I don’t hate QB Cam Newton, but I think if there’s one QB ranked in the top 5-8 QB’s likely for an under performance it’s him. And not all of it is his fault…I saw a lot of playaction from him in this game, and it very rarely fooled anyone. I get that the Panthers are trying to install the playaction game, some of the read option as well to take advantage of the athletic ability of Newton, but the reason it’s not working is because Cam is the only one you worry about. Rg3 has Alfred Morris, Kapernick has Frank Gore, Russell Wilson has Marshawn Lynch – Cam has a rapidly aging RB DeAngelo Williams (12 carries for 39 yards in this one) and a chronically broken RB Jonathan Stewart. They just don’t have the credibility to take the focus off of Newton- and while QB’s can legitimize RB’s it’s a tougher road than having the RB help you out.
Help for that running game doesn’t look to be coming anytime soon as rookie RB Kenjon Barner – a somewhat popular dynasty name had another unimpressive game carrying 6 times for just 5 yards.
Be prepared to be sick of the terms “Chip Kelly” and “unique offense”, as the dominating early season story of anything surrounding the Eagles. When I watched this game (granted in preseason nothing is even close to fully installed), I didn’t notice something that was so out of this world that no one had seen it in the NFL ever. Media talking heads will seize on this, and parts of the Chip Kelly offense are unique, but all 32 teams run “unique” offenses when you break them down into verbiage and personal packages etc…
I came in with the impression that the Eagles would simply play “faster” than everyone, and that’s not necessarily true – teams like the Patriots (with whom Kelly had a consulting position with) and Bills (who are putting it in this season) run offenses at similar tempos. What I took away from this was the “spacing” aspect of his offense- several passes underneath, and out wide in the flat – which are designed to give players room to break tackles. It works also with the tempo that should in theory wear down defenses to the point where it’s easier to break those tackles underneath and turn them into 1st downs.
Like the Shanahans did in Washington last season, Chip Kelly is not bringing in a brand new system to the NFL (in fact I’d argue the Pistol was “newer” at least to the NFL), Kelly is simply tweaking the aspects of a West Coast base with a “hury up” offense element added. Don’t get me wrong I would hate to play these guys early in the season because it will take awhile for the league to play defense on these space and tempo issues, but this isn’t so revolutionary it’s going to change the league.
And this is b/c the league’s already changed – defenses can’t hit players anymore so beating the hell out of your opponent to slow him down isn’t gonna work – not just against Chip Kelly, but against Tom Brady, against the read options of San Fran, Washington and Seattle – the league is about to go into video game offense mode, and it may take a few years to come up with some rules (or the relaxing of some defensive rules) to balance it back out.
One encouraging thing for defenses I did see in this game is that the refs actually called an offensive pass interference on WR Riley Cooper, for making an actual pick and preventing a DB from making the switch to his man. That type of call is going to be crucial to policing the game going forward b/c if not: the Eagles and other offenses will be tough to stop.
With that all said you can ignore the Chip Kelly hype as “revolutionary” and maybe even as all that “unique”, but you have to think all Eagles offensive players will get fantasy bumps. QB Michael Vick is claiming it’s revived his love for the game, and that is a telling comment attributable I think more to the “staleness” of Andy Reid – which left town rather than a different set of x’s and o’s. Vick makes a very interesting backup fantasy QB, provided he wins the position and I think he will based on his “fit” vs Foles (Foles didn’t help himself in this one mishandling snaps and throwing an endzone int) He’s the one backup level fantasy QB (like QB 15 or later) that could actually be a top 10 or even top 5 producer at the position if things break his way.
RB Lesean McCoy looked great in this one, and he should get a bump as well. He is unquestionably a top 5 or 6 player in fantasy drafts of all formats, and in PPR he may even become worth a top 1 or 2 selection.