Why Go No-Huddle?

Posted: June 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

A commenter in the previous post raised a simple question…why go with the no-huddle attack? What is so great about it? Oregon didn’t win any national titles. No-huddle teams in the NFL haven’t loaded up on Super Bowls. What’s the big deal?

There are various reasons behind going no-huddle. Eagles OL coach Jeff Stoutland talked about a key one this spring. He said that no-huddle teams drove Nick Saban crazy. Saban loves to use very specific defensive packages. Watch an Alabama game and you’ll see players coming and going off the field as Saban adjusts his defenses. Bama lost just one game in 2012. Texas A&M beat them 29-24, using a no-huddle attack. The last team to score more points on Bama than that was back in October of 2010.

The no-huddle means that defenses can’t substitute players. As long as the offense doesn’t make changes, the defense can’t make changes. Well, they could try, but the offense would catch them with too many players on the field and guys not sure what to do as they ran on at the last minute. The no-huddle allows the offense to control who is in the game and the flow of the game.

This is where having versatile offensive players is so huge. If you can keep the same personnel on the field, but switch from the I-formation to the empty set to the 2-TE set, you will put the defense at a major disadvantage. The offense then dictates the action and should be able to create favorable matchups.

Offense also like to go no-huddle to try and wear down defenses. This is where the number of plays you run in a game is important. The goal is to run an extra 20 plays in a game. Go from 65 to 85. If a defense is used to 65 snaps, those extra 20 plays may wear them down and leave them vulnerable to mistakes, physical and mental. Tired players are sloppy players.

What you have to understand is that the no-huddle offense doesn’t mean going full speed hurry-up on every snap. This isn’t a gimmick. The no-huddle attack runs at multiple speeds and can be adjusted to different game situations. You want to work the clock late in a game when you’ve got the lead. You can still do that from the no-huddle. If you’re trailing and in hurry-up mode, that will be very natural because it won’t be a huge change from your base offense the way it might if you were an old school I-formation running team.

As for success, this has to be split into a college and pro discussion.

In college football, the spread and no-huddle attacks were partially designed as a way to help lesser talent beat better talent. Alabama can line up with a 5-star QB, 5-star RB and the best O-line in the nation and run base plays. If Oregon tried to do that, they would have limited success and be more of an 8-4 type of team. Oregon isn’t loaded with special players. They need an edge.

The Ducks did make the title game a couple of years back. The team that beat them, Auburn, ran a spread attack that used some no-huddle. Offensive guru Gus Malzahn arrived in 2009 and installed the attack. The Tigers had been awful in 2008, finishing 104th in yards and 110th in scoring. In Malzahn’s first year, Auburn finished 16th in yards and 17th in scoring. The next year they got Cam Newton. Auburn was 7th in yards and points. Newton won the Heisman and the Tigers were national champs.

Northwestern has a good football team every year, in part because of their spread, no-huddle attack. They don’t have the athletes to stop people on defense so they try to out-score them. Joe Tiller brought this idea to Purdue in the 1990s and it took over the Big Ten. Iowa remains a team that runs an old school system. They line up in the I and pound the rock. The Hawkeyes haven’t finished in the Top 50 in the nation in yards gained in the last 6 years. I quit checking at that point.

Teams like Bama and LSU can line up in basic formations and win with talent. USC was like this for a while. Texas too. Other teams aren’t so lucky and they have to find an edge. That’s when they spread you out and go no-huddle. It has been a tremendous help to many programs and college football would be worlds different without it.

As for the NFL, teams are mixing in some of these elements, but we really don’t have enough evidence to judge right now. The Patriots offense has been great in the last couple of years. The team reached the Super Bowl and lost in the AFC title game in those 2 years so I think the system is working well for them. The big problem for them in those years was injuries to Rob Gronkowski. He is their special player, but had an ankle injury slow him in the Super Bowl and then last year broke his arm and missed the AFC title game altogether.

The 2006 Colts won the Super Bowl using some no-huddle. The 2009 Colts got to the title game, but lost using the same attack. Jim Caldwell had a hand in both offenses and last year helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl by mixing in some no-huddle. Green Bay is in the middle of using more no-huddle.

