ESPN is reporting that Chip Kelly is possibly leaving the Oregon Ducks for sunny Tampa Bay. If the deal goes through, it will be an interesting choice by Kelly for two reasons.
First, I'd be very surprised that Kelly is going to the NFL. The hurry-up, K-Gun, no-huddle offense has been seen more and more this 2011 NFL season with the Patriots and other teams trying to get an advantage over panting defenses, but it's still rare. Not since the early-'90s Buffalo Bills was the hurry-up offense a 60-minute strategy. That said, with a young, athletic quarterback in Josh Freeman, a power running back in LeGarrette Blount and several other pieces on the field, I can see an efficient offense able to rise in Tampa.
Second of all, I am surprised at the potential choice of Tampa Bay. Some earlier reports suggested Kelly could be headed to the Indianapolis Colts. Personally I think that Tampa is a better choice for Kelly and the hurry-up offense for several reasons. With the conditioning that the Tampa players have, they should be used to the heat in the early months of the NFL season, causing some opposing players to be both mentally and physically fatigued. Tampa Bay also has several younger players in key positions, as I mentioned earlier.
The one thing Tampa Bay is going to need is a pure pass rush like the Colts have in defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
In fact, Tampa Bay will probably follow the mold of the Colts in that area. If Tampa can get a big enough lead, a mental aspect of "throw, throw, throw" will enter the opponent's mind. Once that happens, the ends can pin their ears back and just rush, rush, rush.
Only time will tell if Kelly can channel his Marv Levy—he may actually win a Super Bowl, something the Bills could not do on four consecutive attempts. We'll see if this attempt to conquer the NFL will show that his hurry-up offense can work at the professional level and that a spread offense can win the Super Bowl.
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