Chip and His Fast Offense

Posted: February 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »

I caught Brian Westbrook on a radio show this week.  He talked about the Super Bowl and some general NFL topics.  Eventually he was asked about Chip Kelly and the Eagles.  Westy is a pretty good analyst.  He knows the NFL better than some ex-players.  He disappointed me with his comments on Kelly.

Like so many others, Westy is under the impression that Chip recruited a bunch of track stars and that Oregon just ran by and around teams due to sheer speed.  He questioned whether this could work in the NFL, where all teams have speed.  Ugh.

Chip did not have the fastest football team at Oregon.  He had some explosive players, but not nearly as many as people like to think.  LaMichael James was Kelly’s biggest star at Oregon.  He ran 4.45 at the Combine, one of 8 RBs to go less than 4.50.  That’s good speed, but hardly makes him some freak.  Let’s look at some others:

2012 – TE David Paulson – 6-5, 246 – 4.93 (Combine)…improved to 4.70 at Pro Day
2012 – QB Darron Thomas – 6-3, 220 – 4.80 (Pro Day)
2012 – WR Lavasier Tuinei – 6-4, 220 – 4.53 (Pro Day)
2011 – WR Jeff Maehl – 6-1, 189 – 4.65 (Pro Day)
2010 – TE Ed Dickson – 6-4, 255 – 4.67 (Combine)
2010 – WR Cameron Colvin – 6-3, 210 – 4.65 (Pro Day)

So…um…where are all of the track stars?

Kelly has had one truly explosive player…De’Anthony Thomas.  He’s just finished his Sophomore season.  He’s got legit 4.4 type speed.  The rest of these guys did not have the kind of speed people think.  Too often people see the offense playing fast and mistake that for individual speed.  That’s not the case.

The Oregon offense did play fast, but that involves more than running.  Kelly got the plays in quickly.  The players got to the LOS quickly.  Adjustments were made quickly.  The ball was snapped quickly.  Run plays were often quick hitters.  On pass plays the QB was taught to make quick reads and get the ball out to his receivers quickly.  You don’t have to be fast to play fast.

Some of you will remember Loyola Marymount’s basketball team in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Coach Paul Westhead ran the most up-tempo style in the history of basketball.  He taught his teams to shoot quickly.  He wanted to attack all game long.  The system was unlike anything I’d ever seen.  Imagine an NBA all star game…every game.  When it worked, the system was great.  His teams scored a ton of points and could be fun to watch.  They would wear down opponents…physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Teams just weren’t used to scoring 110 points in a college game.

Chip Kelly has taken some of these principles and applied them to football.  He wants his offense to attack quickly.  Play fast.  Put the defense on their heels.  By doing this you wear them down…physically, mentally, and emotionally.  You have to be in great shape to do this.  Kelly pushes his players to be in great shape.  It also requires great mental toughness to be able to play fast.  You have to move quickly on the field before the ball is even snapped.  This is something that must be drilled into a team.

The first time I ever noticed such a thing was when watching Dirk Koetter’s Arizona State team about a decade ago.  I was at the game and noticed the Sun Devils broke the huddle by the 20 second mark every single play.  Koetter wanted his QB to have enough time to get to the LOS and be able to make adjustments.  He also wanted to run lots of plays and keep pressure on the defense.  His players moved very quickly from the end of the play to the huddle.  This wasn’t an accident.  It was by design.  Players were coached up and knew that was important.

Kelly teaches his team to move with purpose, on the practice field and in games.  Everything is done in an up-tempo style.  This prepares players so that they’ll be fast in games.  Opposing players are not always ready.  They can get worn down by the pace.  Vince Lombardi’s great quote fits here…”fatigue makes cowards of us all”.  This fall the NFL Network ran “Jimmy Johnson: A Football Life”.  Jimmy gave a brilliant speech which ties right into this subject.

