NFL slows down Chip Kelly’s Fast-Paced Offense

chip-kelly-offenseFew teams had more hype entering this season than the Philadelphia Eagles. And much of this hype stemmed from new head coach Chip Kelly and his fast-paced offense.

Kelly’s offense, which puts opposing defenses through a track meet by quickly running plays and speeding up the game, was hailed as revolutionary. Two games into the year, an anonymous offensive coordinator told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver that it would work all season.

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said that the Eagles’ 33-27 Week 1 win over the Redskins “changed the landscape of the NFL from a philosophical, schematic approach to how the game is played.” Jaworski added, “What Michael Vick did to London Fletcher on numerous reads was take his strength and make it a weakness. An aggressive, downhill, smart, intelligent player was pretty much rendered useless early in the game because all of the options within this scheme that Chip Kelly has designed. So I think it is here to stay.”

nick-foles-eaglesAnybody who watched Philadelphia’s Week 7 game against the Cowboys saw anything but what Jaws described. What they witnessed was Vick standing on the sidelines with an injury…Nick Foles scrambling around in the pocket and making horribly inaccurate throws…LeSean McCoy rushing for a meager 55 yards on 18 carries….DeSean Jackson catching three passes for 21 yards….and worst of all, Philadelphia putting just three points on the board against a below-average Dallas defense.

Now does this mean that Kelly’s offense is a complete failure? Certainly not because his team has put up 30 or more points in four out of seven games. However, it’s not quite the revolutionary scheme that will have half the league quick-snapping the ball every play next year.

While inventive and tough to prepare for, Kelly’s fast-paced offense isn’t nearly as dominating in the NFL. He doesn’t have a sizable talent advantage in the pros like he did at Oregon. And it’s much tougher to run the read option when 6’3″, 260-pound linebackers who boast a 4.6-forty are shadowing the quarterback. Plus the idea of running plays as fast as possible loses its effect when you’re going 3-and-out half the time like Philadelphia has been doing.

When the Eagles get Vick healthy again, Kelly’s offense will certainly look better. And with nine regular season games remaining, there are still some big offensive performances left in this team. But as for the preseason hype that the fast-paced offense would take the league by storm, well, it’s been nothing more than hype so far.

NFL Power Rankings for September 11th, 2013

peyton-manning-broncosThe 2013 NFL season is officially underway after a largely unsurprisingly weekend. Most of the top teams secured victories as expected, with no major upsets happening. Of course, as with every NFL season, we can expect the power rankings to get shaken up throughout the year. But for now, you won’t see a lot of shockers in our Week 2 NFL power rankings.

1. Denver Broncos (1-0); beat Baltimore 49-27 – The offseason loss of DE Elvis Dumervil and the six-game suspension of LB Von Miller figured to impact this team in a terrible way. But the defense did well enough against Baltimore to inspire hope. More importantly, Peyton Manning crushed the Ravens with 462 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The addition of Wes Welker only makes this offense more dangerous than last year’s version.

2. San Francisco (1-0); beat Green Bay 34-28 – Colin Kaepernick has an obvious connection with Anquan Boldin already. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and 3 TD’s, while Boldin showed he still has plenty of juice left with 13 catches, 208 yards and a TD. A tough road game against Seattle this week could vault the Niners to the top.

3. New Orleans Saints (1-0); beat Atlanta 23-17 – Following a one-year suspension, head coach Sean Payton is back and you can definitely tell. The Saints won a high-profile matchup on the strength of Drew Brees’ arm (357PYDS, 2TD, 1INT). The defense was surprisingly effective at keeping Atlanta off the board.

russell-wilson4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0); beat Carolina 12-7 – A win is a win, especially on the road. But you’d like to see Seattle beat the Panthers a little more handily. Russell Wilson picked up where he left off from last season with 320 passing yards and one TD. This team has a serious chance to move up with a victory over San Francisco.

5. New England Patriots (1-0); beat Buffalo 23-21 – New England continued their domination of the Bills with a come-from-behind win. Stevan Ridley’s fumble turned into a 74-yard defensive TD for Buffalo. But Tom Brady was still able to lead this team back with 288 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

6. Houston Texans (1-0); beat San Diego 31-28 – Falling behind 28-7 to the Chargers is a terrible way to start the year. But give Houston credit for battling back on the road and taking this game. LB Brian Cushing’s late 18-yard interception return proved to be the difference maker.

7. Green Bay Packers (0-1); lost to San Francisco 34-28 – You can’t fault the Pack for losing a close one on the road to the Niners. The secondary is cause for concern though after giving up monster games to Kaepernick, Boldin and Vernon Davis. At least Aaron Rodgers and the passing game is as rock solid as ever.

