Chip Kelly’s High Flying Circus

Chip Kelly, Circus Master

Chip Kelly, Circus Master

The visuals from the Philadelphia Eagles win over the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football were well worth the wait.

After watching ESPN’s fawning over and RG3 preening in anticipation of his highly anticipated return to the gridiron; after listening to the negative ESPN nabobs questioning how the University of Oregon Ducks‘ offense could possibly work in the modern NFL and enduring their almost unanimous vote (Well done, Trent Dilfer!) in favor of the hometown Washington Redskins; after watching RG3 burst out of the inflatable Redskins helmet to kneel upon FedEx Field (Did you too wonder whether RG3 was going to kiss the FedEx turf?), it was a pleasure to view Washington, D.C.’s reactions to Chip Kelly‘s High Flying Circus.

Such was the pleasure of hearing the stadium rocking “RG3 Is Back!” celebration turn into a hushed “WTF is happening?!?” moment-of-crises for Redskins fans.  Watching the Skins’ defense waving to each other; gesturing wildly in one direction or the other with each new formation wrinkle.  Seeing the expression on Mike Shanahan‘s face as the Eagles’ score mounted and his offense sputtered throughout the first quarter.

McCoy had his dancing shoes on

McCoy had his dancing shoes on

The only visual I did not enjoy was the look on Robert Griffin, III’s face as he struggled to counter the ease with which Michael Vick and the predatory Eagles sliced through the Redskins’ defense.  It was obvious that RG3 is not completely back from his catastrophic knee injury.  Respecting Griffin’s game, it was tough to watch him struggle last night.

Now if it was Tony Romo …

Yep, Chip Kelly’s High Flying Circus was in town!  There was plenty for Eagles fans to like …

  • ease with which Eagles receivers were getting open
  • quick, decisive reads Vick made in shredding the Redskins’ defense
  • absence of predictability
  • LeSean McCoy racking up 112 yards rushing in the first half
  • 21 Eagles first downs to 3 for the Skins in the first half
  • turnover tally favoring the Birds
  • surprisingly efficient defense
Trent Cole likes playing defense standing up

Trent Cole likes playing defense
standing up

As much fun as last night was, this post really is not the near-sighted love fest it sounds like.  This Eagles fan has been through too many wild roller coaster rides that ended on the business side of a brick wall to think this game can be this easy.  For surely there be monsters out there just looking for the chance to gut this circus and dance on its crushed three-ring tent.

That being said, it was refreshing to finally get the wrapper off the new toys and see how well they played together.  We thrilled to see an offense that had you perched on the edge of the seat to take it all in.

We were relieved to see a defense that remembered how to tackle and found ways to get the ball back.  We were delighted to find that unorthodox can work if for no other reason than it made football look like fun for both players and fans.

But beware … There be monsters out there!

My concerns start with Michael Vick‘s always tenuous hold on football health, the possible adjustments that the League’s defensive geniuses will throw at Chip Kelly’s HFC, the ability of McCoy to handle the workload AND stay healthy, and whether the defense can maintain a high level of play (at least from that first half).  The rather obvious observation from last night’s game is that keeping the trio of Vick, McCoy and DeSean Jackson healthy will be key to this team’s long-term football health

Yep, there are questions aplenty.  But at least the ride looks to be exciting!

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