Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is coming off an extremely efficient outing against the Washington Redskins on Monday night and is set up for an incredibly favorable matchup against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers secondary was helpless against Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans on Monday night. San Diego has a short week to prepare for the blistering pace of Chip Kelly's offense and Kelly's ability to get his best athletes in space.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has been the talk of the NFL world for the pace and structure of his offense, specifically in discussions about the long-term feasibility of the offense given the punishment taken by Michael Vick on Monday night. We're not worried about whether the offense can be sustained for the entire regular season, but rather that the San Diego Chargers have a short week to prepare after surrendering 346 yards and three touchdowns through the air to Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans.
It's worth noting that Chip Kelly is looking to up the tempo this week and reduce the time between plays. Despite getting off 53 offensive plays in the first half, Kelly described the Philadelphia pace as "slow" following the win over the Redskins. Decreasing the time between plays forces the defense to be more vanilla, unable to change personnel or dial up exotic blitzes. Let Chip Kelly get comfortable against a consistent look from the defense and there will be plenty of opportunities for big plays.
This week's matchup is perfect for Michael Vick and the Eagles. The Houston Texans shredded the Chargers on short passes, which is where Vick excelled against Washington (all but two of his 15 completions came on passes of 10 yards or less). Outside of Eric Weddle the San Diego secondary is very average. The Chargers had no answer for Andre Johnson, mixing up their coverages and personnel but still unable to contain him. Mixing in the inability to rush the quarterback (only two sacks of Matt Schaub) and having to account for Michael Vick in the run game this week means major issues on Sunday for the San Diego defense. There's no help on the way, as Manti Te'o didn't practice on Thursday is expected to miss the game.
While the Eagles don't boast a premier wide receiver on the level of Andre Johnson, their overall complement of weapons will stress the Chargers defense in ways the Texans couldn't. The speed of DeSean Jackson will force the Chargers to give safety help over the top or accept the consistent threat of letting up a game-breaking play. LeSean McCoy will stretch the defense horizontally in the passing game, plus is a serious rushing threat after ripping off 184 rushing yards against the Redskins. Brent Celek provides a strong receiving option at tight end, with Riley Cooper standing in as a big target on the outside.
The ultimate threat, and player set to go off on Sunday, is Michael Vick. The Chargers will have to choose between respecting Michael Vick as a runner, providing consistent help over the top, or playing soft in the secondary. The Eagles have the speed to take advantage of single coverage on the outside, Vick was very effective throwing the ball underneath against Washington and his ability as a runner is a given.
Pick your poison, San Diego.
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