Officials see no issue with Chip Kelly's hurry-up offense
Good news on the Chip Kelly uptempo offense vs. NFL officials front.
The Eagles have had a league officiating crew headed by referee Scott Green working their practices the last two days, and there were no issues over getting the ball spotted quickly enough for the offense to run hurry-up plays.
“What I’ve seen over the last two days, we didn’t really have any problems,’’ said Green, a Doylestown resident who has been an NFL official for 22 years and a referee for the last seven. “We were indoors yesterday and it was a little hectic indoors. But today they were running 11-on-11 and we were getting the ball spotted. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary as far as the pace.’’
Kelly has said spotting of the ball fast enough won’t be an issue. But in a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, NFL vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino seemed to be bracing for a fight over it. “We have to make sure teams understand that they don’t control the tempo,’’ he said. “Our officials do.’’
Green said he talked to Kelly the last two days about the pace of the game and other topics.
“He said, ‘I want to see how (fast) you spot the ball. I said, ‘We’ll do it as best we can,’ ’’ Green said. “I didn’t have all seven of our guys here. But we had five and we focused on getting the ball in and spotting it. We didn’t really see any issue there.’’
NFL rules stipulate that if the offense makes a substitution on a play, the defense must be given time to also substitute. If there is no substitution, then it’s just a matter of how quickly the officials get the ball in and spot it.
“Inside of two minutes, it’s helter-skelter in the sense that we just get the ball and go and spot it,’’ Green said. “Throughout the course of the game, though, it’s a more normal pace that we use.’’
The New England Patriots went up-tempo last season and led the league in offensive plays, averaging 74.4 per game. The Eagles averaged 67.4. There were no problems between the officials and the Patriots over how quickly they spotted the ball.
“Nothing that I’m aware of,’’ Green said. “I’ve worked the Patriots (games) and never had a problem getting the ball spotted.’’
Green said the officials don’t spot the ball any faster for an uptempo offense than they do for a team that huddles before every play.
“We’re going to go at the same pace that we’ve always gone,’’ he said. “Inside of two minutes, all bets are off. As fast as we can get it spotted, we’ll spot it. We just use one ball inside two minutes.
“In a normal situation throughout the rest of the game, we won’t use just one ball. In a normal situation, we’re getting the ball from the sidelines, we’re pitching it to the next guy and he spots the ball. We give him a chance to move out and make sure everybody is set.
“You’ve got situations occasionally where the ball’s rolling around on the field and we don’t catch if for some reason. That may cause a delay. But that causes a delay under normal circumstances.’’
The NFL has implemented yet another new rule aimed at increasing player safety. This one will make it illegal for both runners and tacklers to use the crown of the helmet to deliver a forcible blow outside of the tackle box. But Green said he doesn’t expect it to be called very often because it has to be an obvious penalty.
“He’s literally got to line that guy up,’’ he said. “He’s got to be three yards beyond the line of scrimmage and he’s got to duck his head and go into him with the crown of his helmet. A lot of times, you’ll see a running back try and get to the pylon for a touchdown and you’ve got a defensive player coming over. There’s an angle there. We would not call that, even though there may be helmet-to-helmet contact.’’
DeSean Jackson (toe) returned to practice yesterday, but another WR, Dave Ball, suffered a quad strain … All three of the top quarterbacks connected on long bombs yesterday. It might have been the first day Nick Foles and Matt Barkley looked as sharp in a padded practice as Michael Vick; Foles had an amazing day indoors, without pads, on Thursday