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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why Philadelphia is Perfect Preseason Pairing for Patriots

Chip Kelly and Michael Vick are all smiles at Eagles training camp.

The New England Patriots eagerly head to Philadelphia this week to participate in joint practices and a preseason game with the Eagles. Rookie head coach and offensive savant Chip Kelly brings his frantic-paced offense to the NFL with the Patriots getting the first chance to see them up close

Here are 3 reasons why this match-up couldn't be any more perfect for New England:

1. Facing Up-Tempo Offense

HISTORY: The Patriots unleashed a fierce no-huddle offense on the league in 2012, averaging an incredible 74.4 plays/gm. Their inspiration? It was of course Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks (more below). 

CONCLUSION: In this copycat league, even more teams will be integrating hurry-up components to their offenses this season (and it just might be the future of the NFL). What better way to start preparing than by facing the godfather of the modern up-tempo attack?

2. Building Confidence Against a Rebuilt Defense

HISTORY: Philadelphia sported one of the most porous defenses in the NFL. They finished 29th in the league in 2012, giving up 27.8 pts/gm. They have a new defensive coordinator Bill Davis and are transitioning from Wide 9 to two-gap 3-4

CONCLUSION: As the Patriots new offensive weapons look to gel with Tom Brady, you couldn't ask for a more vulnerable defense to face right off the bat.

3. Picking Chip Kelly's Brain

HISTORY: If the advent of the joint preseason practice was a windfall for anyone, it would be the cutthroat coaches of the NFL first and foremost. A legend like Bill Belichick has been able to swap notes with impressive football minds like Sean Payton, Greg Schiano (and now Chip Kelly).

CONCLUSION: The coaches have created an environment where they can share best practices and create competition in a low stakes environment. Whether it be about using one word playcalls or how to run practice, the Belichick/Kelly connection has already reaped some benefits. You've got to think that these two football visionaries have many more unique ideas to share with each other.

What do you think of these joint practices? What team would be your ideal matchup for the preseason?

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