Williams On Eagles’ Offense: It’ll Look Like Oregon

No coach on Chip Kelly’s staff has been with the franchise longer than Ted Williams.

He started off as the tight ends coach for a couple years, was in charge of the running backs from 1997 to 2012 and is now back with the tight ends in his 19th season.

At 69-years-old, having seen plenty throughout the course of his career, Williams seemed like a good person to ask about what Kelly’s offense is going to look like once it’s unveiled during the regular season.

“I don’t think that anything’s going to change from what he knows,” Williams said. “It’ll be very, very similar to what you saw at Oregon because the play-calling… he needs to be comfortable with what he’s saying to the offense and how he’s communicating it. So you don’t just out of the box decide that you’re going to do something a certain way and you don’t feel comfortable with it. So it’s going to look like Oregon.”

And what about the zone read? Will that be a part of the offense even if the quarterback is Nick Foles?

“We haven’t decided that particular part of it,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t say we haven’t run it, but we haven’t decided it. But it’ll look like Oregon to a degree based on what we do and how we want to do it and based on game-planning. How much of what we do depends on who we’re playing.”

Williams is now coaching the tight ends, a position of added importance in Kelly’s system. The buzz word all offseason has been versatility. The Eagles signed free agent James Casey and drafted Zach Ertz in the second round. They also still have Brent Celek on the roster.

According to Williams, the overall theme of the offense is that it will have the ability to change, based on the look of the defense.

“The biggest thing about this offense is it has flexibility, so that’s exciting,” Williams said. “You don’t get pigeon-holed. I’m not the guy who always lines up here. I have the flexibility to line up over there, over here, I can be moved, I can motion.”

That could mean plenty of two tight-end sets, running backs motioning out wide and so on. The main idea in practices (that have been open to the media) has centered around getting to the line of scrimmage early, surveying the defense and running plays that give the offense an advantage.

The route-runners face changes too. As we’ve written about on several occasions, receivers (and that includes tight ends) will oftentimes have options on their routes, based on the look of the defense. According to Williams, that’s a major change from previous years.

“The West Coast offense, while expansive, is a concept offense,” he said. “And it’s really based upon pieces fitting into concepts. And if you don’t fit in the correct position in a concept, the concept gets lost. And so consequently, I don’t want to say restrictive, but more demanding to confront.

“This offense is just not like that. There is some regimented, there is some principles in terms of how you do what you do. But there’s also some flexibility. If you see this, here’s what your option is. If you see something else, here’s what your option is. The West Coast offense wasn’t designed that way. From the Paul Brown era, the Bill Walsh era, they knew what they wanted, and they wanted it a certain way.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • ReggieKush

    Mike Vick!

  • poetx99

    great article, sheil. note the points williams made about the regimentation of the WCO. that speaks to the general lack of flexibility within that system (audibling and previous lack of option routes).

    its a genius offense. that’s fine if you have bill walsh calling it in his prime against a league which hasn’t figured it out yet. with andy and marty pulling the trigger a decade or so later, not so much.

  • cliff henny

    i hear ya…the what if’s with vick are just too much for me, why just need to see 4-6 games. have no clue what the outcome of those games will be. who knows, maybe kelly/vick catch lightning in a bottle.

  • Dutch

    a 1.5 to 2.0 sec release requires someone running a corresponding route that brings them separation from their defender in that amount of time. If you’re looking for a release time in that area you are looking at no more than a 3 step drop, and a route that matures within 7 yds off the line of scrimmage against a zone defense. Or a bubble screen.

    Any QB in the pocket who isn’t sure of or have trust in his receivers to go get a ball or fight off a defender hesitates.

    Which of the Eagles receivers are noted to fight defenders for balls in the air or go after balls when a defender is covering them closely? Where Boldin needs inches, Eagles receivers needs yards on defenders to make a catch. Remember the Green Bay playoff game, and the toss to Cooper against a shorter defensive back in the end zone?

  • Maggie

    Terrell Owens fighting to make a catch? Are you mad? Besides causing chaos on his own sideline, he was best at short-arming most passes thrown his way! At least in Philly.

  • Maggie

    Perhaps it is more important to a head coach to have a TEAM that wins, rather than a few ”star” players who mostly run around yelping. “Look at me, me, me, me! I caught the ball!”

  • poetx99

    that’s hilarious.