Heck, you can argue that the 2012 Eagles offense looked its best when going no-huddle vs the Ravens. There were parts of that game where you really thought the offense was getting on track after the poor showing in the season opener at Cleveland.

Both Manning brothers use some no-huddle, Peyton more than Eli.

There is no system that will win you games, whether something as exotic as the Run ‘n Shoot or as basic as the I-formation run game. Schemes and philosophies can help players by giving them favorable situations. That advantage only goes so far, though. At a certain point it comes down to talent and execution.

Kelly’s ideas will only work in the NFL if he has the right personnel to make them come alive. How different was Buddy Ryan’s 46 Defense with Mike Singletary in Chicago vs Mike Reichenbach in Philly (the early years)? Kurt Warner threw 26 TD passes in his final season with the Cardinals. The team has only thrown 42 TD passes in the last 3 years. Same scheme. Same ideas. Very, very different results.

Kelly thinks his system can work in the NFL because he’s seen the Patriots use some of his ideas successfully. Kelly also sees more and more teams incorporating the no-huddle as more than a situational system. The goal isn’t to hide talent deficiencies, as in college, but rather to limit what the defense can do and to throw the other team off balance. NFL coaches put in complex, meticulous gameplans. All that planning can become a moot point when the offense goes no-huddle. The defense can’t change personnel and is more likely to run base plays than anything  special for that game.

Do you remember the Eagles-Patriots game from 2007? Jim Johnson came up with this wild gameplan. He moved guys all over and got very creative. Chris Gocong played some DE. Jevon Kearse played some DT. There were plays with 4 DEs on the field. LBs came and went according to different situations. If the Pats had gone no-huddle, that gameplan would have gone largely unused. You’d have seen the base defense or base Nickel package out there and that’s it.

One of the real keys for me in buying into this system is that Kelly knows how to run it. He can teach it to the players. He can show them how to practice it. He can then make adjustments during the game. I would feel very different if Andy Reid had gone to Oregon to meet with Kelly and bring his ideas to Philly. I’d be much less comfortable with that.

Football is a cyclical game. Defenses will find some way to adjust to the no-huddle attacks and then offenses will have to figure out their next counter-move.

One point I do have to stress…the no-huddle is not a gimmick. This isn’t the Wildcat where you are trying to trick defenses and hope they’re confused. The no-huddle is a system that relies on logic and tries to help the offense in some basic ways. It can be adapted to different situations so this isn’t the Run ‘n Shoot that is trying to completely change offensive thinking.

The commenter made the point that the Bills used the no-huddle and they lost 4 Super Bowls. I would actually say that is the argument for using the no-huddle. Getting to 4 straight Super Bowls is an amazing achievement. You only do that when you’ve got a great combination of personnel and scheme. As for the losses, the first was a heartbreaker. After that, the Bills had the bad luck of running into great teams. The 1991 Skins were amazingly good. The 1992 and 1993 Dallas teams were loaded with Hall of Famers. Those Bills teams would have wiped the floor with some recent Super Bowl champs. I don’t think the 2005 Steelers, 2006 Colts or either Giants team would have stood a chance against them.

We’ll see if the no-huddle is just getting ready to take off or if it will get stopped in its infancy by NFL defensive coaches. I do know that college coaches have been trying to stop it for years and have had little to no luck.


65 Comments on “Why Go No-Huddle?”

  1. 1 micksick said at 4:24 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    totally agree about the bills, rooted for them in each of those super bowls, and they lost all to NFC east teams smh. but they were great, always liked don bebee, lol

  2. 2 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:25 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    wasnt bebee the one who hustled all the way back down the field on a turnover to knock the ball away from a defender who recovered it? wasn’t that leon lett or somebody?

