So we went around and polled NFL players Wednesday on the question of whether the Philadelphia Eagles' new up-tempo offense under former Oregon coach Chip Kelly is sustainable. You know, since it looked so good in the first half Monday night against the Redskins' mediocre defense and has become the talk of the league on the most overreactive week of the season, right?
The question of sustainability is a significant one to the New York Giants, who don't face the Eagles in September but do face them twice in October. They get them Week 5 at home and Week 8 on the road, so if they can't handle them the first time it'll be fresh in their memories for the second. And while it might be nice to have more than four games' worth of tape to assess before the first time they face them, four is better than the zero with which the Redskins were working when Kelly, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy showed up Monday night and ran them out of their own building.
So the Giants will at least be in a position to plan for the Eagles and it's likely that by the time they face them they will have put some failure on film. And it's always possible, of course, that Vick gets hurt and either isn't 100 percent or isn't able to play. That's a Vick thing, no matter what kind of offense he's in, and this particular one looks willing to make a lot of sacrifices in pass protection in exchange for its determination to run plays as quickly as possible.
My sense is that you'll soon start to hear the same things about Kelly's manic offense that you heard last year and this offseason about the read-option -- that if you can hit the quarterback, you can derail this or any other offense. And the Giants' whole defensive plan is based on the importance of hitting the quarterback. The Giants also made beefing up their run defense a major focus of their offseason, and they have a deep stable of defensive tackles with which to combat the brilliant McCoy.
When the Giants do finally get their first up-close look at the Eagles, they're going to have to do what they always have to do -- pressure and hit the quarterback as quickly and effectively as possible so he's unable to do whatever he's supposed to do on a given play. If the speed of Kelly's offense makes that more difficult, it's going to be on Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul to out-athlete the Eagles' offensive players and make life miserable for Vick.