When the Miami Dolphins hired former Philadelphia Eagles QB coach Bill Lazor to be their new offensive coordinator earlier this offseason, many were expecting to see a Chip Kelly influence on the Dolphins new system. According to reports out of Dolphins minicamp, that's already the case. From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
"It’s reminiscent of Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia, with the tempo and style," said one Dolphins player who asked not to be named.
Kelly uses a spread offense, and the player said the spread is an important part of this Dolphins attack, but there is more to this offense than that.
"There are some West Coast offense concepts," the player said. "Some shotgun, some under center. They’ve discussed having both no huddle and huddle. It’s fast tempo."
There’s no natural fullback, though there is a role for an H-back and multiple tight end sets, the player said.
It's no secret that the NFL is a copycat league. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has even admitted as much.
Trends go one way and the other. I said this a long time ago, if you weren’t in the room with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne when they invented this game, you stole it from somebody else. Any coach is going to learn from other people and see how they can implement it in their system. Anything you do has to be personnel driven. You have to adapt to the personnel you have. There’s a lot of great offenses out there, but does it fit with the personnel you have? The key is making sure what you’re doing is giving your people a chance to be successful.
Kelly's note on personnel utilization is crucial. Lazor and the Dolphins can sure hope to borrow some concepts from the Eagles offense, but anything resembling an exact copy (ahem) would be a stretch. Last time I checked Miami doesn't have a running back anything close to the caliber of LeSean McCoy. Not to mention the blocking up front is better. Most importantly, Lazor may be part of the Kelly coaching tree now but he's no Chip Kelly himself.
Before anyone gets too carried away about Kelly's offense being "replicated" or "figured out", let's just not do that. First, scheme only goes so far. As previously noted, personnel and execution are huge components of the equation. Two, for all the time during the NFL offseason that other teams will have to study and replicate Kelly's scheme, he will have the equal amount of time to recalibrate his own system.
Lazor may turn out to be a great hire for Miami. But I'm hesitant to believe the Dolphins offense will be similarly successful to the 2013 Eagles without Kelly's concepts, playcalling, game planning, decision making and adjustment makings.