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Friday, September 27, 2013
Crunching numbers, missing Patrick Chung

By Phil Sheridan

PHILADELPHIA -- The numbers seem to contradict each other when it comes to figuring out how effective Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense has been so far.

When it comes to running plays quickly, the Philadelphia Eagles are second only to Buffalo. They have run a play every 22.2 seconds they have possessed the ball, which suggests Kelly is getting what he wants.

However, the Eagles are tied for 15th in the league in total number of offensive plays run. After that eye-popping 53-play first half at Washington, the Eagles have run 146 plays from scrimmage. Their opponents have run 205 plays since halftime in Washington.

Kelly
“They're running a lot more plays and we're not running enough plays,” Kelly said. “That's what I mean. That's the whole argument that I've always had with the time of possession, because a team can hold it for 40 minutes, if they run the same amount of plays, that's a different deal. Right now, we’re not running enough plays on offense. We're turning the ball over too much offensively, we're not executing the way we're supposed to execute, and that's what we have to do to be able to keep our defense off the field.”

New England is tops after three games with 225 offensive plays.

Kelly dismisses time of possession as meaningless, but there is an obvious correlation between possession and the number of plays possible. The Eagles are dead last in the NFL in possession time at 24 minutes, 25 seconds per game.

Interestingly, the Bills, the only team running plays faster, are next worst in time of possession.

As pointed out by my colleague Jeff Legwold, who covers the Denver Broncos for ESPN.com, the Eagles have had only one three-and-out possession that ended with a punt. The drives that are too short and add stress to the defense have been marred by penalties and turnovers.