Essential Reading: Getting To Know Chip Kelly

The Eagles announced Wednesday afternoon that Oregon’s Chip Kelly will be their next head coach.

We’ll obviously have much more on this development, but here is some background and essential reading to get you started. I’ll update this post with more links soon.

* It’s true that Kelly has zero experience as an NFL coach, but that doesn’t mean he’s been disconnected from the pro game. Kelly has met with Bill Belichick multiple times over the years and helped shape aspects of the Patriots’ offense. From Greg A. Bedard of The Boston Globe:

If you want to see what’s next on the pro level, look to the colleges. That’s what Belichick does, with his alliances with coaches such as Nick Saban (LSU and Alabama), Urban Meyer (Florida and Ohio State) and, now, Kelly.

That’s why when Kelly walked into Gillette Stadium two years ago — and he’s been there three times total — ears perked up among the Patriots’ coaches, including Belichick.

Kelly had become friendly with former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien while both were rising in the college ranks. The UNH coaching staff would visit Brown, where O’Brien was coaching, for pickup basketball games and to talk X’s and O’s.

Kelly told the Patriots he was moving to a no-huddle that only used one word to signify everything involved in a play. Sideline calls take too long. Wristbands too. One word is all that is needed.

* Tim Livingston of wrote that Kelly could bring an aspect of Moneyball to the NFL:

Those fourth down calls epitomize Kelly’s aggressiveness but what the average football fan doesn’t realize is that Chip’s play-calls (the fourth down tries, fake punts, two-point conversions, etc.) are almost always the correct mathematical decision. Like Paul DePodesta and Billy Beane did in baseball, Kelly’s genius comes from exploiting arithmetic that other coaches are too naïve to acknowledge.

* Kelly believes in focusing on number of plays, not time of possession. In fact, he really doesn’t like time of possession, as you’ll see in this video clip.

* Chris Brown of Grantland has written about Kelly extensively over the years. One major question with Kelly is how he’ll adjust to the NFL game. Here’s a look at his offensive philosophy:

Every coach has to ask himself the same question: ‘What do you want to be?'” Kelly said at a recent clinic. “That is the great thing about football. You can be anything you want. You can be a spread team, I-formation team, power team, wing-T team, option team, or wishbone team. You can be anything you want, but you have to define it.” That definition is evident in Oregon. Kelly’s choice of a no-huddle spread offense drips from every corner of the impressive practice facilities in Eugene. Oregon does not run a no-huddle offense so much as they are a no-huddle program.

* You’ll hear a lot about pace with Kelly’s offenses, but as Brown explains, Oregon didn’t just move at one speed:

When the games do begin, there’s no question that the no-huddle makes Oregon’s attack more dangerous, but it’s a common misconception that they have only one supersonic speed. The Ducks use plenty of their superfast tempo, but they actually have three settings: red light (slow, quarterback looks to sideline for guidance while the coach can signal in a new play), yellow light (medium speed, quarterback calls the play and can make his own audibles at the line, including various check-with-me plays), and green light (superfast).

This change of pace is actually how Oregon constantly keeps defenses off balance. If they only went one pace the entire game the offense would actually be easier to defend. When the defense lines up quickly and is set, Kelly takes his time and picks the perfect play. When the defense is desperate to substitute or identify Oregon’s formation, the Ducks sprint to the line and rip off two, three, or four plays in a row — and it rarely takes more than that for them to score.

* One common misconception with Kelly is that he’s always had the best players in the country at Oregon, but that’s simply not true, as Chase Stuart of points out:

Can Kelly simply pack his playbook, spend a training camp with an NFL team, and turn them into the pro version of the Ducks? Of course not; even if his running game works perfectly, his runs will mostly go for 8-yard gains, not 40-yard sprints (unless he’s playing the Raiders). But reducing Kelly to an X’s and O’s guru incapable of adaption is unfairly harsh. Tanier credits the great Nike machine with providing Oregon with superior talent, but that’s not a fair criticism. Oregon has never had a top-ten recruiting class under Kelly, and Rivals generally ranks Oregon’s classes in the teens or early twenties. Spurrier, coaching in talent-rich Florida, not remote Oregon, was playing with a decked more favorably stacked than Kelly ever has. But more importantly, Kelly’s offenses were unstoppable when he coached at New Hampshire without any recruiting edge, and his success at Oregon happened immediately, even before Oregon truly became the nouveau riche of college football.

