Weekend Reading: Are NFL Coaches Down On Chip Kelly?

A few links for you this weekend.

Mike Freeman put together an Eagles training camp preview. In it, he says that the majority of NFL coaches are of the opinion that Chip Kelly won’t make it on this level.

This is for certain: Around the league, few coaches think Kelly will succeed. Coaches are a highly cynical bunch. They think the daily rigors of the sport will beat Kelly’s schemes into oblivion and he’ll be chased back to college. It will be up to Kelly to prove them wrong.

Tough to say how many coaches Freeman talked to formulate that opinion. I’m sure there are some that believe Kelly will not succeed. I’ve talked to several who think he will be dynamite. Nobody knows for sure.

Freeman puts Clay Harbor and Jason Avant on the bubble, and lists Isaac Sopoaga as an “unheard-of guy to watch.” More from the preview:

Kelly does inherit a team with talent. The cupboard, despite Philadelphia’s dismal record last year, is not bare. LeSean McCoy missed four games last year but still had 1,213 total yards and five scores. What Kelly will have to do is patch an offensive line that was constantly injured last season. The quarterback situation is a mess. It’s basically an open competition that Mike Vick will likely win but even if he does, Vick doesn’t stay healthy. Fourth-round pick Matt Barkley will see playing time, maybe a significant amount.

The most interesting thing to watch will be Kelly. He wants to run 80 to 100 plays a game, which will never consistently happen. For the past 30 years, the average number of offensive NFL plays has been in the 60s. The Patriots last season once ran 92. That was considered Haley’s comet territory. To run that many plays weekly is impossible and would lead to Kelly’s offense being physically battered. There wouldn’t be enough players to finish a season.

If Nick Foles or Barkley wins the starting job, is Vick’s roster spot safe? Dan Graziano offers his thoughts:

I think they could certainly afford to carry him as a $3.5 million backup quarterback (since they’re well under the cap and in this scenario they’d be paying their starting quarterback almost nothing). I just don’t think he profiles well as a backup. If he loses the job, it’s going to be because he didn’t demonstrate sufficient reliability as a decision-maker and/or protector of the football. That’s not the kind of guy you keep as a backup. I also don’t see Vick buying into the idea of being a backup, which means it’s tough to see him embracing the role of mentor to Foles/Barkley or helpful contributing voice in the meeting room. I could certainly be wrong about any or all of that, but my educated guess is that if Vick’s not the starter, he’s not on the team.

JameyEisenberg of CBS Sports looks at the Eagles’ offense from a fantasy perspective:

It’s all about Chip Kelly heading into training camp and what his offense will look like. The key is who the quarterback will be, as Michael Vick and Nick Foles split snaps during offseason workouts. Kelly should just name Vick the starter now and avoid any headaches. And Vick shapes up as a No. 2 Fantasy option with a late-round pick because, repeat it with me, if he stays healthy he should post quality stats. …Jeremy Maclin is in a contract year. Look for him to play big compared to his teammate DeSean Jackson, who tried to avoid injury in his contract season in 2011. … We hope James Casey (knee) is healthy for training camp because he could be a sleeper tight end this year.

Eisenberg has Vick as the 14th best option at quarterback.  He ranks McCoy seventh among running backs. As for the wide receivers, Maclin is ranked 31st and Jackson 36th.

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.

  • MediaMike

    Wow a lot here:
    1) These other coaches must not be watching on what Kelly instructed New England. Kelly already knows how to run an NFL team AND implement his system by working with the true “Gold Standard” NFL franchise. Maybe these anti-Kelly comments came, AGAIN, from jilted Cleveland.
    2) Mike Freeman speaks truth. Jason, wave my dumb hands in the air, Avant at his salary level is a prime candidate for getting blasted off of the roster. He’s not a starter, not as good as Benn and Cooper on special teams, and have I mentioned that he has a really annoying celebration.
    3) Dan G, weak writing skills and all, is correct that backup Vick = cut Vick. His infantile demands to be handed the starting job without winning it are already showing that he’s not going to be a good backup once he loses the job competition via slow reads, poor decisions, and the usual litany of sacks and turnovers. I’m targeting pre-season game #2 and his last on our roster.

    • GEagle

      I hate reports like “NFL coaches down on Kelly”…WHICH NFl Coaches are down on Kelly? if you can’t attach your name to a criticism, then it means NOTHING…would love to know who these skeptical coaches are so Chip can write down names and Hang 50 on them when we play them
      Now I don’t know how much of this has to do with their friendship, but Dick Vermiel absolutely Rants and Raves about Chip. He couldn’t possibly be any more complementary of ChIp.
      Isaac Sopo isn’t exactly unheard of but I always say that he will be more valuable to our defense then most people seem to think.

