Monday, December 08, 2014

Seahawks expose 'basic' Eagles

PHILADELPHIA - Many who worship at the altar of Chip Kelly don't really understand what his offense is about.

The legend paints Kelly as the Gary Kasparov of the NFL, an Xs and Os grandmaster capable of beating Bill Walsh in a game of chess never mind the Neanderthals that roam the sidelines in today's NFL.

To call that a misconception is being kind. Kelly runs perhaps the most basic offense in all of professional football, in essence zone-read right or left, with only the formation and run or pass differentiating from play to play.

In fact Kelly's whole football philosophy isn't based on fooling or outscheming anyone, it's about controlled chaos with the intent of constantly pushing the pace and outnumbering the defense in space, an ideology he
believes forces his opponents into far more miscues than his own team which prepares with practices run as quickly as possible in order to improve conditioning and maximize repetitions.

And Kelly expects his charges to make the occasional mistake. He's just betting on the fact that if his players make one, your's will make two because they weren't ready at the snap of the ball or they're just too gassed to handle their particular assignments.

It's a mentality that's old hat in college football now, where Kelly dominated at the University of Oregon, but still rather new to the NFL which still has some real-life dinosaurs coaching on Sundays.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett made the most news after Seattle's dominating 24-14 win over Kelly's Eagles on Sunday by taking an unfair shot at Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez, who piloted a unit that put up just 139 yards of total offense in 18 minutes of possession, the Eagles' lowest output
in 30 games under Kelly and its worse performance as a whole since 2005.

"Tell the Philadelphia police to put an APB out," Bennett quipped. "Sanchez is trying to impersonate a good quarterback."

Sanchez completed just 10 of his 20 passes for 96 yards in his fifth straight start for the injured Nick Foles. He did throw touchdown passes to Jeremy Maclin and Zach Ertz, but looked overmatched against the vaunted "Legion of Boom."

"That's a really good football team that we played and they showed it," Sanchez admitted. "They brought a great game plan. They played really well in their zones and really well in their man (coverage). They took away a lot of opportunities and then when opportunities presented themselves, I missed a couple of balls downfield and they made us pay."

"I'll give them credit," Kelly added. "They did a hell of a job on defense."

The Seahawks usually do.

Peyton Manning is a pretty good QB but he looked a lot like Sanchez back in February when facing a similar Seattle D in the Super Bowl, one that has reappeared ever since middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and strong safety Kam Chancellor returned from injury.

The Seahawks' stop unit hadn't given up a TD in eight quarters before Sunday's game, allowing just three points to both Arizona and San Francisco in back-to-back performances. When it finally did allow a TD in Philly it was because of Jon Ryan's bobbled punt and the Eagles traversed only 14 yards before Maclin's
1-yard score.

In fact Seattle really gave up only one play all afternoon, the 35-yard TD pass from Sanchez to Ertz in the third quarter.

"They have a sound system and they have great players in every spot," Sanchez said. "We just didn't really give our best showing out there and that's unfortunate because that would have been a good one for us."

Sanchez's 96 passing yards marked his worst game under Kelly and the fourth lowest passing total of his spotty career, a result that sparked one reporter to ask Bennett what he saw in the Eagles' quarterback.

"The same thing everyone else saw," Bennett replied. "Not much."

Bennett, though, was just having fun after a big win. Wagner, on the other hand, was holding court and exposing what Kelly and the Eagles are about.

"No matter how fast they ran a play, we were just on it," the LB said. "We knew what plays were coming and it's a pretty basic offense."

And the recipe for beating it is also pretty basic albeit easier said than done.

"It just seem like a similar story. We played disciplined, sound football," Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said. "Like I said earlier in the week when everybody brushed me off, they have to deal with us just like we have to deal with them. You can hurry up all you want but if you cannot get
yards, cannot complete passes, then it's just quick three and outs."
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