* This is as close to a profile as you’ll find on Kelly, courtesy of John Locanthi of Willamette Week:

As distant as he is to boosters and as brusque as he is with the media, Kelly is a different person to his players, who laud his ability to communicate complex concepts and schemes. And his relationships with the players goes beyond Xs and Os.

Dennis Dixon was an underachieving quarterback when Kelly was hired as Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2007. He spent that summer before his senior season playing baseball in the Atlanta Braves’ farm system, trying to get his mind off football. The decision to play baseball was criticized by the press, fans and even his own coach—Bellotti. But not by his new quarterbacks coach.

Kelly showed up unannounced to one of Dixon’s games in Orlando, Fla., just to cheer him on.

“It was a big moment for me,” recalls Dixon, now a practice-squad quarterback with the NFL Baltimore Ravens. “I’d never had anyone show that kind of support for me up to that point.”

* If you’re looking for details and explanations about Kelly’s offense, check out’s post titled What Every NFL Fan Should Know About Chip Kelly.

* Pete Thamel of the New York Times took readers inside an Oregon practice:

Why do Kelly’s schemes allow just about any quarterback to lead the Ducks to the top of college football’s statistical categories? The answer comes from the blur that is an Oregon practice, a kaleidoscope of colors, whistles and music. The practices are so intense that even team managers have to tape their ankles, and they illustrate the white-knuckle philosophy of a program designed to leave opponents in its wake.

“The tempo is unique,” said the former N.F.L. coach Jon Gruden, who nearly took a job at Oregon to learn Kelly’s offense. “They’re not the only no-huddle, but they’re as fast as any team that plays football.”

Other programs pride themselves on tempo, but Gruden said he had never seen an operation that was both this fast and this refined. Oregon’s practices last two hours, an hour less than a typical college practice, and there is so little time between plays that coaches must do their teaching with only a few words or wait until the film room.

Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times has also written about Oregon’s practices.

Again, much more to come, and if you have worthy Kelly reading to share, feel free to e-mail me.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Don’t know if it will be a successful experiment, but it’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure!

  • jabostick

    His flip-flopping of the past two years makes me nervous and there seems to be a ton of risk. But there’s no doubt that it’ll be exciting/intriguing. Lurie’s taking a home run swing but it’s a lot easier to strike out when you’re swinging the bat as hard as you can.

  • QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB? QB?

    • theycallmerob

      holy sh!t it’s january., relax…..

      Would it really kill anyone to give Foles a shot? He got thrown in mid-year with no real practice/reps, playing with backups at most positions ESPECIALLY o-line, and a defense that quit until some trash was thrown out towards the end.

      Just because we have Coach Kelly does not mean we’ll be running superfast read-option offense. If you don’t believe it, look at the 1 TRUE team that Kelly’s been tied to (the Patriots) and their super-mobile QB.

    • Rick James

      let McCoy play QB muhahaha

  • mike

    why not Lets see what he can do !! p.s. please cut vick asap, he can’t read a defense

  • Sensei

    Excited for this there is a chance of failure but that is always true of hiring a coach or signing a player

  • Graham

    Exciting….. the question is, who at DC?????

    • Don’t be surprised if Kelly picks a SEC Defensive specialist who has a focus on stopping the advantages of modified spread offenses. In the NFL today the SEC has a grand presence on defense. Big Fletcher Cox is a product of the SEC.

  • Joe D

    If I wanted interesting I’d watch reality TV. I want to see this team win football games and with Kelly here I have my doubts. This piss poor defense is going to be even more exposed. We thought we used to get mad when Reid would churn out 3 and outs with 3 straight pass plays. Oh boy. Get strapped in.

    • FMWarner

      Kelly runs more than he passes at Oregon. And it’s not really close.

      • 1972

        people dont watch the games. thats why so many think geno smiths a running qb, oh and because he black lol

        • That’s pretty much a correct assumption. People here are disregarding Oregon when it’s obvious they don’t follow college football or catch the late night Oregon games. Smith and West Virginia were virtually unbeatable in the early part of the season and may I add the Smith kid can go long and he was accurate to a crop of productive receivers.

    • HarmsWay

      Kelly spreads the field to make it easier to run. FMWarner is right in that Oregon ran the ball more than they passed it. A lot of what Kelly does is predicated on math. When you line up with four wide outs, you immediately move four guys out of the box which means there are only seven guys that the QB, line, and running back has to deal with. Spreading the field also creates more space for a shifty back like say…oh I don’t know…Shady McCoy in which to operate.

