Chip Kelly’s NFL offense is the great secret of our time, or at least it is now that we have a definitive answer as to whether or not it’s pronounced “Gif” or “Jif”. Really, the Internet conundrum on that matter rages on, and one day it may divide nations.
So far, we still know little, mostly because those who speak of Kelly’s offense in any detail are murdered shortly thereafter. A few weeks ago LeSean McCoy dropped some vague hints, saying there will be much more running, and “different sets with different backs”. Intriguing indeed, and of course the fantasy implications of what this whizz kid may or may not do are widespread, especially if his innovations can bring Michael Vick back to life.
We also have the observations of the beat writers who have spent many hours at May practices as they watch, wait, watch, and eat. They’ve largely relayed a few fun but still expected facts: there will be a significant emphasis on speed, and very little huddling. Actually, “speed” may not be the appropriate word there, although it will certainly be featured in abundance. Instead, Kelly will likely emphasize pace, pushing it often.
But every time the subject of Kelly’s offense with the Eagles comes up and what he will or won’t do is debated by anyone of prominence, it’s been common to assume that he’ll just rip the covers off of his old Oregon playbooks, and slap the Eagles logo on them.
And that feels both wrong, and too easy.
The latest victim of this low branch reaching is Ron Jaworski, the former Eagles quarterback and current guy who talks on TV. The cool kids call him Jaws, and during a Philadelphia radio appearance he expressed significant doubt regarding Kelly’s offense, and the likelihood that he’ll find success in the NFL.
From Sheil Kapadia:
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaws said during an interview with Harry Mayes and Nick Kayal on 97.5 The Fanatic. “I’m going to say no.”
“I just don’t see NFL passing concepts in this offense. It’s a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts.”
He continued, saying that the NFL isn’t, in fact, college football. The two are different leagues, you see, with entirely different levels of skill. Please go on…
“The NFL is a different league with fast players that have all week to prepare for you. At the collegiate level, you have 20 hours to prepare for that Oregon offense. Take out three hours of game time. You’ve got 17 hours in the course of a week to practice and prepare for that style of offense. It kills you in college. But in the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week – 17 hours a day getting ready, so there’s no secrets.”
I chose to highlight this because it’s another example of groupthink regarding Kelly’s offense, and perhaps a more prominent one. Kelly has said repeatedly that his offense will be catered to the personnel on the field, and while there will surely be elements of what he did at Oregon on display, thinking that it will be an exact replica and therefore he’ll fail is simply foolish.
Kapadia notes that while much of what Jaws references — the bubble screens and quick passing — has been on display during OTAs, quarterbacks have also been dropping back conventionally, and chucking it deep. So if we then make an ill-advised attempt to read between those blurry lines, it’s likely that the final product we see from Kelly in September will be a sort of hybrid.
But really, I’m just making a (slightly) educated guess there based on limited information. I don’t know what offense we’ll see from the Eagles, and neither does Jaws. We’ll all just have to wait until the fall, and then keep waiting throughout the season to see if worked. Then, sometime next January, we’ll decide if it will keep working.