Much is discussed about Chip Kelly's pace, and how many plays his teams runs per game. But Kelly said that's not the statistic he looks at the measure his team's success. When Kelly looks at the stat sheet after the game, besides the score, there's one metric he analyzes: "response after turnover."
“It’s not what you do in the turnover battle, it’s what you do (with the turnovers)," Kelly said. "Our defense can create four urnovers, if we go out and score no points, it doesn’t matter. You say, ‘hey, we were plus-4 in turnovers today. What did the offense do with it? It’s been the same exact thing as, we’ve turned the ball over, but our defense goes on the field and pitches a shutout. They did a great job, they picked us up. We talk about that from a statistical standpoint. That’s a huge – that’s a metric that we look at because I think you can control that."
So what about the hoopla about the amount of plays per game? That's important for the pace, but a high volume is not always a good indicator of team success.
“I think if you lead the country in plays run, like at the college level, then you’re probably not very good on defense, because you’re always playing catch-up," Kelly said. "We were up a lot at halftime, so we took our foot off the gas. We could have run a hundred plays, we could have run a hundred plays in a lot of games, but there was no reason to run a hundred plays. I think, being sensible, is that -- all of a sudden, we have the ball now, I want to go on an eight-minute drive, I don’t want to score in two seconds. We did that in the first half, and now we’re up.
"We played our first game last year, we were up 50-3 at halftime, we won 57-34, but we still won. Our ‘threes’ got a ton of reps, we emptied our bench, and we got a lot of guys valuable playing time. Where other people were like, ‘the other team was coming back in it,’ but look at the value of us getting to play our entire roster … did we end up running more plays than them? I think they actually ran more plays than us, and we were up 50-3 at the half.”
So when Kelly talks about forcing turnovers, that's not enough. It's what happens after the turnover. (Oregon, by the way, led the NCAA last season in turnover margin. I'm still trying to find their points off turnovers.) Kelly will bring the belief in that statistic to the NFL.
“I think a lot of it is a mindset, what you do with it and what is your gameplan, and kind of study that," Kelly said. "But part of it is a responsibility for you offensively, if the defense is going to go out there and bust their tails off, create turnovers, then we’ve got to do something with those turnovers.”