      • Oregon averaged 515 yards per game, 307 rushing yard per game in 2012. Basically every Saturday Oregon was hosting a track meet.

      • D3Keith

        Shady and Bryce Brown are gonna do work.

  • FMWarner

    I don’t really have a strong opinion on Kelly one way or another, although I like his philosophy of actually using math to figure out that going for it on 4th down is frequently the best choice. To me, the most reassuring thing about this is that Lurie stayed at it and got his first choice. However the Kelly era turns out, I feel like we have a front office that knows what it wants and can get it.

    • nicksaenz1

      Will you feel that way when the NCAA parks on Oregon’s campus for a while to hand out recruiting sanction after recruiting sanction?

      • FMWarner

        What does that have to do with what I wrote?

        • nicksaenz1

          They couldn’t get what they wanted 2 weeks ago he was first mentioned, and out of nowhere they got him. Is it about the ownership getting what they wanted or Kelly knowing he needed to bolt and picked the Birds?

          • FMWarner

            They didn’t get him a week ago, but it now appears he didn’t turn them down, he just had to think about it. Neither Kelly nor Oregon ever announced he was staying. Even if you’re right, what does it matter? There aren’t NCAA rules in the NFL, and if the allegations are true, he would be far from the only coach to ever get caught up in NCAA trouble.

          • nicksaenz1

            Every report had him returning to Oregon to coach. And if I am right, it’s makes your point about ownership getting their man invalid as if was about them, and not about his situation and needing to go before facing sanctions and his NFL window closing.

          • The Guru

            They didn’t get their man… took 2 weeks to know the sanctions are going to come crush Oregon.

          • nicksaenz1

            Exactly. Finally, someone gets it!

          • Oregon didn’t set the world on fire recruiting. The potential sanctions imposed by the NCAA were a real possibility prior to two weeks ago. It wasn’t a hush, hush investigation. Those possibilities have been hanging over the Oregon program longer than two weeks ago. The possible sanctions at Oregon are no different than what Carroll left at USC to take the Seahawk job.

          • The Guru

            But that’s the point. It’s unfair to say the Eagles got their man when he’s fleeing.

          • nicksaenz1

            Knowing sanctions are coming and knowing what kind of sanctions are coming are two different things. He had everyone believing he was staying, to the tune of the AD saying he was excited to have him back, and all of a sudden he’s out. The fact that they aren’t different than Pete Carroll is exactly why this is about Chip Kelly bouncing the college ranks and not about the Eagles getting their guy.

          • HarmsWay

            If you believe every report you read on line, then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. Every report last night had Gus Bradley as a shoe in to be the next head coach of the Eagles. You can’t believe every report you read. Especially when there are multi-million dollar contracts on the line. Each side leaks false information to improve their leverage in negotiations.

          • nicksaenz1

            I don’t believe every report I read, but direct quotes from Kelly stating he’s returning isn’t a report, they are words from his mouth. And while I understand your point regarding gaining leverage, I don’t think this was a leverage play. It smells of him getting some news of sanctions in advance, making the call to the Eagles (who clearly have no idea what the hell they’re doing) and they bit, because he was their initial man, and they can spin it like they got their guy. If you want a prime example of leverage in negotiations, see Brian Kelly.

          • In what publication had you seen an actual statement from Kelly or the Admin at Oregon saying Kelly was staying, I seen reports but never anything indicating any kind of public relations release?

            Kelly left the Philly interview and attended a Coaches Conference in Tennessee which fueled the belief he was staying at Oregon, he made no Statement or released such on a final decision not to go with the NFL.

          • Københavner

            Typical Philly rag sportsfan. STFU. You’ll never be happy

          • nicksaenz1

            You clearly no nothing.

          • HarmsWay

            Not trying to be an a-hole but I have never seen any article or any press release stating that Chip Kelly was staying at Oregon. Nor have I seen anything that included a direct quote in which he stated something along the lines of “I have decided to stay at Oregon.” It’s entirely possible that I could have missed something so if you could post a link to the direct quotes to which you refer I’d be interested in reading them.

          • nicksaenz1

            It was a direct quote from the AD, thought I saw one from Kelly but I must have been mistaken.

          • HarmsWay

            Fair enough and thanks for the link. This is just my opinion, but when it was first reported that Chip had decided to stay at Oregon, I thought it was odd that he didn’t personally issue a statement. He released one after his flirtation with Tampa Bay last year (see and Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien both issued formal statements when they made their decisions this year. I could be wrong, but I think there might have been some cat and mouse games that were taking place on both sides for the sake of leverage.

