BLOG: Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Eagles Could Be A Perfect Match
By Kenny Brock
The Philadelphia Eagles are now 3-6, and have lost five straight games for the first time in Andy Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia.
The offensive line is demolished. Michael Vick seems to be getting progressively worse. I think the two go hand in hand. To top it off, Vick was diagnosed with a concussion after Sunday’s game vs the Dallas Cowboys.
Murphy’s Law seems to apply to the 2012 Eagles.
Even though the Giants recent slide has kept the Eagles within striking distance of the NFC East lead, and crazier things have happened, a turnaround doesn’t seem likely.
For argument’s sake, lets just say Reid loses his job at the end of this season. We’ve already heard names such as Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Brian Billick. TV analysts, who some believe still have that itch to get back into coaching, or could be persuaded to do it.
Brian Billick career record: 80-64, 1 Super Bowl.
Jon Gruden career record: 95-81, 1 Super Bowl.
Bill Cowher career record: 149-90, 1 Super Bowl.
All formidable records, from proven coaches who know how to win. Each coach had a top tier defense to help them navigate to their Super Bowl victories.
But there is a name that was circulating around the NFL last year as a possible head coach, and was actually believed to have been close to an agreement with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but decided to return to his college program of Oregon; Chip Kelly.
Kelly is an offensive guru, almost savant like. In his 4 years at Oregon, he is 43-6, with one national championship game appearance, and two Rose Bowls (1-1).
If Kelly decides he wants to come to the NFL, the Eagles could be a great fit.
His offense style requires a certain type of personnel that is already here in Philadelphia. Through nine games, his team has rushed for a combined 3,071 yards & 39 TDs, and passed for 1,908, 24 TDs and 9 INTs.
In 2011, Oregon’s offense averaged 74.1 plays per game. This year they average over 84 offensive snaps per game, ranking them 8th in the nation in that category.
In 2011, the Eagles offense averaged 64.8 plays per game. This year the Eagles average 70.9 offensive snaps per game, ranking them 4th in the NFL.
When you look at the stable of running backs that Kelly has had his in his four years at Oregon: LaMichael James, KenjonB arner, LaGarrette Blount. James and Blount now play on Sundays.
The Eagles current running backs: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili.
When you look at the running style of the backs, they are shifty backs, who can create their own holes and once they are in the open field are tough to run down.
Since Kelly took over in 2009, his quarterbacks have had an average completion percentage of 62.6%. In Vick’s three years with the Eagles, his completion percentage averages out to 60.23%.
Oregon’s quarterbacks have been versatile. They are able to run the read-option, get to the outside when need be, and throw on the run. That up-tempo, always in motion offense has proven tough for defense to get to the quarterback, Oregon allows 1.46 sacks per game. Vick has clearly struggled with the straight drop-back, west coast offense. A combination of poor offensive line play, and his inability to make quick reads and get the ball out early have hindered Vick. Kelly’s offense would take advantage of Vick’s strength, his ability to get to the outside and be a playmaker.
Kelly also utilizes the uncanny speed/athleticism of De’Anthony Thomas. Thomas has rushed for 508 yards on only 61 carries, with 29 catches that equate to just under 300 yards receiving. Thomas, like DeSean Jackson has a smaller build, but can make people look like they’re running in slow motion as he burns by them on cruise control. Thomas lines up in the slot, backfield, split out wide and also returns punts and kicks. Many of the same qualities on display when DeSean is on the field, Thomas is always a threat for the big play.
“Six years ago, Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire. In January, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Raheem Morris and targeted Kelly as his replacement. Although Chip turned down the Bucs’ offer because he had “unfinished business” at Oregon,Kelly’s ascent through the coaching ranks has been nothing short of extraordinary. From an assistant at a Division I-AA school to turning down an NFL head coaching job in six years.”
Owners, presidents, and general managers throughout the NFL try construct winning organizations, always looking to be ahead of the curve. Take the “wildcat” offense down in Miami a few years ago, it was unstoppable when first run in the league. Yes, after a year the rest of the league figured it out, because it was a gimmick system, one or two plays could be run out of the formation. Kelly’s offense is no gimmick. Imagine being able to be the first team to employ this offense in the NFL. The league has been, and will continue to become more of an offensive league. Why not be the first in line for the new product?
If you go up and down the roster, you will see how similarly constructed the Oregon Ducks and Philadelphia Eagles are built.
With Vick’s severe concussion, Nick Foles has stepped in and is slated to play for the foreseeable future. Some believe that Vick may have taken his last snap as an Eagle. If that’s true, and Vick will not be an Eagle next year, it makes the Kelly, Eagles match far less optimal. A Vick-like quarterback is needed to run Kelly’s offense, not your a-typical drop back passer like Foles.
How will Kelly’s “playing like your hair’s on fire” offense translate to the NFL? No one can actually know until he implements his style and executes it on Sundays. But I elieve that his ability to game plan, and utilize the strengths of his players for the betterment of the team could be a winning combination on here in Philadelphia.
Kenny Brock is a producer at WIP, and contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @KBrockJr.