One of the reasons Chip Kelly’s teams looked so fast is that they wore down the competition.  His teams were taught to attack all game long.  They were in great shape.  I can’t stress this enough, but they were in great shape physically and mentally.  The players were prepared the whole offseason and training camp to play the attacking style.  They understood how to attack.  Just going quickly means nothing.  You have to attack quickly, but also successfully.  Players must know exactly what to do and how to handle the pace.  You don’t want a frenzy.  You want controlled chaos.

Kelly has a lot of work to do in trying to teach the Eagles this style of play.  Andy Reid laid a foundation for it with his pass happy attack and occasional use of the no-huddle.  The big difference is that the Eagles weren’t a fast offense under Reid.  There were speedy players, but the system itself wasn’t fast.  Even the no-huddle wasn’t exactly an attacking style of offense.  Kelly has to teach the players to move with purpose at all times.  There will be some awkward mistakes as he teaches this, but that’s okay.  You don’t install a new style of play and expect things to be perfect.

The up-tempo style can work in the NFL.  The Patriots had a great season while running a fast offense.  They ran more plays than anyone in the league.  They also got more 1st downs, gained more yards, and scored more points.  Having Tom Brady is the key to that, but the system was a big help.  The Pats 557 points are one of the highest totals in NFL history.

The Buffalo Bills ran a no-huddle attack during their Super Bowl run from 1990-93.  They varied the speed.  Sometimes they moved quickly.  Other times they slowed down, generally when trying to protect a lead.  People think of those Bills teams and remember Jim Kelly and the high octane passing attack, but they were Top 10 in rushing attempts and yards each of those 4 seasons.  Kelly got the team to the LOS quickly, but they still ran the ball.  It was a balanced offense and featured 2 RBs, Thurman Thomas and Kenneth Davis.

You need the right players to make the up-tempo style of play work, but it sure helps to have a great teacher.  Kelly took solid college talent and turned those players into overachievers.  Guys that had good speed and solid athletic ability were the key pieces on a devastating offense.  Now Kelly gets his hands on Shady McCoy, Bryce Brown, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek.  He’s got some really good weapons to work with.  Kelly must find the right QB to make the system work, but also needs the players to buy into his ideas.

The Eagles offense will only function as Kelly wants if the players learn how to think fast, practice fast, and of course…play fast.  Attack is the word of the day.  That word doesn’t just mean attack the defense on Sunday.  It is part of a mindset that Kelly has brought to town.  You attack the playbook, weight lifting, conditioning, rehab, mini-camps, Training Camp, and everything in between.  Then you’ll be ready when it is time to attack on the field.

Prepare fast.  Practice fast.  Play fast.

* * * * *

I wrote up some draft notes.  Thoughts on a variety of players.

_


  • Anders

    Tommy, Terron Armstead is actually one of my sleeper targets for us in the later rounds. He is very athletic (former TE) he just need coaching.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

      I saw some youtube clips of him, and while he looks athletic, he seemed to get easily bullrushed, and lacked strength in general. But maybe in a year or two in an NFL weight room can do wonders.

      • Anders

        He also plays to high, that is his biggest problem.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

          My dream scenario is drafting Chris Faulk out of LSU somewhere in the middle rounds. Maybe he needs to go on PUP in 2013, but the reward could be big

    • TommyLawlor

      Amstead isn’t as raw as I expected. He just needs more strength training and high level coaching. Might not play as a rookie, but he’s not going to be as raw as Nate Menkin was last summer (as a Texan).

      • Anders

        Where do you project him going right now?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

          My guess is around round 5. That’s usually where teams begin to select projects a la Dennis Kelly

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Brilliant post once again Tommy. Which one of our current projected starting players do you susbect will have the most challenge in playing an up-tempo game? Who lacks the mental and physical toughness to play like this? And who would excell? I realize it’s going to be some wild guesses, but maybe you have a more in-depth knowledge of the players mentality, in contrast to myself.

