The Chip Kelly Effect
Throughout the history of the NFL there have been many offenses that have changed the game. In 1968 the late great Bill Walsh created what we know of as today as the west coast offense, in 1988, Boomer Esiason ran the first no-huddle offense, and in 1999 the greatest show on turf ran one of the best offenses in NFL history.
Change is the only constant
Over the past ten years we’ve seen the Wildcat offense run its course, and then over the past couple of season we’ve seen the Pistol and Read Option offenses try to make it in the NFL. The Wildcat offense is rarely seen anymore, and defensive coordinators are finally starting to get a hold on the read option.
The NFL is a copycat league, but it takes a great offensive mind to create a system that will last in the NFL. One of those offensive minds is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly.
Catch me if you can
Kelly’s fast paced spread offense attack was an instant success at Oregon where he coached before coming to the NFL. In his first season with the Ducks, they lead the Pac-10 in scoring with 38.15 points per game, in total offense with 467.54 yards per game, and because of those numbers, they became the highest scoring team in Oregon Football History.
Prior to Kelly’s arrival at Oregon, Dennis Dixon struggled, but under Kelly, Dixon was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and was a Heisman Trophy Candidate.
Chip Kelly changed college football and changed the Oregon Ducks tradition. Kelly’s legacy is that he took over a good program and turned it into a national power.
Taking it to another level
Much of the same can be said on Kelly’s effect on the Philadelphia Eagles. Most college coaches struggle in the NFL, but not Chip. Chip Kelly brought a fast-paced offensive approach from Oregon to Philadelphia last year bringing much excitement to the organization.
The effect Chip Kelly has on his players in undeniable. In the 2013 offseason Riley Cooper made controversial remarks at a Kenny Chesney concert. Instead of being released or hiding at the bottom of the depth chart, Cooper went on to have career high numbers.
The same can be said about Nick Foles who struggled playing in seven games in 2012 throwing six touchdowns to five interceptions. Taking over in week 5 of the 2013, Foles went on to have the greatest season of any quarterback in NFL history throwing 27 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Foles and Cooper weren’t the only players who benefited from Kelly, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson went on to have career high numbers as well and in 2014 Darren Sproles is back to looking like he is on the right side of 30 through the first three games and Jeremy Maclin shows no signs of ACL surgery last season.
The Eagles had always had a high powered offense under Andy Reid, but nothing compared to what this offense has done over the last two years. The Philadelphia Eagles have lead the league in explosive plays under Kelly and were the second ranked offense in 2013 behind only the Denver Broncos.
Fast and Furious
Just as Oregon did during his four-year stint there when the Ducks were 46-7, Kelly’s Eagles run plays at a furious rate, running a play every 23.38 seconds, the fastest in the NFL. The scary thing is, Kelly would like to be even faster.
You can see the effect that this has on the opposing defense. In 2014 the Eagles have fallen behind by ten or more points in the first three games of the season and have managed to come back in all three games in the second half. They are the first team in NFL history to do this.
The fast pace of the Eagles wears on defenses as the game goes on. While the Eagles offense is as fresh as it’s been all game, the defense is tired.
Built to last
Chip Kelly’s system is finding early success and unlike other gimmicky offenses, it is here to stay. While Chip Kelly is gaining more confidence and getting more comfortable in the NFL, so are his players. NFL defensive coordinators better be on the lookout, because the next great NFL offense is happening right before them.