Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Early Birds: Time of possession vs. plays run, Bradley Fletcher's pass interference, preparing for the Cowboys

1) If you've listened to Chip Kelly during the past 23 months, you know he does not put much stock into time of possession. He's spoken more about plays run (although he has said the Eagles don't have a target number). Both the time of possession and plays run were issues in the Eagles' 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, when the Eagles ran 45 plays. That marked  their fewest of the season. They were on the field for just more than 18 minutes. That was their second lowest of the season.

Seattle kept the Eagles' defense on the field for 85 plays, which was the most the Eagles faced this season. Kelly was more concerned with the play differential than the time differential.

"The time of possession thing, I don't understand that concept," Kelly said. "If you can take the clock down to one second on the clock and then don't convert on first down, so you use three minutes of the clock, but they are still going to go back out on the field.  That has got nothing to do with it.

"I've never been around it, I don't understand that. It's plays run. We ran 45 plays, they ran 85 plays. You tell me we didn't run enough plays; we certainly didn't run enough plays. But we need to run more plays.  That means we need to convert on third down."

However, Kelly did not just put it on his offense. The quick, fruitless offensive drives were not the only reason Seattle had so much time with the ball. It was also the defense's inability to get Seattle off the field.

"We gave up too many third-and-longs," Kelly said. "We couldn't convert our third‑and‑longs and they did a good job of converting theirs; [Seahawks QB] Russell [Wilson] kept some plays alive. So, it's always been plays run for me."

Kelly did not see his defense affected by the amount of time they were on the field, though. He said they are "built" for that type of exposure.

"They understand what it takes," Kelly said. "We didn't come out of it with any injuries or anything like that. I would imagine they will all be ready to go."

2) Chip Kelly watched the coaches' film of the 44-yard pass interference that cornerback Bradley Fletcher was flagged with on Sunday, and it did not sound like Kelly thought Fletcher did anything wrong.

"I thought he was playing the ball the right way," Kelly said.

Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said after the game that his intention was not to catch the ball. His intention was to draw the penalty.

"I'm actually not even a read on that play," Baldwin said. "I'm clearing it out for somebody else, but when I saw the ball in the air and I saw the defender looking back at me, I just wanted to run into him to try to create contact and try to create a penalty situation. It just happens like that sometimes."

So what's the coaching point for Fletcher on that play? It doesn't sound like there's much the coaches can tell him.

"We can't coach Bradley based upon, 'We think the receiver is going to try to run at you'," Kelly said. "Whenever the ball is in the air, we are talking how to high point it when the ball is up there. We do drills on it and things like that, but it's never based on, 'We think the wide receiver is running at you.'"

The Eagles are now 1-5 with Bill Vinovich's officiating crew. Kelly was especially animated with the officials on Sunday. The Eagles study the statistics of officials.

"I think every crew has their own kind of M.O.," Kelly said. "There are statistics on every crew out there and some call more of one than more of another, but there's still two teams out there. You've just got to deal with it."

3) The Eagles are preparing for the Cowboys for the second time in three weeks. It's not entirely complicated: Kelly said the Eagles take the game plan from the Thanksgiving game, watch that Thanksgiving and then Dallas' last game against Chicago, and add it whatever new wrinkles they saw.

"We have two more games to add in terms of how they defended us the first time that we played them and then how they defended Chicago this past Thursday, so that will factor into our decisions," Kelly said.

The Cowboys were on short rest when the Eagles last played them. They have extended rest for this game. That does not factor into Kelly's game planning. Kelly thinks it would effect the players' preparedness for the game, but it does change the plans.

"I don't think the rest has anything to do with it," Kelly said. "I've never met a coach that has a game plan based on how many days of rest the other team has. …We don't go into the game saying, 'They had less rest, so let's run sweep. If they have more rest, let's run power.'"