more information up top.”
A year ago, the Eagles challenged seven plays. Three were overturned. The Eagles have challenged two plays this season. Neither were overturned.
The first challenge came against Washington. With about 10 minutes left in the first quarter, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-10 at the Washington 29-yard line. Michael Vick zipped a pass to the left that was intended for Zach Ertz. The play was initially ruled incomplete and was later upheld by the replay official.
The second challenge occurred against San Diego. The Chargers faced 2nd-and-12 from the Eagles’ 28-yard line with under five minutes to play in the second half. Philip Rivers threw a pass to Malcolm Floyd for a nine-yard gain. The Eagles threw the red flag, but the completion stood.
“Each situation is different,” Shurmur said. “Generally speaking, we want to be aggressive here in everything that we do. If we see something we think can get overturned, we'll try to challenge it.”