Chip Chat: On resting starters, play calls

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
3:00
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he will not rest any starters if Sunday night’s game against the Chicago Bears becomes meaningless. Here’s a look at that issue and a few other highlights from Kelly’s Monday presser.

No rest. If the Dallas Cowboys beat Washington Sunday afternoon, the Bears-Eagles game will have no impact on the NFC East race. Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles will win the division if they beat Dallas the next week.

“We’ll know the score,” Kelly said. “People have phones and TVs.”

But he said he would not alter his approach no matter what happens.

“We’ve got to play,” Kelly said. “We’re not in a situation where we’re going to rest anybody. We’ve got to play. We’ve got to get back on a winning track. We’ve got to be ready to play winning football. Our philosophy has always been, it’s on the line every single time you play. It’s not what goes on outside. We need to get better as a football team. Everybody needs to play.”

The game will have an impact on the NFC North race, so there is an element of competitive integrity as well. And an extra win could boost the Eagles from the No. 4 seed to the No. 3 seed if they win the division.

But Kelly said his only concern was sending a consistent message to his team.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a victory party and say, 'Oh, heck, we’ve got to get over to the stadium to play,’" Kelly said.

Out of whack. Kelly defended the play calling that saw LeSean McCoy get only eight carries in Sunday’s 48-30 loss to the Vikings.

“They were definitely playing single-high safety and always had an extra guy down in there,” Kelly said. “There was always going to be an unblocked guy within 2 or 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. That was a little bit different kind of approach. But if you’re going to do that, you have to play man coverage behind it.”

Kelly said that allowed him to get McCoy the ball in the passing game.

“We went for it on fourth-and-a-half-yard and we did not get it,” Kelly said. “I was kicking myself in the tail. We should have thrown a pass in that situation.”

But there were series in which Kelly called all pass plays and the Eagles went three-and-out. A week after McCoy ran for 217 yards, it seemed as if the offense was terribly out of balance.

“It’s hard when you’re not successful,” Kelly said. “If you’re not moving the football, then it’s hard. I would argue the Vikings were very successful in how they threw the ball against us. Didn’t run the ball all that often. But they threw the heck out of it.”

Actually, the Vikings ran the ball 35 times. They stuck with Matt Asiata running the ball some 30 times even though he was averaging just 1.7 yards per carry. McCoy averaged 4.8 yards on his eight carries.

Secondary concerns. The Eagles' secondary was torched for 382 yards, two touchdowns and a bunch of big plays. With Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery coming to town, that has to be addressed.

But first, the coaches have to know who will be available.

“Trying to find out what our health is is an important thing,” Kelly said.

Rookie safety Earl Wolff could be ready to return from his knee injury. But Brandon Boykin (possible concussion), Kurt Coleman (hamstring) and Colt Anderson (knee) were injured during the game.

Safety Patrick Chung is healthy, but he was benched for performance reasons in favor of Coleman. Chung returned when Coleman went down. Cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher played their worst game of the season.

“That’s a big concern for us,” Kelly said of the injury issue.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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