    • TommyLawlor

      You would think the WRs will have the toughest time. No more bitching about calls and celebrating good plays. Get back to the LOS and get ready for the next snap.

      The Eagles have an offense that is athletic. The OL fit the style. The RBs fit. Celek too. Almost all WRs are top athletes.

      Bryce Brown might have a tough adjustment since he’s still learning the game of football at the highest level. Good thing is that he’ll be mixed in rather than playing 40 snaps a game. Should help with the transition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

        Do you think it’s possible that Watkins can benefit the most of any? I still have hope that he can be at least a functional starter in the right system.
        I am really looking forward to seeing Maclin this year. Either he buys in, and really takes the next step, or he will simply have another ok season an walk in FA

        • TommyLawlor

          Danny will love the increased run game.

          I don’t know how he’ll take to Chip’s coaching. Huge mystery. Danny didn’t handle Mudd’s aggressive style. Maybe having a clean slate with Chip will bring out the best in him. Don’t bet on it, but it is possible.

          • austinfan

            I think Watkins’ biggest struggle was the first step on his pass set, as an inexperienced player who was a college LT (step back to seal the edge), he never got comfortable with Mudd’s “make contact” style and got caught on the wrong step too often. He might be more comfortable in a conventional pass block set.

      • T_S_O_P

        The celebrating good plays effects the TEs too. Well at least one.

        • A_T_G

          If his philosophy brings an end to the excessive first down signaling, I’m on board even if DeSean doesn’t average 6 touchdowns a game. With that gone, I’ll be happy with three.

      • austinfan

        I think Maclin may be gone, just don’t see a role for two finesse receivers in Chip’s system – most of his Oregon WRs were big slow guys who could get open and catch the quick throws – he’s not going to be stretching the field vertically on a regular basis (probably take some shots out of play action to keep defenses honest, and defenses will honor play action from Chip, something we’ve haven’t seen for a while).

        The perfect WR for Chip would be someone like Boldin, tough, physical, can run block and catch in tight quarters.

        • deg0ey

          I don’t watch much of the Chiefs, but would Dwayne Bowe fit that footprint? KC can’t afford to tag him again, but he might be looking to go somewhere that he can compete right away.

  • shah8

    I’m sorta with Westbrook on this one. Kelly’s offense at Oregon has some, say, alignment, with the triple option offense I’m familiar with. The triple option isn’t easily stoppable, but it’s a classic skill and technique offense that teams who can’t recruit exceptional athletes can run.

    Much like the triple option, Kelly’s attack depends quite a bit on credible quick hitting interior runs to force the mismatches on the outside for runs, and passing mismatches on those quick throws (because the LBs are watching the dive first). Obviously, we will not see the original Oregon attack in the NFL, mostly because there are plenty of true space eating DLmen who can keep the LBs clean and farther behind the LOS at snap.

    Thinking about this, I do wonder if there isn’t a chance Warmack will be drafted at 4. The most important aspects of both the college Kelly game and the NE running game is the dive. If people believe that Warmack can step in and produce in the running game right away, he could do what the fireman failed to do, which is to make simple running plays up the gut successful without allowing penetration. No need for trickeration or shovel passes or ill fated stretches for one or two yards. If you watch Frank Gore, most of his runs are up to the middle, and many work, which sets up the PA for both Smith and Kaepernick. Having a real OL capable of *standard* runs is pretty critical to most offenses, and any offense that’s as likely to feature the dive as much as Kelly will try.

    • shah8

      My head does spin on the idea of some diamond plays with both Shady and Fresh. Fresh can threaten the dive and away and McCoy can thread the hole or catch an outlet. Celek and DJack headed upfield.

      • TommyLawlor

        Who is Fresh?

        • shah8

          My name for Bryce, thought the context was good enough.

          If he thinks Oregon simply had faster players, I suppose he’d be wrong, but Oregon has had some pretty nfl grade players at QB and RB over most of the Kelly years. They just didn’t have fast WRs. This is not taking into account the linemen, but I suppose that’s not material.