  3. 3 micksick said at 5:29 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    yup that was bebee

  4. 4 GEagle said at 7:25 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    The point of the no huddle is not to trick teams, True but it ends up happening anyway, especially when you start throwing in all this presnap motion. having Casey go from lining up in the pistol on one play, and the next play he flexes out wide without letting the defense substitue. Thats tough on a defense. All it takes, is a moment of confusion by a defender, and an offensive player could be off to the races for a big play…You have to be a very good defense, to be able to line up in your base package all game and stop a chip offense. isn’t a defense in the NFC east that scares me(our D should be striving to be the best in the division, this year..sounds crazy, but wouldn’t shock me).
    Fatigue is certainly important. We have been practicing to run 90 plays a game since April. Not all our opponents will be ready for that. NOrmal Huddle teams run the ball in the first half, wearing down the defense, and start breaking big plays in the 4th quarter..Well a no huddle should have defenses worn down sooner then normal, and also more fatigued come the 4th. Being tired and confused is tough if you are trying to defend an in shape, mentally sharp Desean, or shady…..I think Ertz and Casey are our most important players on offense(after the line of course)
    Chips system is also not just about scheme. If his defense practices against this all year, they are much sharper mentally. And the game slows down for them when they play a huddle defense. Practicing in this should really have our players as sharp mentally and physically as possible. ATleast that’s the goal

  5. 5 P_P_K said at 10:59 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    I agree with you. If Chip can get all the components working — strategy, personnel condiitoning — our no huddle could be great. The question is: can he?

    On the one hand, I can see how the no huddle could become the wave of the future. On the other hand, I can also see this as a college level strategy that doesn’t work in the NFL. Going to be an interesting season.

  6. 6 GEagle said at 4:26 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    I actually think its the next wave. Coaches already not running it are going to be sick of watching the game dictated to their Denise coordinators by their opponent…and are going to want that same advantage. Once teams see the advantage of forcing their opponents to play a lot of base defense, I think they will all start to incorporate it..some to a lessor degree than others of course

  7. 7 ohitsdom said at 12:19 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Confusion might be a side effect of pre-snap motion, but I think isolation is the goal. If a team has their base defense in, motion your tight end to the slot and isolate the linebacker. Chip is all about attacking weak points and exploiting matchups. Defenses might be confused once in awhile and have a coverage breakdown, but that’s not the goal. More of an added bonus when it does happen.

  8. 8 GEagle said at 4:02 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Well said, totally agree. Unless we face a similar defense who has been practicing against a high tempo, versatile,motion offense all of season long, confusion and breakdowns should be inevitable..If that were the goal, it would be Gimicky. But I agree that it’s not the case. Mismatch in space is what he strives for, which is practically the goal of most coaches..he just doesn’t use the most traditional NFL ways to go about trying to create it

    “The ultimate Chess match” game against Harbaugh is when I fell in love…Whatever Stanford did, he made them pay for it. It literally looked like it didn’t matter what the defense was going to try to do, he had the perfect answer for it.
    his ideas and methods won’t be described by anyone as the traditional NFL way of doing things. he is making so much change, yet how do you really argue against Change when it’s all based on simple logic and common sense? IMO there is only one question at all about Chip Kelly and his methods at this level that needs answering for me. Can this method be sustained for potentially 20 games by 30yr old veterans?

  9. 9 OregonDucker said at 2:05 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    @GEagle I completely agree with your points.
    According to Dixon, the Eagles no huddle is much faster than the Ducks. I suspect because of the hand signals for all offense players.
    The best defense to the no huddle, I believe, is frequent run and pass blitzes. The idea, of course, is to disrupt the play and prevent the mismatches and misalignments from turning into TDs. Some of the Eagle QBs are very good at blitz pickup and others are very poor. I hope we see who is best during TC.

  10. 10 GEagle said at 3:49 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    DUcker…been meaning to ask you a question bud, but I always forget. Everyone’s understanding of Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense is that it was mainly OZR/IZR out of shotgun single or two back sets, eventually evolving to the Universal formation, but my question is how much if any 3back Pistol did he use?
    I ask because when I look at our personel and I see a bunch of Big, physical weapons Who can go from flexing out wide as recievers, to blocking DBs to smithereens. I can see us causing some problems for teams with a big boy package of Benn,Celek,Ertz,Casey, and a back..If those 4 guys can flex out wide and do some damage in the passing game, the moment a DC gets desperate and tries to go with a dime package, we could do some serious damage in a 3back pistol the way the Niners used it in the first two drives against the Packers, bringing Delanie walker and Vernon Davis into the backfield blocking for Gore. I would love to see us with Celek and Casey in the backfield blocking for shady against 6 DBs, speed up the pace, never allowing them to substitute til you pound them into the Endzone.
    very excited to see what Ertz can do against a CB or a Safety..Have the abuse hotline number close by lol

