Who is the coach that Bill Belichick borrowed from? Who Urban Meyer said took what he does offensively to another level? The answer is Chip Kelly. Kelly’s spread offense rolled the Pac-12 and had staggering rates of efficiency. The Ducks of Oregon ripped through teams as they became ‘Kings of the West’.
The way Kelly ran the ‘Quack Attack’ revolutionized the game of college football. Kelly had a unique running based spread system he became CEO and coach of. The NFL took notice. After turning down the Tampa Buccaneers before the 2012 season Kelly finally answered the call to the pros. Shortly after Oregon won the Fiesta Bowl in impressive fashion over the Kansas State Wildcats; Kelly accepted the head coaching job for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Robert De Niro’s character in Silver Linings Playbook and every real life Eagle fan like him rejoiced. As Philadelphia was buying into the hype the rest of the country and NFL experts had their questions. Can Chip Kelly’s spread offense really translate to the NFL?
When most people think spread offense they think of Sam Bradford’s Oklahoma years or the Air-Raid offense Mike Leach ran at Texas Tech and is now installing at Washington State. Kelly’s spread is different because it is a true run first offense. The offense Kelly runs is a numbers game.
Most teams have a two-high safety look in the secondary with five to six men in the box. When there is five men in the box Kelly instructs his players to run the ball most of the time because its five blockers on five defenders. Combine that with backs that have 4.4 and below 40 yard dash speed and its a lethal combination. If a team brings that extra 6th man then the Quarterback’s dual-threat ability comes into play. He must read the unblocked defender.
How they beat that unblocked defender is the basis of the option. Kelly has plays for the quarterback to pitch, pass or keep the ball all based on who the unblocked defender decides to go after.
Formations in the NFL can very and the Pistol under QB’s Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III have proven its the most effective in running option based plays. Take Kelly’s principals of numbers and apply them to the personal in place in Philadelphia. To run the offense he has the most accomplished dual-threat QB of all-time in Michael Vick. Vick just restructured his deal to free up cap space for the Eagles. The Eagles also signed former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon to push Vick and possibly play knowing Vick’s injury prone history.
The next thing that is a must in Kelly’s offense are two fast runningbacks that can handle the offense’s fastbreak nature. Oregon called on LaMicheal James, Kenjon Barner and D’Anthony Thomas to fill those roles. The Eagles have established top-5 RB LeShawn McCoy and NFL up and comer and former #1 recruit in the country RB Bryce Brown.
Another element in Kelly’s offense are well conditioned receivers that can block and run deep routes quicker then average pass catchers. The quick and deep routes provide a stretched defense for QB running and when passes connect get huge chunks of yardage in seconds. If the defense runs a safety blitz or goes 1-high safety for any reason the players on the field know to check to a pass and attack the opening. The Eagles have Jeremy Maclin and DeShawn Jackson to fill the deep attacking roles.
Kelly’s offense is known for its blazing speed but what it really is, is a stoplight offense. Red-light means to wait for Kelly to call a play. Yellow means a play is called but audible if necessary and green means go. On green-light the coaches or the QB are calling multiple plays at once to capitalize on a gassed defense. The average amount of time in between snaps is 14 seconds.
Kelly is big on pace and making decisions quickly. That means a weak Eagles offensive line won’t have to hold their blocks as long as they would in a more traditional offense. They also have the ability to add a top tier OL in this year’s draft with the 4th overall pick. If Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel drops to them they will pounce but Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher is still a nice consolation.
The fast break pace of playing has already been brought to the NFL by the Patriots and the Pistol formation has been established by the 49ers and Redskins. Now combine both and football fans will see the Eagles offense under Kelly take flight next year.
The man himself explaining his genius
Every touchdown Oregon scored in the 2012 season