Many of the questions that we were asking ourselves about how the Eagles offense would look in head coach Chip Kelly’s rookie year were answered last year. Kelly showed that he could successfully adapt his offense to the NFL. According to reports, Kelly’s uptempo offense is altering how officials condition in the offseason. However, with a few notable roster changes this offseason, primarily the release of Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson, the question is how different will the Eagles’ offense look in 2014?
If Chip Kelly proved anything to us last year, it’s that he can adapt. After cutting Jackson this offseason, the Eagles lost their best opportunity to stretch the field vertically. Jackson, one of the fastest guys in the NFL, was able to take the top off of defenses with his speed. This made opposing defenses have to cheat their safety over to his side, opening up the opposite side and the underneath routes. Here are a few changes we can expect to see this year.
1. More use of tight ends. The Eagles are going to look to run more 2-tight end sets this year. That will give them an extra blocker in the run game, as defenses try to stack the box to stop All Pro running back LeSean McCoy. This will also give the Eagles another receiver, as second-year tight end Zach Ertz is currently more of a huge receiver than a tight end at this point in his career. The tight ends will be featured more on crossing and seam routes than they were last year.
2. More use of running backs in the passing game. With newly acquired running back Darren Sproles, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, the Eagles now have two of the top-five pass-catching receivers in the NFL. This is going to play a huge role in the offense next year. Both Sproles and McCoy have the ability to turn a short catch into a long gain with their agility and elusiveness. Kelly is going to create mismatches his running backs all game.
3. A more featured role for the slot receiver. The Eagles drafted two wide receivers in the second and third rounds of this year’s draft. Wideouts Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff look like they’re going to be ready to contribute from day 1, with Matthews likely assuming the role of starting slot receiver in three receiver sets. Last year, now-Panthers wideout Jason Avant had less than 500 yards receiving as the team’s primary slot receiver. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matthews nearly double those numbers as the primary slot receiver this year.
If any coach in the NFL can release his top wide receiver and not have the offense’s production fall from the season before, it’s Chip Kelly. Kelly is innovative and can adapt his offense however he needs to to succeed. Only time will tell how the release of Jackson will affect this time. For now, we have to trust in Chip.
Tags: Philadelphia Eagles