          But what I said was that it was a skill and technique offense, with not the best athletes everywheres. Got a few more moving parts to get those favorable matchups, and when facing teams with fewer athletic holes on defense, busting on part tends to bust the whole, think Fairley against the Oregon offense in the championship game.

          • TommyLawlor

            I don’t dispute that Kelly schemed well and created favorable matchups. Had Westbrook said that, I would have agreed.

            Oregon did not have great speed. Nor did they have great QBs. Darron Thomas is in the CFL. Not sure about Jeremiah Masoli. Dennis Dixon played for Kelly for about 8 games. Mariota, this year’s QB, looks great, but was just a freshman. Kelly hardly had QBs that gave him some great advantage.

          • austinfan

            Nor did they have great linemen.
            Unger (2nd rd), and Long this year (probably 4th rd b/c he has to move to OG).
            A couple guys like Asper as UDFAs, few others were even invited to NFL camps. That’s not a lot for six years.

    • TommyLawlor

      If you’re with Westbrook, you’re wrong. He thinks Oregon simply had faster players than other teams. That is factually incorrect.

      You can question whether Chip’s system will work in the NFL for other reasons, but not that one.

  • D-von

    Does anybody think the Eagles should draft Kenjon Barner? I think we could replace Dion Lewis with him

    • TommyLawlor

      No thanks. Too many needs to spend a pick on a RB.

      I’m fine with adding a good UDFA to challenge Dion, but I don’t want to draft a RB.

  • ceteris_paribus1776

    I think you need to think about this in a different context . You need to think about UofOs speed in college terms relative to college defenses, especially those in the PAC-10. Just because the speed on their roster doesn’t stack up to top end NFL speed doesn’t mean they weren’t superior in terms of team speed at the college level.

    Secondly, mariota has elite speed as does Thomas, and Barner. Those three accounted for 37 rushing tds. Josh Huff will most likely run a low-to-mid 4.4. He and Thomas were their two top receivers in 2012. In 2011 James, Thomas, and Barner combined for 36 tds. A 4.45 was good enough for top 8 RBs. That’s actually pretty impressive. You don’t have to run a 4.4 flat to have elite speed in college.

    Lavasier’s 4.52 isn’t fantastic but at 6-3 220 is very good for a college WR. If he’s running 4.4 he’s a top 1st round prospect. Again, you don’t have to have the fastest guy at every position to have good team speed. I think you’ve vastly undersold the RELATIVE team speed Oregon possessed, especially compared to college defenses.

    • TommyLawlor

      I did think about this in college terms. Oregon had an elite player in Thomas. I wrote that he had elite speed.

      I didn’t go through this year’s other guys because I’m dealing with the known, not what I think. I learned a long time ago that guys can look fast in college and turn out not to be. Some guys are obviously fast (Thomas), but others just appear that way.

      Oregon did not have great speed for the majority of Chip’s time there, but he did post great numbers.

      • xeynon

        He also put together dominant offenses at New Hampshire, which clearly weren’t simply a result of recruiting blue chip talent.

      • ceteris_paribus1776

        I’m not going off of what I think, rather what nfldraftscout thinks. I don’t think they are just making up times.

        I’d argue in 2011 and 2012 they did have really good offensive team speed from the positions that they most utilized from a college perspective. I haven’t gone back to think about 2009 and 2010, but if they didn’t that’s still half of his HC tenure. Think about it like this; they had 73 rushing tds in the last two years from guys who have all been clocked in the low-to-mid 4.4s. I don’t see how when you think about college players you can’t think that is a lot of speed. College defenses simply aren’t littered with guys who run sub 4.5s.

        The only other player that was significant in 2010 aside from James, Barner, and Huff was Maehl as you noted. He also ran a 4.55 at the combine, which combined with the rest of the offense is quite complimentary. Oregon seems to have Wrs who run in the 4.5s and RBs in the 4.4s and occasionally a QB that is in the 4.4 range as well. How does that stack up against other college rosters in the PAC-10, across the country, and even more importantly, against PAC-10 defenses? That’s how you determine whether or not Oregon has good team speed.

