FLORHAM PARK: It's hard to find a soul at the Jets practice facility that feels differently, but few are as shocked as defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers.
As the coach prepares his group for New York's battle with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, he can't help but ask himself the same question that's on the mind of many around the NFL. With an offensive line that features Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson blocking for DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, why the heck can't Philly run the ball?
"We can't figure it out ourselves," Rodgers said. "We look at it, it's one thing here or there. They're very dangerous."
While on paper Rodgers' assertion of Philly's 'danger' is easily backed up, the film and tape displayed the last two Sundays tell a far different tale. After leading the league in rushing yards a season ago, Murray has just 11 yards on 21 carries this season. Matthews? He's rushed four times for four yards. Actually, the only player that has had any form of "success" is Sproles, who's averaged 7.7 yards rushing on six carries.
Against the Dallas Cowboys a week ago, the Eagles rushing woes reached a near franchise low. In a 20-7 defeat, Philadelphia ran for just seven yards on 17 carries. The total was the team's lowest since the 1960's.
It wasn't pretty, and in the days since, especially with the team sitting at 0-2, the City of Brotherly Love hasn't been displaying much affection to the Birds. Still, as Rodgers prepares his game plan to shut down Chip Kelly's offense, he knows the team can't sleep on the Eagles.
"When we look at them, we see a totally different team, a team that's a couple plays away from being 2-0," Rodgers said. "They pose a lot of problems for us. In that Cowboys came, we kept watching it, it was 7-0 for a long time. We see a team that's a few plays away from being 2-0."
One of the things the Eagles do so well is the rate at which the offense runs plays. This season, the Eagles are averaging 30.6 seconds between snaps; that's a little under one second faster than a season ago.
As a result, the defense is put in high-pressure situations having to match their play calling with the speed in which the Eagles are calling theirs. It's bang-bang, and if the defense falls asleep, that's when Philadelphia's high-octane 'O' becomes lethal.
Rodgers said the Jets have been preparing for Philly by having their own offense up the tempo a bit. Likewise, on-field defensive play caller and linebacker David Harris has used more hand signals, among other things, to communicate with teammates incase plays need to be called on the fly.
Still, there really isn't anyway to exactly prepare for Kelly's scheme. What the Eagles do no other team can really mimic. While the preparation helps, it's not a perfect solution.
"It definitely poses a problem," Rodgers said. "You're not able to really simulate what they're doing until you get out there on game day. It's scary."