The Eagles shocked the NFL world today when they announced that Chip Kelly would be the 21st head coach in the franchise's history. They'll make it official tomorrow when Kelly holds his first ever press conference as Eagles coach at 1:30pm at the NovaCare complex in South Philadelphia.
Kelly's hire does bring a lot of questions, which we'll try to identify and come up with some answers here. Kelly is an offensive guy, so a lot of what happens on defense this year depends on who he hires as a defensive coordinator. So we'll wait to delve more deeply into that side of the ball when that happens.
Who will be the quarterback in 2013?
Here's the big question that Chip is going to have to answer pretty quickly. The choices are Nick Foles, Michael Vick or someone else... Of the guys currently here, Michael Vick would appear to be the guy most suited to a play the high tempo, read option system that Kelly ran at Oregon. Still, that doesn't change the fact that he's set to make over $16 million next year and there's almost no chance the Eagles are going to want to pay that. And is Kelly, who is known to despise turnovers above all else, going to be willing to trust Vick?
Plus, Kelly has expressed an admiration for Nick Foles, who he's familiar with from playing Arizona in the Pac-12.
"I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating. I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country."
And further, it may not be safe to assume to that Kelly is going to impose the same system he ran at Oregon in the NFL. If anything, Kelly's history has shown that he's extremely adaptable and has designed his systems around his players. Could he do that with Foles? It's possible, but Kelly has said that he looks for an athletic QB.
"I look for a quarterback who can run and not a running back who can throw. I want a quarterback who can beat you with his arm," Kelly explained at a coaches clinic in the spring of 2011, emphatically adding, "We are not a Tim Tebow type of quarterback team. I am not going to run my quarterback 20 times on power runs."
In 2011, his QB ran for only 206 yards. So he's not looking for a "running QB," just a guy that is going to keep defenses honest. Either way, that wouldn't be Foles. So while I think there's a really decent shot one of Foles or Vick will start next season, I actually doubt that long term either will be the guy for Chip.
What can we expect from Chip Kelly's offense?
Speed. Oregon averaged 20.9 seconds per play last season. By comparison, the Eagles averaged 26.5 seconds per play. That's a difference of almost 6 seconds, which is huge. Kelly believes in pressuring defenses by running a lot of plays and keeping the tempo high.
Can this work in the NFL? Well, Bill Belichick hung around Chip last offseason to learn more about his offense and low and behold the Patriots had the fastest offense in NFL at around 24 seconds per play this season. They were also the #1 offense in the NFL.
Now, the Pats aren't as high temp as Oregon and I wouldn't expect the Kelly led Eagles to be either. With the huge rosters of college teams and the fact that they're all 19-21 years old, you can practice a super high tempo offense all week and therefore execute perfectly on the weekend. He's not going to be able to do that in the NFL. So while there's no doubt the Eagles will pick things up tempo-wise next season, expect to notice it mostly in certain scenarios, rather than the furious, every down assault we've seen at Oregon.
At Oregon, Kelly's offense averaged nearly 50 points a game last season. The Eagles averaged 17.5. Things are going to get better.
Is the pass happy era of Andy Reid truly over now?
Oh yes. Chip Kelly is a run first guy for sure. Draft LeSean McCoy for your fantasy team.
I don't want to work anymore today. Are there some places where I can just spend the next few hours immersing myself in Chip Kelly analysis?
What Every NFL Fan Should Know about Chip Kelly – Special Fish Report – FishDuck Oregon Ducks Football Analysis For The Casual Fan
For the fans of Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Buffalo—know that I hate this, but there are some important elements to Charles "Chip" Kelly you should
The success of Chip Kelly's Oregon Ducks offense is more familiar than it seems - Grantland
A an in-depth breakdown of Chip Kelly's offense and philosophy.
Playbook Confidential: Let's Talk About Chip Kelly - Bolts From The Blue
Another in depth look at Kelly's style.
Let's Talk About Chip Kelly
Chip Kelly is one of the hottest names in the coaching world. His innovative offense and aggressive style of coaching have changed the game of football from high school through the NFL. When Jon Gruden was fired, Kelly is one of the first people he sought out. Gruden wanted to learn Oregon’s offense. Think about that for a second. Gruden, arguably the most knowledgeable West Coast Offense guru on the planet Earth, chose Kelly above all the other brilliant coaches out there. That was the one guy he wanted to learn from. That speaks volumes.