NFL: AUG 16 Pre-Season Colts v Falcons8. Atlanta Falcons (0-1); lost to New Orleans 23-17 – Toss up between Atlanta and Green Bay for the seventh spot; but the Falcons struggled to put points on the board. Still, their offense moved the ball well with Matt Ryan throwing for 304 yards and Steven Jackson adding 122 total yards.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1); lost to Chicago 24-21 – The Bengals suffered a loss at Soldier Field, but hung tough despite three turnovers. A.J. Green looks virtually uncoverable after racking up 162 yards, 2 TD’s and drawing some crucial pass interference penalties. Now if only the running game could catch up (63 yards).

10. Chicago Bears (1-0); beat Cincinnati 24-21 – Wait, didn’t Chicago beat the Bengals? Yea, but Cincinnati actually looked more impressive in this game. If not for some late game heroics by Jay Cutler (242PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) and home field advantage, Chicago wouldn’t even be in the top 10.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0); beat Washington 33-27 – This game was much more of a blowout than it appears since Washington added some garbage-time touchdowns. The offense features a lot of dimensions, with LeSean McCoy racking up 181 yards on the ground and DeSean Jackson adding 104 receiving yards and a TD.

reggie-bush12. Detroit Lions (1-0); beat Minnesota 34-28 – Detroit looks to be back this year after a strong game against the Vikings. Following a 78-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson, the Lions D-line did a good job of bottling him up. Reggie Bush seems to be the extra weapon that this offense needed after compiling 191 total yards.

13. Dallas Cowboys (1-0); beat NY Giants 36-31 – Here’s the good news: Dallas beat their NFC rivals, and Tony Romo looked good with 263 passing yards and 2 TD’s. The bad news? They needed six turnovers from their opponent to pull off this home game victory.

14. Indianapolis Colts (1-0); beat Oakland 21-17 – Is the Raiders line really this good, or does Indianapolis have pass protection concerns? Despite getting knocked around, Andrew Luck threw a pair of touchdowns and rushed for the game-winning, 19-yard TD to earn this comeback victory.

15. Baltimore Ravens (0-1); lost to Denver 49-27 – We had doubts that the defending champs would be as good as last year. And their secondary looked pretty bad against a stellar Broncos team. But let’s see how this club performs against the non-elite before passing judgement.

16. Miami Dolphins (1-0); beat Cleveland 23-10 – Nice road win for a young team. The defense is among the league’s best after sacking Brandon Weeden six times and intercepting him three. QB Ryan Tannehill looked good in posting 272 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. But the running game is somewhat of a mess at this point.

eli-manning17. New York Giants (0-1); lost to Dallas 36-31 – New York doesn’t deserve an honor badge for committing six turnovers. But if they don’t cough the ball up this much, we might’ve been discussing a very good road win.

18. St. Louis Rams (1-0); beat Arizona 27-24 – In a battle between two much-improved teams, St. Louis emerged victorious. After a couple of down seasons, Sam Bradford (299PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) and the passing game look to be back. TE Jared Cook is quite a weapon after collecting 141 receiving yards and 2 TD’s in his Rams debut.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0); beat Jacksonville 28-2 – We can’t truly tell how good Kansas City is because they beat the worst team in the league. But then again, it was a dominating road-game performance that saw the Chiefs dismantle Jacksonville. Stayed tuned for more on this team after they play the Cowboys at home.

20. Tennessee Titans (1-0); beat Pittsburgh 16-9 – Tennessee opens the year with an impressive road win in Pittsburgh. But almost all of the impressive stuff happened on the defensive end, with the Titans holding Pittsburgh to just 195 yards. Now it’s up to QB Jake Locker to actually show he can lead a successful team.

21. Carolina Panthers (0-1); lost to Seattle 12-7 – This wasn’t a great day for Carolina as QB Cam Newton struggled mightily with just 163 total yards. But they nearly pulled out the victory, until a late DeAngelo Williams fumble inside of the 10.

robert-griffith-thanksgiving22. Washington Redskins (0-1); lost to Philadelphia 33-27 – After playing terribly for most of the game, Robert Griffin III came alive, ending the contest with 329 passing yards and 2 TD’s But his earlier pair of interceptions put this one out of reach.

23. Minnesota Vikings (0-1); lost to Detroit 34-28 – Adrian Peterson can’t carry this offense alone. Especially with quarterback Christian Ponder tossing three picks and fumbling once.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1); lost to Tennessee 16-9 – If this weren’t Pittsburgh, we’d probably be ranking them lower. Mustering 195 yards of offense at home is pathetic. But this team has the tools to win – especially on defense – so we’ll wait and see what happens.