        • austinfan

          Maehl ran between 4.56-4.62, he did excel in the agility drills, which tells you what was important, hands and the ability to get open quickly.

          2008-2012 drafts:
          Darron Thomas 6’3 220 – 4.80
          Dennis Dixon 6’3 195 – ??? (knee injury)

          LaMichael James 5’8 194 – 4.45
          LaGarrette Blount – 6’1 241 – 4.70
          Jeremiah Johnson – 5’9 209 – 4.62
          Jonathan Stewart – 5’10 235 – 4.48

          Lavasier Tuinei – 6’5 220 – 4.53
          Jeff Maehl – 6’1 190 – 4.56
          Jaison Wiliams – 6’4 237 – 4.65
          Brian Paysinger – 6’2 206 – 4.55

          David Paulson 6’3 246 – 4.93
          Ed Dickson – 6’4 249 – 4.59

          This is not an outstanding group of athletes, the only top picks were James and Stewart at RB, the WRs are slow, with DIckson the only stand out athlete among receivers.

          Stanford:

          Andrew Luck 6-4 234 4.67

          Owen Marecic – 6′- 248 – 4.87
          Toby Gerhart – 6’0 231 – 4.50
          Anthony Kimble – 6-0 216 – 4.64

          Chris Owusu – 5’11 196 – 4.36
          Ryan Whalen – 6’1 202 – 4.53
          Doug Baldwin – 5’10 189 – 4.48
          Mark Bradford – 6’1 211 – 4.69

          Jacoby Fleener – 6’6 247 4.52
          Jim Dray – 6’5 251 – 4.83
          Evan Moore – 6’6 233 – 4.74

          California:

          Shane Vereen – 5’10 210 – 4.49
          Jahvid Best – 5’10 199 – 4.35
          Justin Forsett – 5’8 191 – 4.62
          Will Tauffou – 5’10 252 – 4.85

          Marvin Jones – 6’2 199 – 4.46
          Michael Calvin – 6’3 210 – 4.34
          Jeremy Ross – 6’0 209 – 4.47
          Nyan Boateng – 6’1 214 – 4.70
          Verran Tucker – 6’2 200 – 4.66
          Lavelle Hawkins – 5’11 187 – 4.57
          DeSean Jackson – 5’10 169 – 4.35
          Robert Jordan – 5’11 172 – 4.44

          Cameron Morrah – 6’3 244 – 4.66
          Craig Stevens – 6’3 254 – 4.59

          Mitchell Schwartz
          Alex Mack
          Mike Gibson

          USC:

          Mark Sanchez – 6’2 227 – 4.92
          David Booty 6’3 218 – 4.82

          Mark Tyler – 5’11 219 – 4.76
          Allen Bradford – 5’11 242 – 4.53
          Joe McKnight – 5’11 198 – 4.43
          Stafon Johnson – 5’11 214 – 4.62
          Chancey Washington – 6’0 216 – 4.45
          Stanley Havili – 6’0 227 -

          Brandon Carswell – 6’1 201 – 4.47
          Ron Johnson – 5’11 196 – 4.46
          Patrick Turner – 6’5 223 – 4.61
          Damien Williams – 6’1 197 – 4.55

          Rhett Ellison – 6’5 251 – 4.88
          Jordan Cameron – 6’5 254 – 4.53
          David Ausberry – 6’3 243 – 4.43
          Anthony McCoy – 6’4 259 – 4.71
          Fred Davis – 6’3 255 – 4.60
          Dale Thompson – 6’4 245 – 4.76

          Matt Kalil
          Charles Brown
          Chilo Rachal
          Sam Baker
          Drew Radovich

          • ceteris_paribus1776

            Thanks. That was more of the sort of breakdown I was looking for. I think this does more to support the argument. However, I still believe that once you factor in that James, Barner, & Thomas account for the majority of their offense and Mariota this past year you can’t simply brush that combination of players speed and athleticism under the rug. The other thing missing is the athleticism of the offensive line. That’s a bit more difficult to judge but important nonetheless.

