On an afternoon filled with perplexing decisions and miscalculations by first-year Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, one play stood out above the rest.
With Michael Vick already sidelined after aggrevating his hamstring and rookie Matt Barkley in the game Kelly called a naked roll out on first and goal on the two yard line trailing 12-0 at the time. What resulted was a disastrous fumble forced by Giants cornerback and former USC teammate of Barkley's Terrelle Thomas which stalled the Birds' attempt to pull the game within one score.
As if it weren't puzzling enough that Kelly chose this play with a rookie with less than two full quarters of NFL football under his belt, he ignored the league's leading rusher in LeSean McCoy standing in the backfield.
“That's the first play we've run since Day 1 here,” Kelly said Monday at his day-after press conference. “We're going to go to kind of what we know the best, what everybody should understand is what we're going to go to.
“If you ask everybody on our team, they know what we were going to call in that situation.”
Well, it seems as though Barkley somehow missed out on those reps.
“I never got a rep of that play,” Barkley said after practice Tuesday. “You see it, you see it on film, you see other guys doing it and so you go through it in your head, but the timing of getting it out with someone coming off the edge like that, you just haven’t experienced it yet.”
As if it weren't troubling enough that Kelly gave Barkley surprisingly few reps leading up to Sunday's game given the uncertainty of Vick's status and Nick Foles being unavailable after suffering a third quarter concussion on October 20th against Dallas, he clearly didn't have a feel for the situation in one of the game's biggest moments with a rookie quarterback under center.
“As much as you want to go through your reads and you know when to get the ball out, it’s different until you get out there,” Barkley pointed out. “The more experience, the more you learn.”
Many point to that play as a difference maker and point the finger at Barkley's failed execution, his head coach included, but in reality it was one of the more perplexing decisions we've seen from Kelly not only in this game but in this his maiden voyage as an NFL head coach.
Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.