Eagles Wake-Up Call: Anti-Kelly Rule Changes

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In recent years, we’ve seen a number of college influences make their way to the NFL – from the read option to the pistol to the coaches (Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly).

But there’s one Eagles-related trend that a faction of college coaches wants to slow down.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed a change this week that would allow defenses to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. If the offense were to snap the ball before the play clock hit 29, it would get hit with a 5-yard delay of game penalty.

There is clearly a dividing line in college football. Either you’re pro-tempo or you’re anti-tempo. The pro-tempo crowd likes to use pace to its advantage. Offenses can limit the defenses’ ability to substitute, wear them out and score in a hurry. It’s a lot of what we wrote about when the Eagles hired Kelly last offseason.

The anti-tempo side argues that the pace puts players at greater risk for injury because 300-pound offensive and defensive linemen are asked to be on the field for more plays. While that theory makes some sense on the surface, there has yet to be any kind of study or data to back it up.

“I think sometimes people throw answers out there before they know it,” Kelly said last summer when asked about the theory. “I think a lot of things we do, we’re more spread out than a lot of people. I would say you should do a study on injuries when all these people are crammed in a small box. I don’t know. I have not done a study on it, though. I just think just tell us what the rules are. We always play by the rules.”

Of course, Kelly and other coaches who like to use tempo prefer the rules just the way they are. The split between the two factions isn’t as defined in the NFL. More teams are going up-tempo, no-huddle, but it’s not yet the talking point it is in college.

For now, the proposal is just that. An 11-member panel will vote on it next month, needing the majority for it to pass.

While no such proposals are currently being discussed in the NFL, Kelly and others will likely take notice of what the college world decides.

WHAT YOU MISSED

An All-22 look at whether Jairus Byrd would be a good fit for the Eagles.

One analyst thinks Jeremy Maclin is the best free agent WR in this class.

T-Mac looks at some Oregon players who will be available in the draft.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz thinks DL Linval Joseph could be a nice fit for the Eagles:

I recently began checking out the free agent lists. One name that I wondered about was DT Linval Joseph. He will turn 26 in October so his best football could still be ahead of him. He’s got a great build at 6-4, 328. He can get to the QB up the middle. He had 3 sacks this year and 4 last year.

Adding Joseph would help the DL in a couple of ways. He could push the pocket better than Logan. That would help when facing top QBs that get the ball out quickly. And Logan could become the #4 DL. He could play DE, DT and NT depending upon what the situation was.

Chris Burke of SI.com chimes in on the Eagles’ free agency outlook:

The Eagles are projected to have about $21 million in cap space, giving them the ability to focus on the players they would like to retain and also save some money to upgrade the secondary. Finding one or two more pieces to help round out Chip Kelly’s offense certainly would make Foles’ life easier in 2014.

COMING UP

T-Mac has offered to make emergency flower deliveries for anyone who forgot it was Valentine’s Day. Just hit him up on Twitter, and he’ll work his magic.

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