The key to Chip Kelly’s success in the first year will be the offensive line. They’ve got a number of offensive linemen coming back from injuries and yesterday they practiced together for the first time.
He had them working on a hurry up drill at the beginning of practice. The big guys were simply lining up, getting off on the snap running for about ten yards, then getting lined up again, getting off on the snap and going for another ten yards, while the coach was moving the ball from a hashmark on one side of the field to a hashmark on the other. They did this for about eight plays. This is the type of conditioning that the Eagles offensive line will be dealing with.
They might as call that drill the Chip Kelly drill because they’re going to try to use that hurry up to fatigue opposing defensive lines.
I talked to Kelce after his first practice with the team since his knee injury.
“It felt awesome,” said Kelce after practice. “I haven’t played football really against a defense in eight months. Not only that, but it felt good to have all the guys there that are projected to be there.”
He’s battling some tendonitis, which is understandable. The young center says he will need to wisely manage his comeback. Kelce is the key to offensive line because he’s going to be making a lot of the line calls, which requires him reading the defensive alignment and making a decision.
Kelce has the type of attitude which was missing last year. The dude is a fighter, who He’s a leader, who is very tough.
Peters is another huge key to the success of this squad. Im sure Kelly is dreaming of getting LeSean McCoy the ball out in open field with Peters in front of him. The big offensive tackle has revolutionized the offensive tackle position with his ability to get downfield on screens and quick traps. He given many a defensive back nightmares when leading a running back downfield into the secondary.
When asked about whether he had lost any quickness or speed from his Achilles tendon surgery, Peters told guys to check him out when they put on the pads. He said he’s just as good as he was before he got hurt.
The Birds offensive line may be the most important unit on the team. The Eagles are going to be a team that depends on its running game to control the ball, then they’re going throw play action passes after they get that running game going. Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur want to keep defenses moving and thinking, while they run the football on them. The offensive line will be responsible for opening holes for LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk and/or Felix Jones.
If their running game is as good as they hope it will be, it will take pressure off of the quarterback position and the defense. If they can’t run the ball, they’re in trouble.