NFL

Can The Eagles Offense Continue To Look Explosive?

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Despite all of the discussions regarding the shortening of the preseason, one team that’s taking full advantage of these games is the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, Philly is 3-0 in games that don’t really count, but that’s just a small portion of the story.

After replacing the likes of Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin this past off-season, a lot of people are expecting to see a major dip in offensive production. During Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s first two seasons in Philly, his offense has ranked in the top five both years and if the preseason is any indication of what’s to come, this offensive unit may be better than versions 1.0 and 2.0.

Through three games, the Eagles have the top ranked offense, averaging 38.3 points per game. The next team is Kansas City at 27.3 points per game. In addition to that crazy statistic, Philly is first in yards per game (429.7), first in rushing yards per game (150.7) and second in passing yards (279.0).

As in most cases, all of this is possible because of the offensive line. There’s no coincidence Philly has posed the top ground attack in the league to this point.

“I think our line is doing a really good job at the point of attack.  And I think our running backs are hitting it,” Kelly said.

There’s been heated competition at the right guard position between Andrew Gardner, Matt Tobin, John Moffitt and Julian Vandervelde.

However, all signs point to Gardner as being the frontrunner. 

“The one thing about Andrew is he’s very consistent, and you know what you’re getting. He’s extremely intelligent, knows how to run angles, and knows where he’s going on every play. He does what you ask him to do,” Kelly said.

“He’s not a flashy guy that’s going to go out there and you’re going to see him drive some guy back 15 yards and put him on his back and pancake him, but he always seems to be in the right spot, and I think he’s worked really hard at it.”

At the same time, when Kelly was asked if the competition was over, he had this to say.

“No, we’ve got time.”

The main beneficiary of the gaping holes has been Kevin Monangai, who has rushed for 126 yards on 21 carries, which is a whopping 6.0 yards per carry average. Along with Monangai, Raheem Mostert has experienced success as well.

Mostert is nearly averaging four yards a carry on 24 carries, but what’s even more impressive is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. The 23-year-old has caught 6 passes for 101 yards to go along with a touchdown.

Newly acquired DeMarco Murray has seen limited action, as have Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner. With five capable backs on the active roster, Kelly was asked if he’ll keep all of them after the final cut.

“We haven’t gotten into that. We’re going to keep the 53 best football players.”

Philly’s running prowess has in-return opened things up for them in the air.

Mark Sanchez has completed 63 percent of his passes to go along with three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 105.3, but Sam Bradford stole the show against the Packers over the weekend.

Bradford was a perfect 10-of-10 and threw for 121 yards with three touchdowns. 

“It was huge,” Bradford said. “Obviously, it was nice to get out there last week and play the one series, but today, to be out there for three series and have three touchdowns, to be able to come to the sideline and communicate with the offensive line, talk to Chip about where we’re going and what we’re thinking, I think that was big, too.”

Young receivers Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor lead the team in receiving yards, but Kelly has been really impressed with rookie Rasheed Bailey.

“I thought coming in here that it may be a little bit too big for him just because [he was] coming from Delaware Valley, but he’s kind of handled everything really well,” Kelly explained.  “First game in the Linc or first two games in the Linc, I thought he’s shown up in both games.  He works extremely hard at it, has a great work ethic.  We knew that.  But then what you don’t know when you have players like that is is the game going to be too big for him?  But he has the skillset to play, and I think he’s shown us that.”

We all know it’s better to take preseason success with a grain of salt, however, this case feels different for some reason.  Maybe it’s because Kelly continues to prove his detractors wrong by putting out a dynamic offense no matter who the pieces are.

Obviously the ultimate test won’t start until the Eagles take on the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football a week from Monday. In the meantime, let’s just marvel at the well oiled machine.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.