          • austinfan

            The OL is athletic only in the sense of being relatively undersized and athletic, not in the sense of being superior athletes for their size, compare to the quality on the USC line, for example.

            Note also that Oregon has been a top 10 team, and a top 3-5 offense, with overall offensive talent that I doubt would break the top 20. Stewart and Dixon (who he inherited for a year), Dickson and James are the only “NFL level” athletes he had on offense for six years.

            I wouldn’t get overexcited about Mariota, Barner is going to be a mid-round pick and even the Black Mamba will struggle to break into the 1st rd (the same way Austin will from WV) because of his size. They’re good, but not elite athletes. And notice all the speed are interchangeable backfield guys. Barner had 300 touches in 2012, but only 273 combined the previous two years. Thomas only had 137 touches in 2012. Huff had 32 catches in 2012 and 31 in 2011.

            Chip was getting better athletes but note that Oregon averaged 49.6 ppg in 2012, 46.1 ppg in 2011 and 47 ppg in 2010.

            The 2010 team had LeMichael James (294 carries), Darron Thomas (3) at QB, Barner (92), Alston (63).

            Maehl had 77 for 1076 yards
            Drew Davis 42 for 470
            Paulson 24 for 418
            Tuinei 36 for 396

            Some speed (but not exceptional speed, 4.45 is good but not great for two smallish RBs), and no speed in the receiving core (your fastest receiver ran a 4.56).

            I’m a Longhorn fan, and for sheer athleticism, the Horns could run Chip’s teams into the ground. So could a number of other Big 10 teams, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and maybe even Baylor.

          • ceteris_paribus1776

            That’s a nice take. I wasn’t arguing that the ducks were supremely athletic or talented to the point that a fool could coach them. I just thought the way the argent was presented didn’t properly allow one to evaluate whether or not Oregon’s speed was legit or not. I think overall they do just fine for themselves in the speed department even if they don’t have the absolute most talented or speedy team in college. Chip clearly knows how best to utilize their talent, but he also wasn’t playing with half a deck.

            I think the biggest problem he’ll run into is the fact that in order to excel in the NFL the play book needs to be a little more advanced to the point where you cannot use the same personnel grouping without giving away your tendencies. Thats why noone uses the no huddle all game. It’s why the “fast pace” offenses in the NFL are run by first ballot HOF QBs (Kelly, Brady, manning, brees) Oregon does what it does extrememly well and can do it with similar personnel most of the time because their RBs are interchangeable.

    • TommyLawlor

      One other simple test is to think about the skill players. How many were 5 star recruits? How many are household names? How many made it in the NFL?

      Kelly had players coming and going. James was the only 3-year star. Kelly had 3 different guys as leading receivers in the last 4 years. Masoli transferred to Ole Miss in 2010 and posted pedestrian numbers. He was nothing special. Darron Thomas ran 4.8. That’s nothing special for a running QB. Okay, but hardly makes him a burner.

      I do agree that Oregon has some guys now who look faster, but that doesn’t change the overall point. His offense has posted great numbers without great speed.

  • xeynon

    People keep ignoring the fact that Kelly has flat out said the Eagles offense he implements will not be a carbon copy of his Oregon offense. I’m sure he understands that NFL defenders are all very talented, that it’s near impossible to win on superior athletic ability alone, and that plays that work in the college game by matching up an offensive player who has NFL-caliber speed with a defender who doesn’t won’t work in the NFL except under special circumstances (e.g. an injury forcing a subpar defender to take the field at a certain position). Some of the plays his Ducks used won’t work for the Eagles, which is why I don’t think he’ll bring those plays with him. What I think he will bring is the overall objective of building an offense that does not give the defense a chance to rest or regroup and pushes the pace of play in order to wear them down mentally and physically, and he’ll design new plays that do accomplish that goal at an NFL level. It’s the difference between small bore tactics (which don’t translate that well) and big picture strategy (which does). To use an analogy, just look at military history – tactics and technology are obviously vastly different today than they were in ancient or medieval times, but the overarching strategies employed by Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan are still employed by modern armies.

