Can the NFL Keep Up with Chip Kelly’s Fast-Paced Offense?

On Monday evening, NFL fans got to see the long-awaited new Philadelphia Eagles up tempo offense and new head coach Chip Kelly. Both came with a lot of expectations and after seeing one game, they delivered in the first week.

It’s going to be an interesting tenure under Kelly.

In the 33-27 Eagles win, they got off to a quick start, running 53 plays in the game’s first half. This was more than any other NFL team from the first week. Quarterback Michael Vick stepped up with three touchdowns (two in the air, one on the ground) but by the game’s second half, the game’s pace had taken its toll and the competitive 33-year-old only had nine passing yards.

For the night, the Eagles ran 49 times–greater than any game under former Eagles coach Andy Reid in his 14 years with the team.

They entered the locker room with a 26-7 half time advantage as well as these first-half statistics vs. the Redskins:

    • Ran 53 offensive plays–the most by any team since 1991 and the same number of passing yards by the Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. It was three more yards than the Carolina Panthers had in offensive plays for Sunday’s entire game.
    • Sat with the New England Patriots from Week 1 play as the only teams to have a 100-yard rusher (LeSean McCoy’s 115 yards with a career-high 31 carries) and a 100-yard wide receiver (DeSean Jackson’s 104 yards).
    • McCoy’s first half yards were more than any other league running back’s total yards for an entire game from Sunday.
    • Grabbed more yards (341) than 15 teams totaled from Sunday’s games
    • Accrued 21 first downs–five short of 2012’s season high for one game

Vick was quoted by the media after the game with, “I don’t think it can get too much faster than that.”

Well, Mr. Vick, it has come faster than that and it was done by the New England Patriots. For the game, the Eagles ran 83 total plays (including penalties)–just short of the Patriots’ record 91 plays.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. According to USA Today, Super Bowl-winning Patriots coach Bill Belichick had previously traveled to Oregon and talked to Kelly about his offense. He returned home and included some pieces in his offense.

It appears to be working as quarterback Tom Brady was the NFL’s lead scorer in 2012.

Unfortunately these two teams won’t meet this season but the Eagles will play the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 20. For Cowboys manager/owner Jerry Jones, he’s a bit concerned. The question had been posed to him of whether NFL defensive coordinators will be able to figure out the Eagles offensive style.

He responded on Tuesday via Cowboysblog.com, “It’s always been a challenge for our team, so some combination of that is pretty sound relative to getting plays off and keeping the defense a little disjointed.I think it’s also sound, too. I think it’s a good, crisp way to run a football team. I don’t know that that’s a fad. I think that stepped-up play is one that may have a place.”

Jones added, “You still go back to: Does it in any way create more hits for that quarterback? And I didn’t see that, really, as much as I might have thought that was coupled with the stepped-up play. They could be a real formidable team for us this year.”

But what about next year? That may be one of the questions as teams throughout the season will see the Eagles offense on film but for now, it’s a still a mystery and a challenge.

You also have to also not only ask if league teams can keep up with the Eagles, but can the Eagles players keep going?



Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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