  11. 11 OregonDucker said at 4:05 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    @GEagle I cannot ever recall seeing a 3 back pistol formation. He could have used one near the goal line, but boy I don’t recall seeing one.

    But for consolation, how about a WR double-stack!!


    Chip will do what works in the NFL. If its a 3 back pistol, then he will use it.

  12. 12 GEagle said at 4:09 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Yeah, I was afraid you were going to say that..but I do agree that there will be plenty of what works in the NFL level that he will incorporate that wasn’t seen at Oregon..Hopefully 3back pistol is top on that list…
    I’m gonna check out the double stack…when Chip had a bunch of big guys out there, being defended by a dime package, how did he typically attack it in the run game? Same IZR/OZR attack?

  13. 13 GEagle said at 4:05 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Also, with Offensive lineman having different restriction in the NFL than College, do you think the legendary screen game will translate smoothly to the NFL level?

  14. 14 OregonDucker said at 4:45 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Look at the practice formation with Lane Johnson spread out 15 yards from the guard. Chip will get innovative within NFL rules.

  15. 15 GEagle said at 4:48 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    I’m going to be giggling like a school girl when I start seeing lineman lined up all over the place

  16. 16 CTAZPA said at 7:48 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    It’s ironic that in college the no huddle has been used to overcome talent deficiencies, but in the NFL it’s being used by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. That’s a good reminder to stop arguing Foles v. Vick. We need a QB to step up and be a stud.

  17. 17 Mac said at 11:55 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Or does that mean that Tom and Peyton are talent deficient?

  18. 18 atb124 said at 8:20 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    For me, paragraphs 3 and 4 are at the top of the list of no-huddle goals. Get those mismatches and keep them.

    I would think we’ll see defensive responses in both scheme and personnel. Teams will need to start finding and developing more versatile defenders. Guys like what Dion Jordan is projected to be, that can smother a tight end in coverage and drive him back on run plays. I don’t know that many of those guys exist right now, but it wasn’t long ago that TEs that were absolutely dynamic receivers and good blockers were a rarity. They just started popping in to existence. I think this is because teams started looking for them and developing them and we’ll see the same thing happen with LBs to match.

    Schematically, the obvious answer seems to be a shift to a more hybrid system. You don’t have to substitute to give the offense all the different looks that you can give to a traditional offense.

    Just another example of Chip being one step ahead of the game. While more and more teams are looking to create these mismatches on offense, and searching for answers on defense, his guys have been playing a defense custom built to handle that since day one.

  19. 19 bdbd20 said at 8:26 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Great post Tommy. I think we’re all anxious to see what this offense can do. There’s no question this offense has talent at OL, WR, TE, and RB.

    Those Bills teams were amazing. If that FG had just gone through in 1991, we’d be talking about that team as one of the best of all time. Many forget about the AFC Championship game that year, 51-3.

  20. 20 phillychuck said at 8:41 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    There seems to be an obvious question that’s not being asked about the no-huddle. If one of your goals is to run 85 plays rather than 65 plays so that you wear out the opposing defense, won’t YOUR defense get worn out, too? And isn’t that more of a problem with a defense with shallower talent (like the Eagles might be this year)? So don’t you just end up losing 42-34 rather than 17-13?

  21. 21 knighn said at 9:10 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    I’m just thinking in type here (the online equivalent of thinking outloud), but I believe that the Eagles no-huddle will only tire out the Eagles defense more than usual if:
    A) The Eagles Offense is not making moving the ball / making first downs / scoring
    B) The opposing team is also running an effective no-huddle offense. If not, won’t the opposing team be moving at the usual 65 plays-per-game speed and won’t the Eagles defense be more than prepared to handle that speed after practicing at a no-huddle speed?
    Whether or not the Eagles currently have the talent on defense to stop Any opposing Offense, regarless of speed, is a different question.

