Can Chip Kelly's system work in NFL
Chip Kelly was able to find extreme success at Oregon, leading the school to four BCS games in the same number of seasons as head coach. His ability to lead a team and his innovative offense made him a main target of already-eliminated NFL teams this offseason before he officially signed on with the Eagles on Wednesday.
Now that he is an actual NFL coach, the question on everyone’s mind is if the offense he employed so successfully at Oregon can translate to the NFL level.
Kelly’s lack of NFL experience has drawn detractors, however Geoff Schwartz, his former lineman and a current Minnesota Viking, feels that there are more reasons that Kelly’s offense will work than reasons that it won’t.
Schwartz first points to the offense’s simplicity, implying that it is something that won’t be too difficult for an NFL team to pick up:
"You may not believe this but the system Kelly runs isn’t complicated at all. It’s three to four basic run plays a game, but run out of many different formations. It’s a matter of keeping the defense guessing. Change tempo. Putting guys in motion."
Next, Schwartz points to Kelly’s ability to evolve and adapt as a predictor for success on football’s highest stage:
"Evolving and adapting the offense to fit the personnel and get favorable matchups is one thing that Chip does so very well. Some years the QB runs the ball more, other years not. Some years the emphasis was running short routes. Other years it was about play action."
While Schwartz believes that Kelly will be able to find success at the next level, he also acknowledges potential hindrances that might make things more difficult for the NFL’s newest head coach.
Much of the Ducks offensive success the past several seasons has been a result of their fast tempo, so it is yet to be seen how Kelly’s offense can operate if that tempo needs to be significantly dialed back:
"For a variety of reasons it’s not possible to run the same tempo in the NFL as in college. First you can only dress 45 players (and 2-3 are specialists). I’d imagine Oregon played close to 60 guys each game. Lots of rotating to keep players fresh."
Respect is another concern for the ex-college coach. Schwartz wonders if some players may have trouble fully embracing Chip’s philosophy and personality, especially considering the fact that he has no NFL experience.
Finally, it is noted that injuries, a lack of big plays, and the difficulty finding the right personnel could further prevent Kelly from finding the same succes he did in Eugene.
Kelly clearly knows football, and is excellent at adjusting and adapting to specific situations, making him a strong NFL coaching candidate. With the right players in place, it is not crazy to think that Kelly could find similar success in Philadelphia to that that he had in Oregon. His success however is not a foregone conclusion, as there are several obstacles he must first overcome.