Why Chip Kelly Left the Oregon Ducks for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Eckstein@https://twitter.com/#!/JeremyEckstein1Featured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Chip Kelly has departed the Oregon Ducks for the challenge of shaping the Philadelphia Eagles into a championship contender. Above all, Kelly seeks to work his magic in the NFL by scoring more points, playing faster and changing the league.

Kelly has been the most highly sought NFL coach-in-waiting the past two years. Nearly one year ago, he was reportedly hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before making a last-minute decision to remain with Oregon.

The interest for Kelly’s services centers upon his innovative offensive schemes. Four years at Oregon have produced a unique spread offense featuring dynamic running backs and dual-threat quarterbacks. He has taken a solid non-traditional power at Oregon and transformed it into a college superpower including four straight BCS bowl appearances and nearly a national title.


The Ultimate Challenge

Kelly was never cut out to stay several decades at one institution. By nature, he is always experimenting, scheming and looking for bigger results. At Oregon, four years has produced miracles, but a bigger stage was needed.

The curiosity of Kelly’s system led many coaches and pundits to question if his genius could translate to the NFL. Renowned coaches Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick have traded ideas with Kelly, and former players like Casey Matthews have endorsed the idea.

Kelly has never been afraid to roll the dice for greater rewards. At Oregon, he repeatedly entrusted his team to continue scoring drives with fourth-down conversions. His mentality is to “Win the Day,” not to slide into a prevent offense. His distaste for punting and kicking field goals produced sour expressions and uncomfortable resignation.


NFL Paydirt

There is more than a big paycheck awaiting Kelly’s new NFL project. He is a good bet to win big and succeed wildly.

Kelly is not married to one particular system. He has studied offense for two decades by collaborating with other gurus at all levels of football. At New Hampshire, his quarterbacks set record-breaking numbers in throwing the ball. At Oregon, he used running backs and quarterbacks to disrupt defenses with speed.

Kelly is more than a stubborn chess master with preordained moves. He is always changing and evolving with his own systems and is always willing to try new ideas. Kelly’s offense at Oregon transformed itself in several new ways, sometimes discarding plays for weeks at a time before bringing them back in new forms, depending on the opponent.

The key to Kelly’s success is using his talent to exploit a defense’s matchup difficulties. Last November versus USC, Kelly’s Ducks ran for 426 yards and passed for 304 yards. A week later against a California team determined to load the box, his Ducks threw for 395 yards while only rushing for 180 yards. The results were scoring totals of 62 and 59 points respectively.

The NFL has bigger, faster defenses in a league that will require more passing production than what was produced at Oregon. Kelly will be ready to adjust with the talent he is given by creating new designs and ideas to find gaps in NFL defenses.

Whatever happens, Kelly will provide excitement and originality. He has a great chance to win and win big in a talented but dysfunctional NFC East. Along the way, there will be unforeseen surprises.

Just don’t bet against Chip Kelly.


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