Chip Kelly, Jim Haslett, and the Calming of Nerves Before Kickoff

I am currently writing this post while watching Chip Kelly’s old team tied with a school featuring “Washington” in its name. Go figure.

Anyway, I will cut to the chase here: I am nervous for today — Way more nervous than I anticipated being when I made my predictions before the season.

The Redskins absolutely demolished Jacksonville last Sunday while the Eagles had some problems with the same Jaguars team back in Week 1. They are currently fourth in the league in points allowed, and Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan figure to try to take advantage of a makeshift Eagles offensive line.

DeSean Jackson is back in town, and while I do not know how many snaps he will be able to play with that shoulder injury, he will be motivated to make the ones that he does play count.

Mike Shanahan is out. Jay Gruden is in. I never believed the younger Gruden to be particularly brilliant, but he is probably a better coach right now than Shanahan was throughout last season.

Most importantly, Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback for the injured Robert Griffin. That frightens me, and I would much prefer to face Griffin if given the choice. Griffin to me is like some extremely volatile stock. You have no idea what you are going to get with all of the variables, but given recent history (the Eagles were 2-0 against Griffin last season), you feel like you would have a somewhat solid plan.

Cousins seems like more of a known commodity in ways as much as that might run contrary to his limited game experience. What I mean is that while Cousins may not be capable of winning a game by himself like RG3 occasionally is, he also will not single-handedly lose one.

Billy Davis called two nice games against Griffin last season, but the Eagles have never faced Cousins before. All of this scares me.

One thing that does not scare me though is that even with the Skins’ coaching regime overhaul, Jim Haslett remains the defensive coordinator. Chip Kelly absolutely owned Haslett last season as the Eagles combined for 57 points and 845 yards in two victories against the Skins.

Haslett found a way to get a few stops late in games, but the Eagles had already poured it on enough where stalling a few times did not really matter.

Haslett is not bad at his job. He took a then moribund Saints franchise to the playoffs during his first year as head coach back in 2000, but Haslett was bad at his job against Kelly’s up-tempo offense last season.

In the Week 1 opener on Monday Night Football, it looked as if Kelly was playing chess while Haslett was struggling to grasp the simplest rules of checkers. The first half of the second game when these two teams met at Lincoln Financial Field was more of the same, and hopefully later today will be as well.

The Redskins — to their credit — made a lot of coaching and personnel changes, and I am pretty nervous for this one, but when I want to calm my nerves, I think back to last year and how Haslett still runs the Skins defense.

Some things hopefully have not changed. Do it, Chip.

Fist Pump GIF

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