Kelce Takes Issue With Arians’ Comments

kelce_400Bruce Arians is not a fan of the read-option at the NFL level.

He made that clear Wednesday morning when he called it a “great college offense” during an interview with Philadelphia-area reporters.

The Eagles, of course, are an option offense and use zone read looks as much as any team in the NFL. So it should come as no surprise that some players in the Birds’ locker room took exception with Arians’ claim.


"I think it's a great any-level offense, personally," said center Jason Kelce. "I think anybody who doesn't think it can be successful at this level is obviously mistaken."

So it's not a fad? It's here to stay in some form or fashion?

"It will at least be an element, especially in offenses that have quarterbacks who are dual-threats," Kelce added. "And the reason it will remain is because it keeps defenses honest. It's not designed to give the quarterback 28 carries a game. That's not what it's supposed to be. It's just supposed to keep the defense honest. In all honesty, that quote by Bruce Arians sounds like something someone who's very uneducated about the read offense would say."

Arians' primary contention was that the read-option puts the quarterback at risk for too many hits.

"The defensive coordinators in this league are too good. I think once they went and studied it ... it’s still a great offense, a great college offense, when you put a great athlete back there," Arians said. "But when you're facing great athletes with the the speed that’s in the NFL and they’re chasing these guys, unless you’re superhuman, you’re gonna get hurt sooner or later. Or not hurt, but beat up and bruised up. You don’t want your quarterback feeling bruised up when he’s trying to throw and be accurate."

Evan Mathis said before this season, he would have agreed with Arians. But once Kelly installed the new offense and explained how it worked, Mathis changed his mind.

"That was my first thought not knowing anything about it," Mathis said. "But it's all in the execution, and it really depends on how you're doing it. If the quarterback pulls the ball and he's running, and someone's about to tackle him, he's allowed to slide. That's usually what the guys are taught to do. If he's trying to break tackles and barrel over people, he's gonna get hurt. But I think without doing it that much or knowing much about it, that would be a common thought.

Kelce pointed out that the quarterback is only supposed to run the ball when he can't hand it off.

"Even if you are using a read offense and you're using the quarterback to run the ball, it's not one of those things that you're gonna try and make him… he's most likely not gonna get 25 carries a game," Kelce said. "That's not what it's designed to do. It's designed to keep defenses honest and do it enough so that the backside player can't crash down or they have to leave somebody backside to respect that. It's not something that's supposed to be your M.O."

Added Mathis: "It's only a matter of time before anybody gets hurt. The injury rate in the NFL's 100 percent. I would need to see a statistical analysis to see if there's any truth to the fact that people who run the read option are more likely to get hurt."

Chip Kelly was not available to reporters Tuesday, but will hold a press conference on Thanksgiving.

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

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.

  • Adam

    Chip Kelly was not available to reporters Tuesday, but will hold a press conference on Thanksgiving.

    This is a guy that LOVES the media.

    • Brian

      He’s gonna drag them pricks away from the table, for spite.

      • cliff henny

        i’m logging out to upvote as a guest also

        • Brian

          Lol

      • sprawl

        Probably a better excuse to leave the table than pretending you’ve actually wanted to watch the Detroit Lions every year!

  • Andy

    Mathis wants to see statistical analysis! Most cerebral (and best) guard in the NFL!

    • James Hathaway

      I saw someone pick a fight with him on Twitter last year about how Mathis blew blocking assignments. Mathis responded by requesting a link to coaches film, what his blocking assignment was, and for a time stamp to each individual time that he made a mistake. It was wonderful.

    • Andy124

      I was about to say the same.

    • sprawl

      “Statistical analysis” sounds like some real college boy stuff… let’s see how well that works in the real world!

      • laeagle

        Um, pretty well.

        • sprawl

          Sorry I’ve seen too many “‘college boys” try to apply something like a Pearson chi-squared distribution test but fail to account for independence of variables in injury site or mechanism of injury.

          Anyway, I think we can all agree that Arians is most likely just using multinomial logistic regression when he makes statements like this.

        • sprawl

          Sorry, I’ve just seen too many “college boys” try to apply something like a Pearson chi-squared test to show correlations without accounting for independence of variables in multiple factors like injury location, mechanism of injury and player history.

          Anyway, I’m sure we can all agree that before Arians makes a statement to the media like this he’s probably doing some hardcore multinomial logistic regression.

      • flyigglesfly

        Statistical analysis is a science based on math. Like if you had 1000 Hydrogen atoms and 500 Oxygen atoms. How many molecules of water would you be able to make? The answer is the same as how many sacks of potatoes makeup your brain.

      • Maggie

        Works pretty well for the International Space Station too.

      • Kev_H

        Here’s statistical analysis for him- the Eagles have run the read option this year and in over 27% of the games the starting QB hasn’t finished. Matt Barkley has thrown 49 passes. QB/injury chaos has accounted for at least one loss for the Eagles.

  • cliff henny

    actually, hope Arians has been studying his preconcieved notion of Kelly’s spread read. sounds like he’s expecting cross between last year’s Kaep and Texas A&M. i’m sure Kelly just sits in his office thinking, all they have to do is google ‘chip kelly offense’ and it’ll give you everything.

    • G_WallyHunter

      I hope this lights a fire under em, CK can show them what’s up Sunday, nothing else needs to be said between now and then.

      Good thing Arians takes care of the offensive side of the ball, and hopefully Bowles doesn’t have a clue how to stop it sunday, that’s being optimistic though.
      If Arians hates it so much, he must have some different ways to stop it (maybe ways that CK hasn’t yet seen)…. CANT WAIT!! (Bart Scott)

      • cliff henny

        ah, this is nothing new to kelly. when he brought offense to oregon, had early success, was called a gimmick high school offense and better talent would slow it down. same rhetoric, just more zero’s in bank accounts

        • G_WallyHunter

          nice to hear that, really happy Arians made these comments, whether he had intent or not.

          Gonna light a fire under this offense that apparently took offence, I like Kelce mad. Damn, this matchup couldn’t be a better one for after the bye when we’re all ITCHING..

          • cliff henny

            be great after every touchdown…a ‘GIM-MICK OFF-ENSE’ cheer by home crowd. eagles fans just need an avenue to focus the hate

          • G_WallyHunter

            LMAO Please, GEAGLE, get it started

          • GEAGLE

            Hahaha I was worried about the cardinals defense until their stupid HEADCoach opened his fat mouth..
            . .
            When you look like the pig looking bad guy from the Captain Planet cartoon, you probably shouldn’t throw stone…and if anyone remember the Captain Planet cartoon. You are one cool mofo lol

          • GEAGLE

            Dude, our players LOVE Chip Kelly…this is the dumbest thing an opponent could have said to us…this was going to have to be a physical battle, and I expect 46 of our men to defend chips like rabid pit bulls!!!! I’m soooooo happy he said this

          • G_WallyHunter

            Same, I hope Chip now shows him what a REAL NFL READ OFFENSE looks like lol

  • Dominik

    “Added Mathis: “It’s only a matter of time before anybody gets
    hurt. The injury rate in the NFL’s 100 percent. I would need to see a
    statistical analysis to see if there’s any truth to the fact that people
    who run the read option are more likely to get hurt.””

    Kelce is so used to the science angle, he actually wants to use it in other ways, like when you try to make a point about something.

    Good kid, and apparently fine with the methods of his HC.

  • John Z

    Bruce Arians sounds like a bitter man who wanted the head coaching job in Philadelphia but weren’t even considered. I’m so glad the Eagles hired Kelly and not this guy who got fired by the Temple Owls.

    • anon

      Eh….wasn’t he COTY last year? Isn’t he talking a Carson Palmer run team to 7-4? Didn’t we all hate RO last year when RGIII/CAP were running it?

      • flyigglesfly

        Arians accomplishments as a coach is documented and proven. Just like Nick Foles great play is backed up by his statistics. Some coaches do not believe in some systems but it is no less an indication on their ability to lead a team. Arizona is 7-4. Wins are what counts and we are playing catchup to this team at the moment for the wild card as Dalas is currently in first. It will be a tough game. Prediction….Eagles Fly!

    • Maggie

      Actually, Arians was planning on retiring and spending time travelling with his wife. Then Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.

    • SoCalEaglesFan

      Bruce Arians is one of the most innovative coaching minds in NFL history. He’s the equivalent of Jim Johnson, only with more regard. Finally got his chance to be a head coach after decades of service as a coordinator. The inventor of the Tampa 2. Who gives a hoot what he did in college 30 years ago?

      Sorry to say but you sound kinda dumb to disparage a likely Hall of Fame coach. He’s different than Kelly. That doesn’t make him a bad coach. He was the Coach of the Year last season, or don’t you follow NFL football? And in case you haven’t noticed, he turned the Cardinals into a very good team in less than a year.

  • mtn_green

    Arians DC isn’t thinking that it is a gimmick. In fact the eagles lead league in rushing with their “great college offense”

    • GEAGLE

      Arians sounds stupid or ATleast antiquated…5 years ago I could understand this statement but TODAY NFL teams are all stealing from the college game..

      Our team is hungry and focused enough as it is, and our boys ADORE Chip Kelly…this idiot gave us the best bulletin board material we could have ever asked for….I have been nervous about this game for the past month. This dope Arians made me feel so much better….we are sooooo going to kick their ass now.

    • anon

      Yeah that was with a dual threat QB running it. I’m interested to see how Kelly re-designs plays to make our run game effective. I don’t care how we get yds if we throw more screen passes / pitches instead of runs or whatever. But Shady’s avg. 3 a game with Foles – we’ll see if that happens.

      • BlindChow

        Shady is averaging 4.5 with Foles.

        I knew it would only be a matter of time before we saw the return of the “the run game doesn’t work without a mobile quarterback” meme.

      • Brian

        Don’t care what his average is, as long as we’re winning.

    • Kev_H

      He didn’t say it is easy to stop, he just said it gets the QB killed. The NFL has been about identifying a solid QB and protecting him at all costs. I don’t really see that changing and if Kelly thinks he knows better, I’m afraid we are in for some heart ache until he learns his lesson.

  • Mike B

    I would like a statistical analysis of the read option plays that the Cards have used.

  • Explorer51

    Not sure what Bruce Arians knows about a “great college offense” since he was fired from that football powerhouse Temple (no disrespect to any Owls who read this, you’ve always been a basketball school like every other college in Philadelphia!) with a sterling 21-45 record.

    • greenblood20

      You must not realize that recruiting is the key element in modern day college football. If you think it is “malarkey” that this guy navigated a rebuild team to the playoffs and is now leading a Carson Palmer led Cardinals to the playoffs and think he doesn’t know football, you are daft…

  • europeaneagle

    Thank you Mr Arians for firing our guys up. Now you go out and stop that college offense’.

  • greenblood20

    Honestly, Arians is right…a team’s success in the NFL rest solely on their FRANCHISE QB staying healthy. If any Philly fan was paying attention to Vick, they would certainly understand this…Pocket passers have historically been the one that lifts the Lombardi, just saying..

  • mksp

    Chip’s presser tomorrow is going to be both hilarious, and kind of boring. I can almost guarantee he says something like, “Bruce is right, it is a great college offense. I also think its a good NFL offense.” And that will be the end of that.

    What matters is what happens behind the scenes. Now I really want a blow out. Like, 45 – 14 style. I want angry, run-the-score up Chip. Not sure we can actually pull it off. But that would be amazing.

  • Kev_H

    I agree with Arians 100% and refer to the run by Foles vs. Washington where defenders were able to hold him up and take a cheap shot at him. QBs are protected (for good reason) by the rules and refs when they are passing. Once they start running, all bets are off and anything goes. If you have a great QB and he misses a few games it can sink your season. I’ve been on the “Eagles to the conference championship game at least” for quite a while now, but my biggest fear is Foles gets hurt running college stuff.

  • Tom Freaking Brady

    Arians is right, this offense will fad after we see a massive amount of read option QBs end up like RG3, damaged goods. Long live the pocket passer.