ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — If the Philadelphia Eagles want to run the Washington Redskins ragged, DeAngelo Hall says it won’t work.
“We’re in great shape,” the Redskins cornerback said, “so if they want to try to put their condition against ours, I feel like we’ll win that battle every day of the week.”
That’s not to say Hall is expecting an easy night’s work when the Redskins host the Eagles on Monday. The game marks the NFL coaching debut of Chip Kelly, who has brought to Philadelphia the same run-as-many-plays-as-possible philosophy that worked so well at the University of Oregon.
“I don’t feel like from a tempo standpoint it’s going to be a problem,” Hall said. “I think from a scheme standpoint, what they’re going to try to do as far as exploit different matchups, that’s going to be kind of tough to figure out and put a handle on.”
The Eagles ran a league-high 74.25 plays from scrimmage per game during preseason, offering a taste of what’s to come. Sure, there are other teams that like to play fast — the New England Patriots sometimes look as if they’re scurrying for a late bus — but Kelly’s approach is so novel that Redskins linebacker London Fletcher can’t draw on any comparisons from his 15 previous seasons in the NFL.
“This is a unique style of fast-paced offense because it’s no-huddle, but it’s also a spread zone-read-type offense, things like that,” Fletcher said. “It’s definitely a situation where we’re going to have to have great communication come Monday night. Obviously the communication is going to have to be a lot faster.”
In those situations, it helps to have an experienced hand like Fletcher calling the defensive signals.
“London’s the best at it, so we don’t have to worry about that,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He’s well prepared — he’ll know exactly what we want in every situation. If something happens and I can’t get the call in, he’ll know what calls we’re going to have based off what they’ve got in the game. I feel London’s like having a coach on the field.”
One player well-versed in Kelly’s chaos is Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who lost twice to Oregon while at Purdue, blowing a second-half lead both times.
“Getting lined up quickly is the biggest part of it,” Kerrigan said, “because that’s one of the things this offense is designed to do, is it doesn’t allow you get lined up, getting the personnel you like on the field. They try to make you second-guess yourself, that’s what you’ve got to try to fight.”
And there’s the fatigue factor. Hall can say the Redskins are in great shape — and the coaches can work them hard to make sure they are — but the body starts to feel it when the plays pile up.
“It’s a big difference playing 60 plays and 70 plays, and you just add another 10 to that, it’s a huge difference,” cornerback Josh Wilson said. “One thing about it — when the game is going at that high of a tempo, you don’t really know how many plays you played, you just know, ‘Did we stop ’em or did we not?'”
Coach Mike Shanahan said the Redskins will be at a disadvantage because they’ll be the first team to face Kelly’s attack in a regular season game, but Haslett figures there’s only so much the Eagles can do that Kelly hasn’t already tried elsewhere.
“I’ve watched 23, 24 Oregon films, and what they did in preseason,” Haslett said. “If they can do anything else, God bless ’em.”
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