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March 09, 2016

Did Leodis McKelvin actually read Chip Kelly’s mind?

Eagles NFL

During newest Eagle Leodis McKelvin’s introduction on Tuesday, the subject of his visit to The Linc back in December came up. Specifically, McKelvin was asked about his highlight reel interception from that game:

McKelvin’s answer was a gift to Chip Kelly detractors everywhere from here to Eugene because it meshes perfectly with the idea that the coach’s play-calling is too vanilla:

Curious about the play, I took a quick look back at the Eagles’ passing plays from that day. Even to the untrained eye, you could clearly see what the Eagles were trying to do. Here is a trained eye drawing it up for you:

McKelvin wasn’t lying about the Eagles running the same play frequently. I counted six separate occasions that Kelly ran the three-level stretch concept out of the same 3-WR formation.

There was a reason that Kelly kept going back to the well, though: The play was torching the Bills defense. By my count, Sam Bradford was 5-6 for 95 yards and a touchdown on these plays. And the only incompletion was a fairly open deep ball that Bradford just missed.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? On the touchdown to Nelson Agholor, you could even argue the more open receiver is Zach Ertz running the corner (7) route:

Of course, not all of these plays were run to McKelvin’s s side of the field. From Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Gowton, here is how the 30-year-old corner described trying to defend the play. Specifically, McKelvin was talking about the post and corner routes:

"If we were going to switch it, or I stay on the outside, and the safety get the post route, and the seven route come to me. And that was pretty much what we had going on. We kept on doing that [when] they kept repeating the offense, so I seen the ball and I just went and go get it. Great play happened.”

On a play earlier in the drive, McKelvin didn’t stay on the outside and Ertz made a catch:

But then with safety help over the top, he makes the decision to pass the post route off, turn around, and make a great play. Notice how McKelvin’s back is to Bradford, but he still knows exactly where Brent Celek is running his route:

Did McKelvin actually own the Chippah? Not really. If we’re being honest, Celek was still open on that play and Bradford made a good throw. More impressive than anything on that play was McKelvin’s ball skills.

Still, even if the new Eagle was a second late, there is probably some truth to the idea that he recognized it was the same play.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann