PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles don’t have a lot of time to mope.
As disappointed and frustrated as they were about Sunday’s 33-30 loss to San Diego, the coaches and players only have three days before taking the field again on Thursday against Kansas City at Lincoln Financial Field.
“We’ve been prepared for this since we got here,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said before practice Monday. “We had a plan. We knew we had to start off when the schedule came out playing three games in 11 days. We’ve got three days to train and then we’ve got to go play again.”
The next one is not just another game.
Thursday’s contest against the Chiefs marks the return of former Eagles coach Andy Reid. The Eagles will also be retiring former quarterback Donovan McNabb’s No. 5 jersey at halftime.
Reid will be back for the first time since getting fired at the end of last season. Reid, who is off to a 2-0 start as the Chiefs’ coach, guided the Eagles for 14 seasons and left as the winningest coach in franchise history with a 140-102-1 record.
“It will be cool to see Andy and some of his coaches (he brought to the Chiefs from the Eagles),” Eagles center Jason Kelce said Monday. “But we can’t get caught up in that stuff. We’re not playing Andy Reid, we’re playing the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s what we’re focused on these next couple of days.”
Kelce also has another distraction.
His younger brother, Travis Kelce, is a rookie tight end with the Chiefs.
“Our whole family is going to be there Thursday,” Jason Kelce said. “I don’t think our parents will be rooting for either team, just that Travis and I both have good games. This is more for bragging rights at home during the offseason.”
Thursday’s game will only serve as a reunion for a few Eagles’ players and coaches. Kelly gutted the roster and the staff when he took over in an effort to rebuild the team and the culture.
Of the 53 players on the current active roster, only 32 played for Reid. Running backs coach Duce Staley and tight ends coach Ted Williams were the only holdovers from Reid’s coaching staff.
Reid’s staff with the Chiefs includes former Eagles coaches Tommy Brasher (defensive line), Brad Childress (special projects), Eugene Chung (assistant offensive line), David Culley (wide receivers), Tom Melvin (tight ends), Matt Nagy (quarterbacks), Doug Pederson (offensive coordinator), Emmitt Thomas (defensive backs) and Dave Toub (special teams).
His son, Britt Reid, is a quality control coach. Athletic trainer Rick Burkholder also followed him to Kansas City. The roster features former Eagles safety Quintin Demps and wide receiver Chad Hall.
“Andy was a great coach, but it was time for a change,” said Eagles linebacker Trent Cole, who is in his ninth season with the team. “This is Chip Kelly’s team.”
The Eagles are more focused on eliminating the mistakes and breakdowns that led to the loss to the Chargers.
The defense is coming off a disastrous outing. San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense compiled 539 total yards, the most gained against an Eagles defense since San Francisco had 583 in a 2005 game. Rivers’ 419 passing yards were the third-most ever allowed by the Eagles.
San Diego punter Mike Scifres had one kick.
“We could have slowed down the offense to give the defense a break, but we wouldn’t have scored a lot of points,” Kelly said Monday. “So, you’re in a Catch-22 there. We could have worked the clock a little bit, but if you start handcuffing our offense, then we may not have scored enough points to make it even a tie ballgame.
“I’ve made mistakes. I think we’ve all made mistakes. That’s what this game is all about. No one coaches a perfect game, no one plays a perfect game. But you’ve got to learn from those mistakes and hope that they don’t happen again.”
There were also some missed opportunities on offense, which may have cost the Eagles a chance at a victory.
Quarterback Michael Vick had a touchdown pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson erased by an illegal formation penalty on rookie tackle Lane Johnson. Jackson had another long pass bounce off his hands. Place-kicker Alex Henery missed a 46-yard field goal.
“I don’t have a preconceived notion of what the games are going to be like as far as points scored,” Kelly said. “But I do know that every game we’re going to play is going to be close because that’s what this league is all about.
“I saw a stat that there’s been 31 games played and 22 of them (actually 23) have been decided by a touchdown or less. That just makes us understand how important it is to execute every single snap to your utmost because that play right there could be the difference between winning and losing a football game.”
Despite the defensive breakdowns, Kelly is not planning on making any personnel changes.
Safety Nate Allen is expected to remain a starter against the Chiefs, though rookie Earl Wolff will also get some action. Allen played in 63 defensive snaps against the Chargers. Wolff played in 49 once safety Patrick Chung was moved to cornerback.
“I think Earl is growing and he’ll continue to grow, but he’s still making some mistakes out there,” Kelly said. “We’re excited about what his future is, but we still don’t feel he’s ready to go the whole way.”
Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, practiced on Monday and is expected to play against the Chiefs. Cornerback Brandon Hughes (strained hamstring) did not practice Monday.
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