Hear that, Trent Richardson keeper or dynasty league owners?
The man who schemes for one-point safeties has wasted little time pursuing NFL employment following the Oregon Ducks’ pumping of Kansas State last night in the Fiesta Bowl. As expected, Chip Kelly is the Browns’ top target to fill their head coach vacancy, and he interviewed with team executives today. And now the wheels, they’re spinning rapidly.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that Kelly is close to a deal to become Cleveland’s next head coach, meaning he could soon be the mind behind a young offense that includes Trent Richardson, and quickly emerging wide receiver Josh Gordon. Kelly has been honest about his innovative spread-option system that’s been so successful in college football, primarily because it also includes an intensely fast-paced hurry up approach that doesn’t allow defenses the opportunity to make the proper substitutions. He’s not sure if it’ll be successful in the NFL, and therefore he’s also not sure how much he’ll use it.
But even if Kelly brings a lighter version of his playbook to the next level, Richardson will benefit immediately due to the open space that’s created. Richardson’s running effectiveness is well known, but he also had 367 receiving yards in his rookie season, good enough for 11th at his position. He fits the mold of the versatile running back who’s ideal for a Kelly system, and the staple runs of a Kelly offense (inside zone, outside zone, and power) are identical to the main plays he ran out of the backfield at Alabama.
Uncertainty would surround Brandon Weeden, and if he can succeed under Kelly. A little more mobility is preferred in such a fast-paced offense, and therefore Weeden could limit how much Kelly implements the key elements of what’s made him the rock star of this hiring season. Or if he prefers, the Justin Bieber of this hiring season.
It’s quite possible that Kelly looks elsewhere immediately, giving up on the Weeden experiment and bringing in a faster set of legs to play under center.