  22. 22 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:27 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    i think that is a risk. if the defense gets the ball back, then the offense gets the ball, goes 3 and out in the no huddle and the D is right back out there with almost no time to rest!

  23. 23 D3FB said at 3:40 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    There are still TV timeouts and other breaks in action. It would only be an issue if the opposing team rips off a long 15 play drive then the offense goes 3 and out and the defense doesn’t get a a stop in the first five or so plays.

  24. 24 B1ackR0ck said at 9:13 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    I think the main way of keeping this from happening is by moving the chains with short accurate passes and running the ball. Thus way, the clock is always running. Going 3 and out with a huddle and 20 yard passes takes way less time off the clock then 3 running plays with the no huddle offense. I think that is why Chip is adamant about having an accurate passer.

  25. 25 Miami_Adam said at 9:30 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    I think the idea is to run 85 plays in the same time that you would normally run 65. So, at least in theory, your offense is on the field the same amount of time regardless of huddling.
    But I’m glad you’re looking for negatives before they happen.

  26. 26 D3Center said at 9:50 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    If your defense is conditioned properly, which I can almost guarantee Chip will have them, then the your own defense becoming fatigued is a non-issue. At worst the defense will be getting fatigued for a few games and then after getting used to being on the field more they will be fine. On top of proper conditioning the Eagles D will feature heavy rotation, as most teams will not be able to adopt the no huddle yet, keeping the D fresh in another way.

  27. 27 Warhound said at 11:43 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    A few years ago I saw a statistical analysis of the ol’ – “You need to get a few first downs to rest your D” convntnl wisdom. Ha! Doesn’t hold water. Their offense rests also (Note – for def’ it’s more physical fatigue, for off more mental fatigue/stress). What was shown to work was the no-huddle. Even w/o causing match up problems you use it to prevent D-line rotation which wears them down.

  28. 28 TommyLawlor said at 11:48 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Kelly fully acknowledges the Eagles defense will play more plays and that they’ll have some issues. I wrote a piece about this for the Eagles Almanac.

  29. 29 Phils Goodman said at 1:03 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    It still comes down to executing better than the other team. If the Eagles are sharper at their no-huddle techniques than the opponent is at whatever they are trying to do, that should be advantage: Eagles.

  30. 30 OregonDucker said at 2:17 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    IMHO Chip plays a psychological game against the opposing defense. Once he starts to wear them down and score, by the 3rd quarter they are demoralized.

    On the Duck defense, there are frequent substitutions with the 2s and 3s in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Hopefully, this happens at a time when the opposing team is demoralized and tired. Early in the season the Duck 2s and 3s were poor and the 51 to 10 score changed to 51 – 42. But you get my point.

  31. 31 knighn said at 9:00 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Why no-huddle? In football, as in corporate America, if you have too many meetings not enough gets done.

  32. 32 TommyLawlor said at 11:49 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Now that’s terse. And smart.

  33. 33 Warhound said at 11:50 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Clear and concise. The toughest thing in writing.

  34. 34 knighn said at 1:27 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Thanks. In my imagination it’s a motivational poster with a photo of the future Eagles Franchise QB holding up the Lombardi Trophy.
    Also: can you tell I hate meetings?

  35. 35 Jack Waggoner said at 6:44 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    That’s the funniest (and truest) thing I’ve read all day.

  36. 36 Yuri said at 10:41 PM on June 21st, 2013:

    I am way late to the party but… great comment!

  37. 37 RIP Worms said at 10:07 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    My biggest concern with this system is how the defense will hold up at the end of the season. Let’s do some math:

    ASSUMPTION 1: In an average game each team runs 65 plays.

    ASSUMPTION 2: In an average Chip Kelly game each team runs 85 plays. (It’s wishful thinking to believe we will be running more plays THAN THE OTHER TEAM in an average game).

    So, in a 16-game season, the average defense will defend 16 games * 65 plays = 1040 plays.

