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Will Chip Kelly bring the "swinging gate" to the NFL?

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Jonathan Ferrey

There were many unorthodox things Chip Kelly did at Oregon and we here as well as the rest of the NFL has spent a lot of time opining which of those he'll bring with him to the Eagles. We've already seen some examples with his practices.

There's very little to no on-field coaching. The team runs through it's drills at a quick pace and corrections get made in the film room. We've seen 5 quarterbacks throwing, music blaring... It's all very new and different. Same thing with player diets and workouts.

Certainly, we've seen tons of speculation about what Chip might do on offense and defense as well. But what special teams? Specifically, will we see the swinging gate?

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Above is an idea of what the "swinging gate" formation looks like when employed on an extra point. It's something Chip Kelly used regularly at Oregon. Most of the team lines up to the right, the snapper, holder and kicker are in the middle and a flanker is out wide and eligible.

Defenders have to respect the formation out to the right because otherwise the holder could toss the ball to the WR he'd walk in. Or as we'll later, sometimes the center can turn and snap the ball straight to him.

The defense also has to watch the kicker or he could just run in, which is something Kelly also did.

Of course, there's also always the option of shifting all those guys on the right to a more traditional location and kicking.

Here's a FishDuck video on the different ways it was employed at Oregon.


Now, I'd be pretty surprised if Alex Henery was ever handed the ball off to run between the tackles... But you do see some very interesting strategy here that fits well with what Kelly does on offense.

This formation is typically only seen at lower levels where one team has a real athletic advantage over the other. That advantage won't be there in the NFL. However, it's interesting to note that there were times in this video where Oregon ran tricky extra points against teams like Alabama, who not only matched Oregon in terms of athletes, but were actually superior.

The swinging gate has been attempted a couple times in recent NFL history. The Titans ran an offensive play using the formation which resulted in an incomplete Vince Young pass. That was in the 07/08 playoffs. The Redskins tried it on special teams in 2009, with the result being an interception thrown by punter Hunter Smith.