The wise John Madden once said “If you can score more points than your opponent, you’re going to win yourself a lot of games.” While there is little you can do to debate that point, you can argue whether or not the most effective way to outscore your opponent is to focus on offense or defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles have drawn their line in the sand, and are standing firmly planted on the offensive side of the football. While the Eagles might not set any single season scoring records, they just might challenge the all-time, made up statistic, of points per minute of possession. Chip Kelly has the Eagles offense operating at a frenetic pace – but can it last?
If there’s one thing that the National Football League is good at, it’s adapting to change. As the league rules change to encourage player safety, offenses have taken full advantage and compiled rosters built for speed, as opposed to strength. Long gone are the days of defensive powerhouses – those teams have given way to high flying offenses and few teams can operate as swiftly and efficiently as Philadelphia.
Adapting to change, however, is a double edged sword, meaning it won’t take long for NFL defenses to implement a scheme that will prevent the Eagles from doing what they do best – at which point the Eagles will again need to adapt their offense to counter what defenses are throwing at them. I think it is their ability (or inability) to counter-adapt that will be the defining moment of the season for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles. In about 3-4 weeks, opponents will start to key in on the weaknesses of the Philly offense, and if they aren’t able to tweak their style just a little bit, their season could take a ferocious turn south.
The Eagles have strong weapons at every major offensive position which gives them a bit of an advantage due to the fact that defensive coordinators can’t draw up a plan to stop just one or two players, but that doesn’t mean that they can keep up this pace. Fatigue and conditioning will also play a factor. College kids can run at this pace, because they don’t take the punishment that NFL defenses can dish out. Ask any NFL player and they will tell you that injuries nag a bit more and muscles get a bit achier, every week after the midway point of the season. Will Chip Kelly be able to keep his guys fresh enough to run the offense at this speed for 16 games?
For now, all we can do is sit back and marvel at the unique and innovative ways that teams evolve each and every year.