    The rest of the NFCE will play us twice, so they would see an extra 40 plays per season: 1080 / 1040: about 4% more plays over the course of a season.

    The Eagles defense will see an extra 20 plays PER WEEK: 16 games * 85 plays =1360 plays. That’s 320 extra plays over the course of a season. A 30% increase!!!

  38. 38 RIP Worms said at 10:10 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    The grueling nature of the NFL season already stands in stark contrast to the college season which has additional bye weeks and several weeks rest prior to the team’s bowl game.

    After playing an extra 30% of plays over the course of a season, the defense will immediately need to be ready for the playoffs (playoffs? PLAYOFFS?!?!) with likely no bye week to rest up.

    It wouldn’t shock me to see the Eagles jump out of the gate with say a 6-2 record, begin to wear down in the second half of the season, and end up with a 10-6 record and first round playoff exit.

    No doubt that would be a wonderful result in 2013. My point is that in 3-5 years, when we would hope to have a championship-level team, the additional work for the defense will put our team at a consistent disadvantage going into the playoffs.

  39. 39 Dominik said at 10:46 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Interesting thought, which I would counter through an analogy from soccer (as a European, soccer is an obvious analogy for pretty much everything :D): there are always soccer teams with way more minutes in their legs than others and they still can be very successful at the end of the season. That’s because they are in better shape than most of the other teams. Sounds easy, but that’s just what it is.

    I think Kelly will be able to put the team in almost perfect shape. Still, you COULD be right, no question about that.

  40. 40 RIP Worms said at 11:27 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    I think the conditioning aspect will be the biggest adjustment for Kelly. Too much conditioning results in injuries and early player burn-out. Too little and players tire at the end of the year. I think he will need a few years to get a good feel for where to strike the balance.

  41. 41 phillychuck said at 11:17 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    This is what I was trying to say earlier, except explained better.

    And I really don’t buy the “our team will be better conditioned than everyone else’s” routine. Every coach says that. Conditioning is generally a wash. I hope Kelly’s plan is to do a lot of rotation, because that’s the only way the defense stays healthy and fresh this year.

  42. 42 Mac said at 11:46 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Can it be inferred that the other team will run as many plays as our team?

    It seems to me that there are a wide variety of variables that determine the number of snaps and time of possession each team has. It doesn’t seem far fetched to me to think that in some/many games time of possession is similar but Chip runs more plays during his time of possession.

    Has anyone compiled stats on this?

  43. 43 RIP Worms said at 12:10 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    I agree that there is a wide variety of variables that will affect the number of snaps each team has. But time between snaps is not one of them.

    Even if a team could run a play every 10 seconds, they still need to gain 10 yards in 4 downs to maintain possession.

    If the rules of the game were such that each team gets possession for exactly 30 minutes total, there would be a huge incentive to run as many plays as possible in that allotted time.

    The reason you would run the no-huddle is not to gain an advantage in the total number of plays your team gets to run vs the other team. As Tommy notes, the advantage is in *dictating tempo* to the defense and minimizing their ability to make adjustments.

  44. 44 Mac said at 12:35 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Is there a place where we can see the snap counts side by side though… I’d really like to see (for example) the 2012 pats vs. their opponents week in and week out. We know they had a historic snap count total, but did their opposition also get high numbers of snaps, or was it roughly the same number?

    Questions questions… and I love that you brought light to this issue.

  45. 45 RIP Worms said at 2:43 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Here’s the 2012-13 Oregon Ducks’ stats (http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/2012-13/fb/stats/teamcume.htm):

    * 1058 plays / 13 games = 81 plays/game
    * 27:48 TOP, ~20 seconds per play

    * 985 plays / 13 games = 76 plays/game
    * 32:10 TOP, ~25 seconds per play

  46. 46 RIP Worms said at 12:27 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    This brings up another pet peeve I have with one of the dumbest statistics in all of football: time of possession. That stat should immediately be replaced by play count and/or real-time of possession (as opposed to game clock TOP).

    If team A rips off 3 runs for no gain with 20 seconds between snaps, it will have used 1 minute of game time, 1 minute of real time, and 3 plays.

