Kelly looking for another fast start
PHILADELPHIA — First impressions are lasting impressions.
Anyone who watched Chip Kelly’s NFL debut with the Eagles knows as much. When the dust settled at halftime of the 2013 opener the only real question was whether the Eagles had run more plays than points.
It was plays, by a 53-26 margin because Michael Vick was 1 of 2 in the red zone and Washington got a touchdown on a weird fumble that could have been an incomplete pass.
The Eagles want to make a statement in their long-awaited regular season opener against the rebuilding Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The odds makers figure it will be a big statement as the Birds are favored by 10 1-2 points.
“This game is really going to set the tone for our season,” Cary Williams said. “It’s going to set the tone for the season and how we dictate the rhythm, we dictate the game and the outcome of the game.
“We need to be physical both offensively and defensively. Teams are going to look at that first game and get a pretty good impression of who we’re trying to be and what we’re trying to establish. I think it’s pivotal for us to come out and go full throttle.”
The Eagles held a 26-7 lead at the half in what became a 33-27 victory over Washington.
The Jaguars are coming off a 4-12 season in the second year of the Gus Bradley era. Except for veteran starting quarterback Chad Henne, who seems to have been in the league forever, the Jaguars are as obscure as downtown Jacksonville. Try finding a Starbucks around there.
“You never what’s going to happen in the opener or any game, so really the key is just to play good football from the start,” Eagles quarterback Nick Foles said. “And I’ve always believed you have to play team football. You have to play offense, defense, special teams. You have to be solid all around and lean on each other. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Playing a game that counts is a relief for the veterans and Kelly, who has described game day as a lot of waiting around.
“Everybody has been waiting since last offseason, since January,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “Everybody is tired of watching basketball, baseball and soccer. The real deal is here.”