By Mary Cunningham
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a simple outlook on the up-tempo offense: It comes at a tradeoff.
The offense can run more plays and eliminate options for the defense, but in turn, the offense likely has to cut back its options as well to keep the pace.
“Can you execute at your pace better than they can execute at that pace?” Belichick said Tuesday before the Patriots’ first joint practice with the Eagles. “That’s really what it comes down to. If you can get your team to the point where you can, then it’s an advantage. If you can’t, then I’m not sure what the advantage is.”
For the second straight year, the Patriots and the Eagles — run by up-tempo guru Chip Kelly — will practice together in the days leading up to their preseason game on Friday, giving New England an opportunity to evaluate its personnel against the speedy scheme.
“Certainly we have plenty of [up-tempo teams] on our schedule, it appears anyway,” Belichick said. “This is a good opportunity to work on it. We do it some ourselves, so when we work against ourselves, we see that.”
Belichick said what was most impressive about the Eagles last season was their ability to gain “huge chunks of yardage” on the ground and through the air. The Eagles were atop the league in yards per play (6.3), alongside the Broncos, and led the league in rushing (2,566).
The Birds finished ninth in the league in passing (4,110), and second in total offense (6,676).
Belichick credited Kelly’s scheme for the success.
“They produce more big plays than anybody else, so I think certainly his scheme has something to do with it. But, of course they have great players,” he said. “It was the whole combination of the staff, the players, the execution, play calling, all the above.
“Bottom line is, though, it’s good. That was the bottom line.”
On Eagles quarterback Nick Foles: “The year that Foles had relative to production, touchdowns, interceptions, his overall handling a team was great. It was outstanding. I don’t know that at that point [when] we were there at training camp, I would have necessarily said that I saw that coming, but you see a good football player. He had a great year.”