    The kind of strategic approach to offense Kelly advocates can work and has worked in the NFL (with the Pats this year and the K-Gun of the early 90s Bills as Tommy points out, but also at times with the Manning Colts and Brees Saints, among others.). You need the right kinds of players to do it, but it has a proven track record.

  • austinfan

    WR Jeff Maehl – 6-1, 189 – 4.65 (Pro Day)
    Only WR ever to gain 1000 yards in a season under Chip.
    Compare to Big 10 spread offenses, for example.

  • JEinOKC

    Tommy, each year when it comes to the draft, there are always critiques about how player X will be able to transition into the league based off of what he experienced in college. There seem to be just a few different ‘categories’ of players who end up making an attempt at the next level and I’d like to know your take on what your preference is on pedigree when trying to evaluate ability to be a good pro. For example, a disruptive defender on a top defense could be considered the cream of the crop or maybe just stood out because an opposing offense didn’t have the luxury of double-teaming due to the skill of his teammates. Compare that to a player who has similar combine numbers but was a standout player for a smaller school. Or compare that to a guy on a bad team forced to play top competition, sucking up double and triple teams and maybe never reaching his full effectiveness. Do you have a general preference? And does it change for you based on the position he played?

    The other example that always comes up in my mind is the quarterback position, where too often it seems like a player with too good an O-line or skill players (aka any USC QB) never really experiences problems that help him grow mentally to become a great pro. Conversely, a QB with too little talent around him could end up messed up for completely different reasons. Do you believe there is a sweet spot of talent/adversity that best prepares a QB for the next level?

    • A_T_G

      Before Tommy answers… how do we know you aren’t Joe Banner?

      • JEinOKC

        I guess you’ll just have to wait and see if jason la canfora pens a hit piece on him based on the response

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  • T_S_O_P

    I read your draft notes yesterday and centred in on Mingo. I’d like Howie to somehow leave this draft with Mingo Barkevious and Jesse Williams.

  • ICDogg

    Here’s a QB who “plays fast” in the sense that he gets the ball out in a hurry:

    Matt Scott

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUa4xUGoeM0

  • southjerseybob@gmail.com

    Among the media and much of the football world, there is total ignorance about Chip Kelly. His spread offense creates numerical mismatches at the point of attack so he can run the ball. When the defense comes up to stop the run, he uses bubble screens and when they come up to stop the bubble screen he burns you with the long ball.
    Kelly is a student of the game and uses tehniques and schemes that date to the very begininning of the game of football. What’s interesting is that most coaches today, especially in the NFL, have forgotten them. Kelly is fundamentally sound: formations are just tools, and he knows them all.

  • JoshLev

    Hey Tommy first time poster here, first off keep up the great work you definitely are my favorite eagles writer i always have enjoyed this site and your insight and from what i gathered so does most other informed eagles fans. What do you think of E.J. Manuel as a prospect and when would you take a chance on him in the draft? It seems like he would love to come here and if he fixes his footwork he seems like a real good fit for our offense.

  • bdbd20

    I saw a report that Devin Hester wants a fresh start. It would be interesting to see him in Chip’s offense.

  • miked718

    Seems like Westbrook is just sticking up for his coach in a backwards way. Talking smack on the new boyfriend so you (the ex) look good. I’ve got a bad head cold so this might only be sensical to me.

  • eagles2zc

    Now the NFL just need to penalize fake injuries by the defense, especially badly-acted ones. Cough, Giants, cough

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    John Elway never led Stanford to a bowl game.