PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Speed kills, and Chip Kelly knows it. He runs his practices fast, and tries to run his offense during games even faster. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick even sought out Kelly’s advice to find out how to squeeze more plays into an NFL game. And now, with the debut of Kelly’s offense ten days away, NFL officials want to be clear that even though Kelly might want his players to run as fast as possible, they’re not going to rush.
“We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo, our officials do,” NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren’t going to rush [unless] it’s in the two minute drill.”
“They had questions about what the parameters were going to be,” Blandino said of Kelly and the Eagles. “It’s going to be different from college.”
It’s not just Kelly and the Eagles who are focusing on more offense. The entire direction of the NFL has focused on more efficient, effective ways of scoring points.
Former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Periera thinks Kelly will have some trouble doing what he wants.
“In the NFL, I don’t see him having the juice to persuade crews to work faster,” Pereira said. “In fact, I know he doesn’t.”
Part of this is as legitimate as it is obvious. The NFL is not the NCAA, and it’s probably something that Kelly knew before the referees informed him of it. However, it’s an issue that will face both officials and NFL coaches will talk more and more about in the coming years, as teams are looking to run offenses faster and faster.
This is not just a Chip Kelly issue, it’s an NFL issue.
That said, teams have run no-huddle offenses for years. Kelly and the Eagles won’t be the first to try to move that pace to the rest of the game, instead of just the final two minutes of a half and a game. As Jimmy Kempski points out, officials were able to keep up with the Patriots last season, and the Eagle shouldn’t present much more of a challenge.
While it may serve as a minor annoyance, it’s unlikely this will be any kind of great hindrance to Kelly’s offense.