Could this be a trap game? Chip Kelly dismissed the notion the other day, saying his team would focus completely on the Chargers before even contemplating the return of former coach Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. That’s standard coachspeak. What would concern me isn’t so much the possibility of the Eagles overlooking the Chargers, but rather this team’s habit of getting too cocky, too fast. Everyone remembers the “Dream Team” hex from two years ago and Michael Vick’s “dynasty” talk before going 4-12 last year. A couple weeks ago, DeSean Jackson even expressed relief that no such premature boasts had been delivered this year.“In the past, guys spoke out and really put pressure on the team that we didn’t really need,” Jackson said.One game in, Jackson declared the Eagles “definitely a top contending team.” Left tackle Jason Peterswas talking about running up the score on teams as the season goes on.It’s not bragging, they say, if you can back it up. It would just be a good idea for this particular team to back it up before saying anything.
Speaking of Jackson, a couple of things are worth noting. In the past, he has been neutralized when defensive players have gotten physical with him. On Monday, he caught seven passes in the first half. On the seventh, he was body slammed by DeAngelo Hall, who was fined $20,000 and penalized for the horse-collar tackle.Jackson didn’t catch another pass after that. The only time he was targeted, he dropped the ball. Not a big deal off one game, but worth keeping an eye on.Also, I wonder if Kelly’s warp-speed approach is going to cut way back on Jackson’s deep routes. That was his primary use in Andy Reid’s offense. But if you sprint 70 yards and the pass is incomplete, you have to sprint back in order to keep the tempo up. That takes a lot out of a player.
It has been widely noted that the last four teams to play the Eagles in their home opener went on to win the Super Bowl. Just a hunch, but I think that streak ends with the Chargers.
If the Eagles win Sunday, Kelly will be the first Eagles head coach to win his first two games since Nick Skorich did it. That was 1961, and Skorich inherited the defending NFL champions from Buck Shaw.