          • nicksaenz1

            You certainly may be right. I’m not trying to imply that I’m right and eff everyone else for saying otherwise. If there were some cat and mouse games, the AD looks like a big jackass for saying anything publicly, a pawn in the chess match even, which would likely burn some bridges. I just find that especially hard to comprehend when a recruit tweeted about Kelly being at his house 2days prior to accepting (again, read this in a report or heard it on ESPN). I agree with you about it being odd that he didn’t personally state anything, though. Leaves out that certainty that we all love from our reports which certainly makes it all look shady.

          • HarmsWay

            I see where you are coming from as well. Your points are well taken.

          • FMWarner

            I see what you’re saying, but I guess I just don’t see it as relevant. The Eagles are known to keep their cards hidden, Kelly is the guy everyone agrees they wanted most, they kept at it, and they got him. The rest is footnotes.

          • How many of the reports you are referring to actually included a Statement from either of the principles committing Kelly to staying at Oregon?

            What this coaching search revealed is how out of the loop the Philly Sports Writers really are. By the reports in Philly, Gus Bradley was the choice and the best defensive mind since sliced bread, Never mind Bradley’s defense performed no better than Juan’s at any point in Bradley’s brief career as a Defensive Coordinator.

            The Eagles followers were sold on Bradley based on only a sound bite in the media. There is no justification in Bradley’s resume for Bradley to have been aggressively pursued by an NFL Franchise, no less to following up Andy Reid.

          • johngiam

            WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Gus defense, in todays day n age, high scoring offensive NFL, held teams to 15 points a gameand I dont want to hear your pete Carrol crap cuz it was made known public that Bradley was the one that develops the defensive gameplan, teaches it to the players, and makes the game day calls! We had Mike Tomlin ready to sign last night and we blew it!

          • in 2011 the Seahawks Passing defense was 11th, the Eagles under Juan were 10th, in 2011 Rushing defense, the Eagles were 16th, the Seahawk were 15th. as I stated in my initial post, Bradley was no better than Juan last year and the stats back up that allegation despite the Seahawks all pro Safety as compared to the vacant safety position in Phila.

            Bradley as a candidate to become a NFL Head Coach was media hype and largely unfounded. Gus Bradley doesn’t have on his resume any justification to be promoted to such a position and isn’t worthy of being considered a replacement for the likes of Andy Reid.

          • nicksaenz1

            2011 they were similar because of our weak schedule ending the season and in 2012 we got blown away. Stop.

          • nicksaenz1

            His defense was 4th this year, better than any D Juan coached, and his D improved steadily each year under his watch. Here’s a link quoting the AD as excited to have Chip Kelly back:

          • Well the Defense Bradley lead last year was not better than Juan’s comparing apples to apples. And Juan was coordinator with one hand tied behind his back.

          • nicksaenz1

            How do you figure? First in points allowed and 4th in yards allowed and 4th in takeaways. I don’t know how much more evidence you need to see that his defense was better than Juan’s. And Juan didn’t have a hand behind his back. Please stop.

          • Well, my reference to last year meant 2011

  • knighn

    What I told a Giants fan, “Chip Kelly. Over the next few years, that name is going to haunt one of us. I hope it’s you!” Seriously, there’s a lot of “Boom or Bust” factor with Chip Kelly. With the team that the Eagles have, I can’t imagine that they’re going to BOOM next year (they were a 4-12 team on merit and lucky not to be 1-15). However, give it few years and we’ll see what he can do…

    • unfortunately, the current crop of Eagles have to be blown apart and rebuilt. The best thing about the Eagles are the young guys who were getting nothing in terms of help from perceived veterans in the club house. If a college coach is a benefit I think this is where the benefit comes in handy.

  • R G

    Why didn’t you link Tommy Lawlor’s piece about Kelly? Its the most comprehensive write- up on Kelly available! Geez, I only found out about this site thru his Twitter account. Quid pro quo!

    • Johngiam

      why didnt you post a link?

    • D3Keith

      Here it is:

      That, the Bedard piece and the Grantland piece are by FAR the most in-depth breakdowns of Kelly and what makes him tick. Must-read stuff, if you want to comment on the move and know what you’re talking about.

    • EaglesPulse

      Read that a week or so ago. It was really in depth and a great read on Kelly.

  • nicksaenz1

    can we get some Lovie Smith as DC? Please?

    • What’s in it for Lovie?

