Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly On the Read Option

During Chip Kelly’s final media session last week, a reporter posed the following question:

There’s always been talk about whether the option will work in the NFL. You seem to be running quite a bit of it. Is that a fallacy…?

Kelly interrupted. “Is it a fallacy that we run quite a bit of it?” he said. “Yes.”

Ever since he was hired back in January, Kelly has maintained that he would adapt his offense to personnel. That may or may not include a scheme where the quarterback has to be a running threat.

For months, many wondered what the head coach was looking for out of his signal-caller. But the team’s selection of Matt Barkley in the fourth round showed that Kelly is open to rolling with a quarterback without much mobility.

During practices open to the media, we saw the offense take reps running the read option, and not just with Michael Vick. Nick Foles and Barkley had turns at it too. But during team drills (7-on-7s and 11-on-11s), it wasn’t central to the offensive attack.

“If you watch us, we may run two of them in practice,” Kelly said. “We don’t come in here and say we’ve got this play that no one knows about, watch it, and we run it twice. We have an offense that has a great size to it in terms of what we’re doing, that’s just one small part of it. It’s a weapon to be used. It’s a tool in the toolbox. If that situation comes up, you use that tool. If that situation does not come up, we may not use that tool. But we have it in our toolbox, and what we want to do in our offense is have enough tools in our toolbox that we can compete every Sunday. And then take those tools out.”

Kelly estimates that about two-thirds of the Eagles’ offense has been installed. We’ve seen some of the read option. We’ve seen wide receiver screens. We’ve seen two tight-end sets. We’ve seen a heavy dose of the running game. And we’ve seen downfield passing concepts.

With the quarterback competition expected to heat up during training camp, it seems clear that Kelly will decide how big a part of the offense the read option is based on who he chooses as the starter.

But there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be at the core of the Eagles’ operation.


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Kelly expects players to be in shape when they return for training camp. “You can’t fake football,” he said.


Zach Berman of the Inquirer takes a look at president Don Smolenski’s role in the organization:

Whenever Roseman signs a player, he consults with Smolenski. When Kelly wants to play music during practice, plans for training camp at the Eagles’ facility, or needs a significant investment in weights and technology, those issues must come across Smolenski’s desk.

“But it’s all with the eye toward how do we make this work, and what’s the best way to make this work?” Smolenski said.

Vick needs to be patient, writes Rich Hofmann of the Daily News:

The problem for Vick is that Kelly has made it eminently clear that he is not close to making up his mind. And that if Kelly were to make up his mind based upon what everyone has done so far in shorts and against air, the decision might go Foles’ way, not Vick’s.


No offseason for Birds 24/7. We filled up our notebooks last week and have plenty to get to in the coming weeks.

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