      Vick will demand a trade or release when he loses the job because he thinks he is a starter…but he is going to end up regretting leaving the Eagles because he won’t find a starting Job, and he won’t make as much as the Eagles were paying him

      • MediaMike

        The NFL coaches “down” on Kelly must be Choad in Cleveland.

      • borntosuffer

        Yea, which media idiot was it that said no one wants to work for Howie – right before we got Chip? We also ended up getting Gamble. I suppose if Freeman got two coaches to say Chip won’t be successful, it supports the headline but still doesn’t really mean much of anything.

        • MediaMike

          That would be d-bag extraordinaire Jeff McLane. He was busy writing down notes spoken from Joe Banner directly.

  • JettMartinez

    And at one time NFL coaches thought the forward pass was a gimmick. They’re generally not a trend setting group open to change. I have no idea if Kelly will do well or not. Guess what, neither does anyone else.

    • MediaMike

      The things Kelly needs to really do (no huddle, play fast, run the ball a lot) aren’t gimmicks because New England, and a lot of other teams, already do them.
      The gimmick aspect is running with your QB often. That is a death sentence and will son be out of the league.

      • theycallmerob

        C’mon mike, you’re perpetuating the foolishness we get from the national media; Kelly’s scheme is not built around running the QB. It is not a true read-option. Go look at his oregon stats. The threat of running is not the same. Do you really think he would get a job at this level telling Lurie at the interview, “listen- I’m gonna make Vick the starter, and ride his legs to the super bowl”?

        • MediaMike

          Easy Rob. I’m not saying Kelly will do that at all. I’m just saying to Jeff that Kelly had better not do that. I’m expecting New England South.

  • Brian

    The Eagles can’t run 80 to 100 plays per game. New England can (thanks to Chip Kelly), but the Eagles can’t. That’s some of the dumbest writing you’ll ever find.

  • CBS is a bunch of shmucks. I would not be surprised in the least if this leaked report came right from our old friend Mr. Banner.

    Read this article by another CBS fraud LaCanfora and tell me this doesn’t have the Brown’s finger prints all over it: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/jason-la-canfora/22491587/browns-new-brain-trust-has-turner-and-little-else-to-lean-on-on-o

    Pretty clear they have some pull at CBS.

    • Griffsdad

      La Canfora is a clown. He’s always saying something crappy about the Birds.

  • Phils Goodman

    That may be what Freeman thinks, but he gives no real evidence that NFL coaches share his opinion (let alone the vast majority of them). Freeman backs up his claim not with sources, nor anonymous quotations, nor any evidence that he spoke to anyone else in the coaching ranks (let alone canvassed the league for their take). Instead he backed it up with his assumption about coaches (they’re cynical). Freeman’s piece shouldn’t be taken as evidence of anything except that one man will try to pass off his opinion as fact.

    • G_WallyHunter


    • JofreyRice

      I know Pro Football Talk purposefully puts “anti-Eagle” content on their site, because it gets so much traffic–I really wonder if other outlets are catching on. I have a healthy dose of skepticism for Kelly’s offense, but everything I’ve read from Freeman is just an uninterrupted stream of negativity in regards to the Eagles; doesn’t seem fair. IMO, either he’s doing it because he’s got a personal axe to grind, or he’s trolling.

      • Banner guys, man. I know I sound like a huge conspiracy theorist, but he has pull. After that spat him and Lurie had after he left, I have no doubt he has some bad blood with the organization. He seems like a guy that would hold a grudge too.

  • Nick

    C’mon, T-mac! You have to know that this Cbssports.com stuff is trash. Posting trash to get fans riled up is something that the rest of the Philly media does, and besides the “What they’re saying” column this site has avoided that so well.

  • Richard Colton

    “To run that many plays weekly is impossible and would lead to Kelly’s offense being physically battered.”

    There is something to be said for that. I’m actually worried less about how the up-tempo offense will affect the offense, and more about it will hurt the defense. I’m picturing one of those 13 play, 7 minute, 86 yard, 3 point drives by the Giants, followed by a 30 second 3-and-out. I will be the football equivalent of J-Roll swinging at the first pitch after a 29 pitch Kyle Kendrick inning.

    • MediaMike

      Except we were doing far too many of those anyway with pass-pass-pass-punt.

    • I don’t think this would completely escape Chip. I’m sure there are going to be times when Chip realizes that his defense may be gassed, and he shifts down a few gears on offense.

      • Richard Colton

        hope you’re right. the patented Chip Kelly “slow-it-down” offense.

        • You can still run an up tempo no huddle but not at mach 5. Which I’m not sure is a speed or just a razor…

          • Andy124

            3,806.04 miles per hour.

        • hokieduck

          Oregon fan here (new Eagle fan). Chip’s method for slowing the game down is to continue to run up to the line, thus not letting the defense change personnel. At that point he allows the QB to step back and run time off the clock prior to pulling the trigger.