    If team B throws 3 incomplete passes with 45 seconds between snaps, it will have used about 15 seconds of game time, 2:15 of real time, and the same 3 plays.

    So team A would be applauded for having four times as much time of possession as team B. Team B will get ripped for having only 15 seconds time of possession and forcing the defense back onto the field with no time to rest, even though team B would have had more than twice as much actual time to rest as team A.

    The point of this example is that announcers and analysts often lazily use Time of Possession to imply that somehow a run that gains no yards gives a sitting defense more time to rest than an incomplete pass. It’s utter nonsense.

    [leaves soapbox]

  47. 47 Mac said at 12:33 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    That’s a really good point. It would be great to see those numbers. Sounds like a project for an intern.

  48. 48 holeplug said at 1:39 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    There wont be 170 plays on average for Eagles games next year. The Pats averaged 74 and their opponents avg was 66 per game last year. Pats only had 3 games all year (inc playoffs) above 85 plays.

  49. 49 Dominik said at 10:32 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Hey Tommy! I don’t know if you rate the quality of your posts through the number of comments they produce. 13 comments is not much for your standards, but I enjoyed this post very much. Great work!

  50. 50 bsuperfi said at 10:58 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    This post made me think of something I read by Chris Brown – that the most significant innovations in the NFL come when the right coach with the right scheme meets the right talent. The WCO and Montana. JJ and Dawkins. One isn’t as good without the other.

    Kelly’s ideas are interesting and make a ton of strategic sense. But we need the right player(s) too. Not just to make the scheme work, but to get to that next level – a fundamental innovation in the game.

    I get the sense that TE is that position for Kelly. Maybe QB as well. Hopefully Ertz can step up. Maybe Barkley or Foles is the guy (if quick thinking/good decision-making/good adjustments at the line are key). But in the end, we may just need a special talent that’s not on the roster yet (but hopefully will be soon).

    This is all to say that it’s tough for me to think about scheme without players and vice versa.

  51. 51 Warhound said at 11:54 AM on June 20th, 2013:

    Is it more about the Xs’ and Os’? -OR- The Jimmies and the Joes?

  52. 52 33% God said at 1:06 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    ****Warning; irrelevant Bills related sidebar****

    The early nineties Bills are a rather interesting subject because the true greatness of that team is up for debate. That team had four HOFers (it’s only a matter of time till Reed gets in). Of the teams they faced in the Super Bowl, NYG had one, Wash had two and Dallas had three. To only be truly competitive in only one of those games is somewhat quizzical. The fact that it was against the team with one HOFer, and that in every other game they got smacked up, is discouraging. It is also important to note that the AFC, outside of Marino, stunk during that time. Stunk so bad that for a moment I considered putting stunk in all caps. So you’ll understand when I say that you can’t write off three of those loses as to running into great teams and yet in the same breath claim that they were also a great team, or a necessarily impressive team. That argument runs into itself, especially when you consider that the Bills had more elite talent. I’m not trying to disparage the Bills here, but it is important to look at the context in which their greatness and ineptitude occurred. Let me put it like this, if the Niners beat the Giants in the 90 NFC championship, would anyone here pick the Bills to win the Super Bowl?

    I also do not think that the Bills could have beaten either the 05 Steelers or the 06 Colts. Line up the rosters between the Colts and the Bills. Only Thomas and Smith would be obvious upgrades for the Colts. After that, give me everyone on the Colts. As for the Steelers, is there any other team that reminds you more of the 90’s G-men? Both teams had strong running games, both had awesome 3-4 defenses built on the strength of their LBs and both were extremely well coached. I’d argue that the Steelers were a more talented team then the G-men, but I do realize that there is a strong argument for the G-men being more talented. And at the end of the day though, those Giants beat those Bills.

    ****End of irrelevant Bills related sidebar****

    I looked up the data to determine the correlation between offensive snaps per game and found that I can only retrieve that kind of data from 03 to now. I feel that to get a solid grasp on the issue the data would have to extend back at least to the early nineties, giving us a better view of the cyclical nature of the game. The one thing I did notice is that only until the last couple of seasons there was decent parity between teams, with the greatest difference being 7-10 plays per game on average. That number has shot up to about 14 or 15 now and will probably get a little higher until it levels off.

