McMullen on the Eagles: Huff revelation is old news
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Josh Huff created some waves at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday when he admitted to reporters that the Dallas Cowboys were calling out some of the Eagles' offensive plays, pre-snap.
On the surface that kind of revelation is especially troubling when the Dallas defense spent so much time in Philadelphia's backfield on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles mustered all of seven rushing yards on 17 carries. Rod Marinelli's stop unit recorded seven tackles for loss in the game and held the NFL's reigning rushing king DeMarco Murray to a measly two yards on 13 totes.
Perhaps the real question, though, is why Huff found it so strange because as an Oregon product he understands better than most that his coach's offense is based on tempo not fooling or outscheming anyone.
In fact, Chip Kelly's offensive philosophy is about simplifying things from an Xs and Os standpoint and creating controlled chaos with the intent of constantly pushing the pace and limiting defensive substitutions, a tenant he believes forces his opponents into far more miscues than his own team which prepares with practices run as quickly as possible in order to improve conditioning and maximize repetitions.
In today's NFL environment at least some took Huff's words as an accusation of chesting, something Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey tried to head off at the pass down in North Texas.
“Oh, no. that’s all myth,” Mincey told the Dallas Morning News when asked about Huff's comments. “It’s all discipline. This game is about discipline. That’s all it was. Nobody called out nothing. We called out what we were supposed to play and we played what we were supposed to play and we were in our position like we were supposed to be in. Kudos to Coach [Rod] Marinelli for scheming up a great game plan and for my teammates executing it. They did a great job.
“We didn’t (say), ‘Oh, this is coming,’ nobody did that. Everybody stayed fundamentally sound. It might have felt like that to him. Truth be told, that’s a lie. We’re just focused on being disciplined and doing what we do best and that’s just being discipline, fundamentally sound and physical.”
Except last season, now-injured backup center David Molk let the cat out of the bag in San Francisco when he heard safety Antoine Bethea calling out the Eagles’ plays.
“He saw it coming. He saw it coming. You saw it on film,” Molk said after the Eagles’ loss last October. “He’d be pointing out (where the play was going).”
After Philadelphia's setback to Seattle in December, no one had to play whistle blower because Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner handled things on his own.
“We knew what plays were coming and it’s a pretty basic offense,” Wagner said. “Their offense is kind of predictable. They have a lot of plays where they can only run one way. We were ready for everything they had.”
The truth is Kelly's running game consists of the counter, the draw and running the inside or outside zone with different formations as the disguise. And that's hardly some kind of state secret.
While working in Eugene, Kelly spoke at a coaching clinic and admitted that was his entire running philosophy.
"This past season, we finished second in the country in rushing the football," Kelly said at the time. "We average 6.2 yards per carry. We have four running plays. We run the inside zone, outside zone, counter, and draw."
Smart players can easily key and diagnose what's coming against the Eagles but fear not, if Philadelphia executes properly, Chip could announce what's coming over the loudspeaker and the opposing defense will not necessarily be capable of stopping it.
Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson has always been very honest about how simple his running game was with Emmitt Smith and the Cowboys back in the 1990s. Teams knew what was coming but were often powerless to stop it because you had a Hall of fame running back behind one of the best offensive lines in the history of football.
The real story here is not that Kelly's offense is "Football for Dummies," it's that certain players in his locker room are starting to lose faith in the system, something echoed by right tackle Lane Johnson.
"Maybe scheme-wise, we need to switch some things up," Johnson admitted to Philly.com. "Maybe they are catching up to us ... We were just one-dimensional."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @JFMcMullen.