25. Buffalo Bills (0-1); lost to New England 23-21 – Part of why Tom Brady and company didn’t look so hot is because of the Bills defense. The Buffalo running game will be much better in future games (specifically CJ Spiller), while EJ Manuel showed good poise for a rookie QB.

26. Arizona Cardinals (0-1); lost to St. Louis 27-24 – After opening up a 14-point lead, the Cardinals couldn’t hang on in this road contest. Still, there is hope with Carson Palmer (327PYDS, 2TD, 1INT) directing the offense.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1); lost to NY Jets 18-17 – The Bucs were a late-game Lavonte David penalty from winning their first game. But the fact that they let the Jets beat them in any way is bad.

28. San Diego Chargers (0-1); lost to Houston 31-28 – San Diego started with a bang as Philip Rivers came out firing four TD passes. However, things began spiraling downward late in the third as they blew a 28-7 lead.

29. New York Jets (1-0); beat Tampa Bay 18-17 – The Jets will take wins any way they can get them. Geno Smith was better than expected with 256 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Unfortunately, Smith appears to be the team’s only legitimate running threat after gaining 47 yards on six carries.

30. Cleveland Browns (0-1); lost to Miami Dolphins 23-10 – After an uninspiring home loss, Cleveland has deflated all of the hype they gained in the preseason. This team’s hopes rest on the arm of Weeden, which isn’t exactly a thrilling prospect.

31. Oakland Raiders (0-1); lost 23-17 to Indianapolis – The D-line looked good against the Colts, and Terrelle Pryor gives this team life after throwing for 217 yards and running for another 112. As a whole, the Raiders will look bad at times, but not nearly as bad as people expected.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1); lost to Kansas City Chiefs 28-2 – After making the Chiefs look like a Super Bowl contender, it’s clear that Jacksonville is in for a very long year. They only moved past their own 36-yard line once in the entire game!

Michael Vick takes $5.5m Paycut to stay with Eagles and Chip Kelly

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia EaglesDespite suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career, Michael Vick still had plenty of suitors in the early NFL offseason. The 32-year-old drew heavy interest from Arizona, Buffalo and Cleveland as all three teams are looking to upgrade their QB position. However, Vick decided to stay put in Philadelphia – even if it meant taking a $5.5 million paycut.

He signed a one-year, $10 million restructured deal to come back to the Eagles for a fourth year. And what’s interesting about this is that Vick probably could have earned more money by going to one of the aforementioned teams. However, he chose to stay in Philly for one big reason – Chip Kelly and his new offense.

The Perfect Situation

Over the past four years, Chip Kelly built a reputation as an offensive mastermind at the University of Oregon. His Ducks were regularly among the nation’s top scoring teams, and this helped him compile a 46-7 record at Oregon. Taking all of this into account, it’s no surprise that Vick was excited about returning to the Eagles – despite suffering through an injury-plagued season where he threw for just 2,362 yards, 12 TD’s and 10 INT’s.

chip-kelly-oregonVick discussed the matter by saying, “I feel like this is the perfect situation for me. After talking with Chip and looking at the offense, I wanted to be here.” He added, “This is about making it work. Whatever I had to do, I wanted to make this work.”

When considering what Kelly’s offense can do for a quarterback, it’s easy to see why Vick would want to return. The large number of option plays and emphasis on quarterback speed is great for Michael, who, even at 32, is one of the NFL’s faster players.

Chance of Success?

The Eagles have invested $10 million into Michael Vick while hoping that he can regain the same form he had in 2010 – which saw him throw for 3,018 yards, 21 TD’s and 6 INT’s, and rush for 676 yards and 9 more touchdowns. However, Vick is far from a sure thing since Nick Foles will provide competition for the starting QB role; Foles threw for 1,699 yards, 6 TD’s and 5 INT’s in his seven rookie appearances.

michael-vickHowever, Michael thinks that he can put the injuries and struggles of the past two years behind him as he said, “Physically, I think I’m right there as good as the 23-year-old me I was way back when I got started. I’ve been training hard already with Tom Anderson and he’s going to have me ready to play in this offense by next season.”

Plus the offensive weapons are all there, which is something that isn’t completely true with Cleveland, Buffalo and Arizona. Vick has a star running back (LeSean McCoy), two strong wide receivers (Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson) and a very solid tight end (Brent Celek) in Philadelphia.

The right pieces and offensive scheme are certainly there for Vick this coming season. Now it’s up to him to stay healthy and prove that his skills haven’t diminished with age.