    I do concur that the hurry-up is a tactic rather than a gimmick but its true strategic advantage is probably going to be irrelevant sooner rather than later. At its most basal the hurry-up exploits a lack of conditioning on the other team. Lombardi is the first coach I know of who really stressed conditioning and it seems like that only now coaches are realizing that. The Bears, Panthers and Ravens (I think) are transitioning to an up-tempo pace. Using two TEs however I think will show to be the most useful tactic of them all just out of the sheer versatility it gives you. Teams can always improve their conditioning; they can’t always improve their natural ability, and the two TE set exploits just that.

  53. 53 Tumtum said at 1:45 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    If JJ doesn’t come up with that game plan the giants have one less superbowl ring. Discuss.

  54. 54 goeagles55 said at 2:41 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    The Ravens and the Giants both replicated his game plan and were the only teams besides the Colts to come close to beating NE.

  55. 55 D3FB said at 3:31 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Tommy what/are there any differences between the run and shoot and the air raid offense?

  56. 56 GEagle said at 4:29 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    BTW, people are reporting that Aaron Hernandez is about to get be arrested..Gronk is now the most fragile player since Mike Vick. weleker was downgraded to Amendola..Tom Brady has to be starting to sweat lol. it’s starting to get to the point that can the Patriots really afford to not trade for another significant weapon?

  57. 57 GEagle said at 4:47 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    sorry my comp being stupid and won’t let me edit..
    I’m reading that Allegedly, Hernandez and his friend all smashed their cell phone, Hernadez handed his cell phone over to investigators in pieces, destroyed all the security cameras and footage in his home, and hired a cleaning crew Monday night to scrub his house down right after it happened…..YIKES!!!?.and if that’s not enough there is still a civil suit pending for shooting someone in the face.

  58. 58 barneygoogle said at 10:20 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    Eagles are loaded with tight ends–I wonder if Belichek will want to trade for Clay Harbor?

  59. 59 GEagle said at 10:29 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    If they are desperate enough to give up a 2nd or 3rd for Celek, I would take it in a heartbeat…I wonder what Harbor can Fetch you? Brady’s window is closing and they seriously need weapons…could they possibly want Maclin? The only untradeables for me are Ertz and Casey. I wouldn’t be that mad if we traded Celek and had room to keep Carrier or Shaw

  60. 60 barneygoogle said at 10:23 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    It should be interesting to see if Kelly will show the “no huddle” in the pre season very much–or will he wait for the regular season to show it? Of course, if you don’t show it in the 4 pre season games, it will be harder to evaluate the QBs.

  61. 61 GEagle said at 10:32 PM on June 20th, 2013:

    he has to show it. he needs that evaluation time, and the players will need it..Does it really matter? Opponents know what a 2 minute drill looks like…This is just an extended two minute drill without spiking balls or worrying about getting out f bounds after a catch. That aspect of preparing for chip isn’t rocket science…The pace will be there but the plays called will be so basic

  62. 62 andrewd173 said at 10:29 AM on June 21st, 2013:

    The 2nd biggest advantage no huddle gives the offense is limiting the defensive packages and substitutions. However, I believe the biggest advantage this systems gives the offense is … time. Time to look over the defense, time to change your formation, and time to change plays, as well as making any individual adjustments to blocking or routes.

    Bottom line, going no huddle allows the offense time to find the best match up on the field before the snap of the ball, and change to take advantage of it. Something you just can’t do leaving the huddle with 10 seconds on the play clock.

  63. 63 GEagle said at 3:56 PM on June 21st, 2013:

    Very good point that is not talked about enough. How many times did we see communication problems under Andy that caused us to get to the line with few seconds to spare having to burn timeouts at the most senseless of times? The answer is way too Often. Very doubtful that QBs under Chip will have to burn Timeouts because they cant get the play in on time, but as you pointed out, it gives a smart QB the most amount of time to play Chess with the middle LBer, and find the right play

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