          I agree with Adam. The toughest part of using the true “blur” offense that Chip used at Oregon is the smaller roster’s demands on the D. At Oregon, the defense used 22-25 defensive players virtually equal minutes. That will be tougher to do with a 53 man active roster.

          Can’t wait to see how this all pans out. It will be fun to watch. Chip is a very, very smart man. He is extremely organized and innovative. I think that any coach willing to count him out at this point is not so smart.

          • Richard Colton

            welcome to the club. I have to tell you, I was lukewarm about CK at first, but I’m getting more and more excited about what he can bring to the team.

          • hokieduck

            Thanks for the welcome! It has been interesting reading the comments by Philly fans so far. You guys are as your rep indicates, a tough lot.

            We will see how Chip does in the league. But he is no Steve Spurrier or Bobby Petrino, who both didn’t have what it takes to hang in with a professional team. Nick Saban runs a pro style offense and defense, but I think realized he would just be one of many in the NFL but very special in the college ranks.

            Chip on the other hand is a true innovator. He also is unbelievably organized, which is already being shown by how he runs his practices. The guy also has incredible guts. He really doesn’t look to what people think or to media who hammer him (the local media in Oregon detested him because he closed practices and did not suck up to them at all, quite the opposite).

            No matter what, this is going to be fun to watch. It is good to have an NFL team to be excited about again!

          • GEagle

            yes Welcome to the club!!!! I’ll post my pay pal info so you can send in your membership dues lol. welcome! Glad to have you on board

          • hokieduck


  • Bob A

    Lots of self serving coaches in this league. Only about 5 coaches are worth a damn anyway, the others will just get fired in 1-3 years. I would bet that the coaches that have the most respect for Kelly are guys like Jim Harbaugh, Belichick, Pete Carroll; those people that know what they’re doing. The folks that keep insisting that the players won’t last, and you can’t run 80 plays, and ‘we have a sure fire defense’ for stopping an offense that traditionally scores 50 points a game are the one’s that are in for a shock, not Chip.

  • GEagle

    JJ Watt Rookie year stats:
    48 Tackles, 8 assist, 5.5 sacks, 4 Passes def

    Fletcher Cox
    32 tackles, 7 assist, 5.5 sacks, 4 passes def (Cox played one game less then Watt did as a rookie)

  • Engwrite

    Every sport writer or blogger needs to write something. It doesn’t bother me.
    No one knows what Kelly is going to do. When he says he wants to run at least 80 plays a game he isn’t expressing a goal, only a means to an end. The goal of course is to win and, like the new Eagles fan from Oregon said, (welcome to the frustrating world of Eagle fandom, Hokieduck) Kelly uses it to control tempo and defensive substitutions.
    What Kelly intends to do—from what I’ve read but only a guess—is to use two or more tight ends that can morph into receivers or blockers. [Plus big wideouts that can do the same]
    That is to some extent what the Patriots did [reportedly inspired by Kelly] with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Even then, both star TEs together were targeted less often than Wes Welker. Since the Eagles have the much scarier Desean, I expect the TEs will be open more often and targeted accordingly.
    And yet, although the Patriot TEs were targeted only 25% of the time, they accounted for 16 of the Patriots 34 receiving Tds.
    So, obviously, I’m guessing that what we saw from the Patriots offense may look like the template for our offense. They ran 72.5 plays a game, 40 of which were passes. We’ll be hard pressed to run as many plays because (1) we will run more than we pass, (2) our defense is a question mark and finally, (3) we wont have Brady reading the D, picking the targets and threading the needle.

  • OregonEagle

    Another new Eagle fan here. I’m late to the party but this article makes me want to chime in. Chip is not a dumb man. To paraphrase a line from a movie I saw last week, “he knows how many tomatoes is five”. Even though the average Duck TD drive last year was 2 min 7 seconds, anyone who has watched Oregon football during Chip’s era remembers the 7-8 minute drives when he felt that was the way to lock down a win. Chip’s system works by creating mismatches and then exploiting them. The no huddle/fast snap thing is used to pressure the defense and control the tempo. The number of plays Chip runs in a game will be directly related to what he feels gives his team the best chance to win.

  • eaglepete

    James Casey as a sleeper TE in fantasy is about the worst fantasy advice I think Ive ever read, esp on a team that may play 3 TEs quite often, just dumb.

  • hokieduck

    What these coaches seem to forget is that the pace of the blur offense dictates that there is literally no time to change personnel on the defensive side of the ball. Within a few quarters (or less), the defenders routinely are gasping for breath on the line (according to the offensive linemen for Oregon who were interviewed). Chip’s offense is built for the fourth quarter. If defenders are exhausted in the first half… they just seem to not “batter” quite so hard.