PHILADELPHIA -- Many of the Chipisms -- the sayings and maxims oft-repeated by Eagles coach Chip Kelly -- we've come to know are really intended for the ears of his players.
“We have a mindset that the only team that can stop us is ourselves,” Kelly said Monday, a day after his offense stopped itself brilliantly in a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
That kind of talk may be useful for instilling an expectation of success in a football team, but it is also kind of insulting to your opponents. The truth is, the Cowboys stopped the Eagles offense all afternoon and part of their game plan was pinched from the team the Eagles play this week, the New York Giants.
Three weeks ago, the Giants held LeSean McCoy to 46 yards on 20 carries. Before Michael Vick got hurt, he had completed 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards. More than half those yards, 56 of them, came on a pass that went through a defensive back's hands on its way into DeSean Jackson's.
That pass and Vick's 79 rushing yards provided most of the Eagles' offense before Vick pulled his hamstring and Nick Foles replaced him. With Foles in, the passing game sparked enough for Kelly to stick with it a bit more at the expense of the run.
But the truth is, the Giants had done a very good job of stopping McCoy. They moved their defensive linemen around and had them attack gaps the Eagles offensive linemen weren't expecting. The Cowboys did the same thing, which led to the turgid run game you saw Sunday.
“The majority of that was from the New York Giants game and this last game,” center Jason Kelce said. “They're moving the defensive line. We have to do a better job of taking care of the slanting and angling.”
“We've got to be able to block movement,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “That's plain and simple. Teams have been moving on us. They'll continue to do it. We've got ways to try to combat it.”
The Giants, who held Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to 28 yards on 13 carries Monday night, will surely do the same thing until the Eagles prove they can counter it.
“They had a good game plan against us last time to stop the run,” Kelce said. “Chip's a pretty cerebral guy. I'm sure he'll have some stuff to get after them with.”
The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. In public, at least, Kelly doesn't go there. After the Giants game, he said the run game stalled because he stopped calling run plays. In fact, it was the other way around. He stopped running because McCoy couldn't break out. The same thing happened against the Cowboys Sunday.
Those defenses stopped the Eagles' run game. It's up to Kelly to get it going again on Sunday.