Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013
With Flock Talk tomorrow, I look at the recruiting week in review as well as a different look at what is being called the "Oregon Way."

Tonight, though, we go beyond that to look at how this Oregon way translates to the NFL. I am not a big NFL fan; don't spend much time watching the NFL and don't glue myself to the couch watching. I am a college fan and really have very little patience for the snooze fest that is the NFL game.

These may be the best players on earth, but the game is predictable and noring. The only exception over the past 15 years was the "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams of the late 90's. That was fun to watch. Like is common, though, the NFL reverted back to the same ground and pound  boring snooze fest shortly thereafter.

Well, I had high hopes that the NFL could get interesting again with Chip Kelly moving on to the NFL. Mind you, I was cautious during the first game as everyone else beamed that he had already changed the NFL; WHOA! Slow down there everyone! One game does not a culture change.

By that same token, three games does not necessarily determine failure either. The reality is that Chip Kelly is learning just what the biggest difference between attempting to run his schemes in college versus the NFL.

No. I am not talking about the speed, size and talent that is present in the NFL. That's a given and, clearly, some teams are better than others despite the fact that this talent level exists on all teams. The reality is that the worst NFL team (Jacksonville?) would still destroy the best college team 95% of the time.

What am I talking about?


In college, Chip Kelly had over 100 players on the team, well over 20 of those were not going to play in a game that season making them, for lack of a better word, expendable. Practices could be fast and intense simply because there were enough players to play that way all the time.

The NFL limits teams to 53 players. That puts a big crimp in Kelly's style and makes him approach things differently. At Oregon, his defensive coordinator, Nick Aliotti, could rotate anywhere from 16-21 players on defense to keep the defense fresh. This meant that when the offense was operating at break-neck speed, the defense could at least use the hockey style rotations to keep fresh.

That option is not available in Philadelphia and it will not be available in the NFL.

In his first game as an NFL coach, the Eagles ran 53 plays... in the first half. Tonight, for an entire game, they ran just 63. After just two games, Kelly had learned that his defense, without the deep rotations available in college, could not keep up with the pace of the offense. They were getting gashed;s o he slowed the pace and used warp-speed selectively rather than as a full game tactic.

Part if this had to do with a simple fact. The Philadelphia defense is not good. Doesn't matter how fast the offense plays or how slow they play; this eagles defense cannot stop anyone.

Teh Eagles got close with McCoy's 41 yard touchdown run only to watch the Chiefs convert third down after third down on an eight minute plus drive that led to a game clinching field goal.

Can Chip Kelly's philosophy succeed in the NFL? We won't know until this Philadelphia defense gets better and the offense gets all of their playmakers on the field.

The more important question will be whether the Philadelphia fans and ownership give Kelly the time he needs to overhaul this team. That is a bet I would not be willing to take. The NFL has not been known for patience with college coaches.


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