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Lions defense just has to 'go faster' than Eagles offense

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Chip Kelly and Sam Bradford

Allen Park — Lions safety Glover Quin sees a potential benefit to playing an Eagles team with a fast-paced offense.

“They look at it as: If you go no-huddle, they can get a lot of plays,” he said Tuesday. “As a defense, you’ve got to look at it as: The quicker they run three plays, the quicker you can go sit down.”

That’s easier said than done, of course, and Quin admitted it will be a challenge slowing down the up-tempo Philadelphia attack.

But in Chip Kelly’s third year as NFL coach, the Eagles’ offense isn’t extraordinarily different than what other teams run, even if it doesn’t look the same as the other 31 teams.

Philadelphia averages 70.9 plays per game, second in the NFL behind Houston. The Lions, meanwhile, average 64.5 plays per game on offense.

To prepare for the Eagles, the Lions have had the scout team run plays faster against the defense, and the coaches have waited to provide the defensive calls until after the offense breaks the huddle, a way to help the defense think faster.

“They go really fast. We’ve just got to go faster,” Lions defensive tackle Gabe Wright said.

The film study isn’t different, Quin said. The Eagles frequently use the zone-read, but a lot of teams work that into the offense now. The toughest thing for the Lions will be limiting the Eagles’ big plays as they rank first in 20-plus-yard gains since Kelly became coach in 2013.

The Lions played 87 defensive snaps against the Packers in Week 10, so even though the Eagles might run plays quickly, the defense isn’t worried about running out of energy.

“If they’re running three or four plays a minute, you get a first-down stop, second-down stop, third down, you’re off the field in 45 seconds,” Quin said.