This week we’re taking you inside the Eagles’ next as the Broncos look to go 2-0 against NFC East teams so far this year. We talked to Mike Burke of Eagles Faithful to get his take on the team’s ground game, Chip Kelly, and the struggling defense.
Let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with Eagles Faithful.
Now it’s the Eagles leading the league in rushing. How do you think teams can slow them down on the ground?
LeSean McCoy is an absolute monster. Let’s get that out of the way first. The way he’s running the ball this year is just insane. There’s no one in the league that can cut back the way he does. The only way that you can really slow down Shady is to have your defense swarming the whole game. Everyone needs to make an effort to get to the ball on every play. This type of effort isn’t easy to give against an offense that moves as quickly as the Eagles but it’s going to be necessary. If Shady has unlimited room to cut back and break a play open, it’ll cause real headaches for the Broncos defense. Instead, guys need to be trying to get to the ball to take away those lanes.
In terms of Michael Vick, he hasn’t really been rushing the ball with any consistency. He’s still trying to improve the “read” part of the read-option. He will make plays here and there with his athleticism and take what’s given to him, but Shady is the really the guy to watch out for in the run game.
From a fan’s perspective, what’s the general consensus on how Chip Kelly is doing so far?
Overall, I don’t think expectations were very high coming into the season in terms of winning games which is much different than in years past. Everyone knew the defense was going to be a real issue and there more so just a level excitement to see how Chip’s style of offense at Oregon would look in the NFL. He really hasn’t failed to disappoint. The offense has been a lot of fun to watch, even in the losses. There have been some things that he has done that people would have had Andy Reid’s head for. He made an awful challenge in the first game and really botched clock management at the end of the Chargers game. However, I feel most fans have a longer vision in mind for Chip. I feel they see that he’s already shaping a new landscape and as he gets a couple of years under his belt and builds his roster that they could be a great football team.
DeSean Jackson is second in the league in receiving. Tell us why he’s so deadly and how can he be slowed.
I really felt before the season that DeSean would be a great fit in this offense. However, I did expect him to have a role similar to DeAnthony Thomas at Oregon. My vision was him lining up in a lot of different places and getting the ball into his hands quickly. Those plays are happening here and there but it’s nowhere near the volume I thought it would be. Chip Kelly seemed to have a different vision for DeSean and it’s clearly working out. He’s using an explosive ground game to draw defenders to the line of scrimmage. When they do, DeSean ends up with single coverage outside and no help over the top. There’s not a lot of corners (if any) who are going to run stride for stride with DeSean. He’s able to do a tremendous job of getting behind the secondary with his quickness and Mike Vick has such a strong arm that he can get it to him deep with little effort.
I also think that he’s matured more as a player this year. He’s still shown that he can have a hot temper, but I feel that he’s more committed this season. I think he’s putting more time in off the field and it’s paying off for him.
The Eagles are giving up all kinds of yards and nearly 29 points per game. Their weakness really seems to be on run defense. What’s going on there?
Correction, their weakness is defense in general. They can’t stop the run. They really can’t stop the pass. It’s just an absolute disaster. Everyone had very low expectations for the defense before the season, and they haven’t failed to disappoint. The hope for this season was to get some wins by just putting up a ton of points on offense.
The defense in Philadelphia has been bad for a number of years now. After the passing of Jim Johnson and Brian Dawkins heading to play for some team that I can’t seem to recall (will never get over them letting him go), the defense has been on a downward spiral. The thing with Chip’s offense is that you don’t have to have an amazing defense. You just need a group who can play decent while the offense outscores the other team.
The defense is pretty much at rock bottom. For the rest of the year, I’d just like to see some of the younger players develop and show promise. They’ve moved to a new scheme this season and it’s going to take time and a transformation of personnel before they are able to make any significant strides.
Finally, your prediction for the game?
I must say that I don’t think this is going to end well for the Eagles. Like not at all. I look at Peyton Manning and how well he’s played in the first three weeks. If it’s not the best start he’s had to a season, it has to be in the conversation. Then you take a look at the Eagles secondary and how terrible it is. It just doesn’t add up well. Give me the Broncos 45-27.