Chuck Pagano has been a defensive coach for a long time. He's never faced an offense that runs as fast and as up-tempo as Chip Kelly's Eagles offense does. On Monday night, Pagano's Colts defense will be going up against Kelly's Eagles offense, and Pagano knows that the Colts face a tough task.
"It's extremely difficult," Pagano said, regarding how to prepare for the offense (and how the Colts can try to simulate the offense). "We brainstormed and we talked about this the entire offseason in preparation for this game. You think about in college, you've got 100-and-some players out there so it's easy to have two offensive huddles set. One's at the line of scrimmage running the play and the other one's back in the huddle over here and they're getting the play, and so it's bam, bam, bam, bam; you can rapid fire it. We don't have enough players obviously out there to do that. So our guys were creative and come up with some different ways to try and replicate and simulate the tempo. It's not going to be, I think they snapped the ball against Jacksonville last week, I think there was an average of between 25 and 26 seconds left on the play clock. They're on you, so this is going to be about getting lined up, knowing what to do, doing your job, playing great assignment football and being on the same page."
This isn't the first time even this year that the Colts are going to face the up-tempo offense, but the Eagles take things to a whole new level. "We got some work with it last week," Pagano said, "but the tempo is going to be like 10 times than what we saw last week. Our guys did a great job, our defensive coaches and our players did a great job of subbing in and out for each other of making sure that, I think we got caught one time in the Denver game with 12 on the field and they rushed the ball. These guys will give you absolutely no time to do that. Rules-wise, if they sub, then they've got to give us an opportunity to sub, and the umpire will hold the ball and hold the snap so we can get our people on and off the field and get set. But most of the time, they just stick with the personnel that they have on the field, and it's on you before you know what's going on."
"It's really difficult to defend," Pagano reiterated. "It's sideline to sideline, it's grass basketball. They run the football, they're a running team. They averaged I think 160 yards a game last year rushing the football and they rushed for 145 against Jacksonville. You think (Nick) Foles is throwing the ball down the field, and I know they were behind and he threw for 300-plus yards last week, but they're a running football team. They've got two dynamic runners that you've got to deal with."
Chuck Pagano knows what a tough task the Eagles offense provides for the Colts. One of the things that Pagano suggested as to how to stop the Eagles offense is to keep them off the field (sound familiar, Colts fans?) Pagano said that he wants to "play keep away" with the Eagles offense. He said that if the Colts got 40-minutes time of possession, he'll give a "green ball" to his coaches. What's a green ball? "Cash," Pagano said with a laugh. But his gameplan is no laughing matter - as he's seemingly saying the Colts will slow down their offense in order to try to keep the Eagles offense off the field.
The Colts know they'll have their hands full this Monday night against the Eagles, and Philly's up-tempo offense is going to provide problems for the Colts. I'm just not sure the answer on how to stop the Eagles offense is to slow down his own.