Well, I think it’s time it was said: Chip Kelly is a bust. His new-look offense that was supposed to redefine the NFL just can’t transition, and it won’t be long until he’ll be looking for a job back in college. No, I’m not being sarcastic.
I know, I know, there is great fanfare and hoopla surrounding the Eagles win over the Redskins in the season opener. Pundits are hailing the explosiveness of the Eagles offense and preparing the Kelly bust for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Terms like “rolled,” “routed” and “demolished” are being used to describe the proceedings.
Did these people WATCH THE GAME!? Sure, the Eagles’ first half was explosive, but it was extinguished by halftime adjustments. Redskins tweaks left the Eagles nearly scoreless after the break and Michael Vick already hobbling off the field. And in the end, the Eagles beat – by a measly six points – a mediocre Redskins team with a QB taking his first snaps since last year on a barely healed knee. Effectively, the Eagles showed themselves to be just a little better than average when everyone they need is healthy.
So let’s break it down a little bit. First off, CBS has put together a fantastic comparison of Kelly’s first game with Saban’s, Spurrier’s and Switzer’s. Virtually identical. Ok, so we can’t take anything out of the first game.
But let’s go a bit further. Chip is currently fielding an offense with the fastest QB in NFL history in Vick, one of fastest wideouts in the game in Desean Jackson and probably the best open-space runner in football in Shady McCoy. He’s been given a lineup that could not fit his scheme better. Not through the draft or free agency will the Eagles be able to assemble a cast of skill players more in line with the Kelly system than the one they have now. This is a good as personnel will ever be for Kelly.
Additionally, this is brand new for all the defenses out there. Prior to this weekend, no NFL defense had tape on the Kelly system. That gap will close – and quickly. Already we’ve seen the effect of halftime adjustments by the Redskins on this new offense. Those adjustments are sure to get better and better as more teams (with better defensive personnel) have more tape and more time to make them. The element of surprise is already dissipating.
So where does that leave us? With the best offensive skill players he could ever hope for given his system, the element of surprise and a healthy (but unlikely to stay that way) quarterback, Kelly managed to be about average in terms of first-game performances for college coaches coming to the NFL and in terms of team performance on the field.
I know Philadelphia is excited, but this is probably as good as it will get in the Kelly era. Sorry, Philly.
About the author: Frasier is into finances and fishing. He lives in Sioux Falls, S.D.