This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a long time about the Philadelphia Eagles under head coach Chip Kelly. I am not asking whether or not the Eagles have the best offense in the NFL but whether they are the most “complete”. What I mean by complete is that they are good at almost everything on offense and can also adapt to whatever kind of defense they are up against. Looking at the 2013 stats using NFL.com, it is obvious that the Denver Broncos had the best offense last year. The Broncos averaged 37.9 points per game which was 10 points higher than any other team in the league. In comparison, the Eagles averaged 27.6 which put them 4th but only 0.2 points away from the New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears.
So why am I even debating this, surely the Broncos have the most complete offense right? I am not so sure though. The Broncos humiliated defenses last year including the Eagles because they simply had better players than them. The Broncos had so many weapons in the passing game that teams did not have enough good players in the secondary that could cover them all. Peyton Manning therefore could find a matchup he liked pre snap and exploit it. This always made me wonder what would happen if the Broncos were to face a team who had enough good players in the secondary that could cover all of the Broncos weapons. Unfortunately for the Broncos one of the teams, possibly the only team, who could stop their offense happened to be the Seattle Seahawks; the team they had to face in the Super Bowl. The Broncos offense managed to score 8 points all game because they had no plan B whatsoever. The Broncos have a mediocre running game and a quarterback who can not escape the pocket so if a team like Seattle can cover all the Broncos weapons then they really struggle.
This is why I think that the Eagles could have the most complete offense in the NFL. Not only do they have an exceptional passing game, although not as good as the Broncos, they also have the best rushing attack in the NFL. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy ended the season with 1607 rushing yards, putting him 1st in the NFL by an incredible 268 yards. The Broncos offense was 15th in the league in rushing yards despite running out the clock in a lot of games. I do not think a Seattle defense, as good as it is, would ever shut down a healthy Eagles offense to 8 points. The Eagles offense can beat you in so many different ways because of Chip Kelly’s obsession with versatility. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and running back Darren Sproles are both very good in the slot and all of the Eagles receivers can play in the slot. The Eagles can therefore alter the offense in game by lining players up in different positions.
The Eagles highlighted their versatility last season when they played the Arizona Cardinals in week 13. The Cardinals had a great secondary and matched up really well against the Eagles so the Eagles receivers struggled to get free all game. The Cardinals also had a great front 7 and managed to limit the Eagles rushing attack to only 105 rushing yards. However, most defenses will have at least 1 slight weakness and the Cardinals struggled to match up against opposing tight ends. The Eagles then used a lot of 1-2 personnel to get tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz on the field together. Ertz had his best game of the season, catching 2 touchdowns and 68 yards and Celek also caught another touchdown. Another great example of the Eagles versatility on offense was the week 14 game against the Detroit Lions known as the “Snow Bowl”. Conditions made it extremely difficult to throw the ball or run outside but the Eagles had the personnel to run the ball down the gut with some outstanding offensive line play. LeSean McCoy ended the game with 217 yards and 2 touchdowns and Chris Polk also had 50 yards and a touchdown.
These examples show why the Eagles in my opinion have the most complete offense in the NFL. The Eagles have a one of the best running back duos with LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles and also one of the best offensive lines. This allows them to run screen passes extremely successfully and have the leagues best running game; using both inside runs and outside runs. Both running backs are great receiving options as well, Chris Polk was also an effective pass catcher in college. I don’t think Chip Kelly would ever have a running back who couldn’t catch the ball well. The Eagles receiving group can also do it all. They have the height to succeed in the redzone but they also have enough speed to get downfield. I go back to the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks because they really struggled as they had no plan B. The Eagles can do different things if they are struggling against a great defense like the Seahawks. They can use two tight end sets if needed to create favorable matchups or they can move Sproles outside to the slot and move rookie receiver Josh Huff to the backfield. My final point on why the Eagles have the most complete offense is one I haven’t even mentioned before and is possibly the most important; the speed that the offense play at. The offense should be unbelievably fast this year, reports coming out of minicamp show that the Eagles are running plays every 10 seconds consistently. Even if you have players that can match up with the Eagles weapons, you will have to be extremely well conditioned to keep doing it all game. I personally cannot vision the Eagles offense being shut down like the Broncos were and being held to 8 points by any team in the NFL.
Who do you think have the NFL’s most complete offense?