      • nicksaenz1

        Rebuild a D? Win something again? Realize that he’s not a great HC and just stick to what he’s good at? Just spit-balling here, not seeing a good reason not to, I guess.

        • He still gets his full HC salary if he stays home this year. That’s a good reason.

          • nicksaenz1

            Best reason I’ve heard yet.

    • EaglesPulse

      Take a look at my article. It explains why Lovie most likely isn’t an option…it’s rather simple.

      • nicksaenz1

        Dan, not trying to be rude or anything like that, I’m just not seeing anything other than that if he can’t be a head coach then he’s taking time off. I’m not seeing the “why he won’t coach” as if there’s some other reasoning aside from his decision that if he can’t be HC he’d just take time away. Thoughts?

  • The Guru

    I cannot wait for this “innovative genius of the game” goes for two and it ends up costing them the game. The worst part of this hire is not his gimmick offense or his complete disregard to any sort of defense. It’s that we actually have to talk about Michael Vick again. Or even worse, that we draft Geno Smith at 4.

    • 1972

      geno smith isnt a chip kelly style qb

      • The Guru

        Actually, you are correct. I was under the impression he was a read option guy who threw over the top. He’s actually a pocket passer. I stand corrected.

        • 1972

          they ran more of a run and shoot style offense. they didnt run the spread option. Its called the air raid offense. alot of short west coast type throws where the reciever can run after the catch.Thats One of the reasons why his completion pecentage is so high. Check out oklahomas offense. thats kind of the style we’ll have this year if we use foles

    • Uninformed football fans were saying the same thing about Jimmy Johnson coming out from the University of Miami to coach the Cowboys. The Oregon Defense in 2012 average 3.1 takeaways per game. 23 interceptions, and more than 10 fumble recoveries in 2012 and held some of the top performing offenses they played to minimum scoring opportunities while allowing 55% of all red zone opportunities, 4th in the nation.

      The assessment Kelly disregards defense is woefully incorrect Oregon fielded one of the better defenses in the nation trailing only Alabama and Notre Dame in 2012

      • The Guru

        Jimmy Johnson was 25 years ago and he also pulled off the biggest trade in the history of sports to get his rings. go read about how Chip Kelly coaches defense….

  • Jleet

    U people are negative. Never seen such a negative fan base. We got a hell of a coach. Just need someone to take care of the D

    • nicksaenz1

      Which is the exact problem. We’ve needed someone to take care of the D for the last, well, since Jim Johnson died. That’s was this wasn’t great hire. It’s why many fans are, rightfully, unhappy.

  • theycallmerob

    “I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said after his team’s 56-31 victory Saturday night.

    “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”


    keep Nick, cut Vick

  • barry_nic

    Wild week huh? After all of the gamesmanship they got the guy they wanted in the first place. Before we start casting doubt about this hire, see who he hires on as a staff. Coordinators are key for success in any league, so if he hires the right group beneath we’ll be cool. This may turn out great or not, but it’s going to be pretty interesting! Either way it sure beats the last few years of apathy we’ve been going through.

  • metaReign

    When Lurie found AR in 1999, there weren’t much internet to the fan base. There weren’t much hype when a nobody became the Eagles coach and lasted 14 years.

    Lurie made his choice and was blessed to have hired the coach for the long haul. Not many owners, goes out with 2 coaches in their tenure of holding down one team.

    CK is the 3rd coach of the Eagles, since Lurie bought the team. All the hype is about a college coach with no NFL experience and may or not be able to transistion to the NFL level.

    AR was never an NFL coordinator, let alone a HC. Lurie hired him and kept him even when the team had a few worst recorded seasons, but AR would bring the team back to winning form the following year.

    Lurie would except a losing season, long as the next season picks up into a winning year. Lurie seems to be doing exceptionally well with the HCing search. When you look at Tampa’s Greg Schiano, he didn’t do so bad this year. Kelly and Schiano at the college level, shows how much difference it is between the 2 of them. Schiano got a team with a few good pieces and built the rest from the draft, UDFA and veteran FA. How much worst can Kelly do in his first year, in the NFL, than Schiano have done? Does he deserve the credit for going from the college ranks into the NFL? Coordinators haven’t been chosen, players have not been evaluated, the draft has not began and FA isn’t near in sight. We’re still signing players to the team. Does he deserve credit? Some says YES, others says NO. Regardless, this is the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, it’s Lurie’s and our team, that’s the way it is…… FLY EAGLES FLY