No-huddle offense. Spread offense. Air Raid. Run ‘n Shoot. West Coast Offense.
Chip Kelly’s offense doesn’t fall into one simple category. There isn’t a simple name for the offense. It has multiple elements to it. Let’s focus on what we know Kelly wants to do.
* Score points
* Play up-tempo
* Run the football
* Use zone blocking
* Spread out the defense
* Work primarily out of the shotgun
* Have the QB get the ball to his weapons
* Have a mixture of big and small WRs
* Use option routes so that WRs can adjust to what defenses do
* Use TEs, with different sizes & skill sets
If I had to say what this sounds like the most, I’ll agree with Tony Dungy and say the Buffalo Bills K-gun offense. The other day I wrote about the comparison to the Bengals no-huddle from 1988. There are a couple of key differences. Cincy didn’t use the shotgun extensively. They did use the FB on a regular basis.
The Bills were a single-back, spread offense that used the shotgun on a regular basis. They loved to run the ball. In their 4 Super Bowl seasons, the Bills finished 7th, 1st, 1st and 8th in the NFL in rushing yards. Most people think the K-gun was named after Jim Kelly. Not so. The K was for TE Keith McKellar. He was an athlete that could catch the ball and be used creatively. He gave the Bills flexibility.
One of the keys to running a good no-huddle attack is the ability to keep the same personnel on the field and do multiple things with them. This can put the defense at a disadvantage. Defenses like to match-up with offenses based on personnel and situations. When they can’t adjust, the offense can dictate the situation and attack where/how they want.
Chip Kelly wants to move the football down the field and score points. He loves big plays, but isn’t afraid to have his offense be physical and grind out a long drive on the ground. Kelly is a former O-line coach and remains a firm believer in running the ball.
When you think about college offenses, Oregon was similar to many teams, but still unique. Nick Foles Arizona team ran the spread, but was a passing offense. They never finished higher than 52nd in the nation in rushing in his 3 years as a starter. They were 114th in his Senior season. West Virginia is an Air Raid team that doesn’t use the TE. Oklahoma State is a spread team that loves to run the ball, but they have been built around big, dominant WRs (Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon). Urban Meyer loves the spread, but has his QBs run the ball a lot. Rich Rodriguez also believes in the QB being a big time runner. Oklahoma does some similar things to Oregon, but hasn’t had a truly mobile QB in a long time. That will change this year and should be interesting to see.
Kelly wants the best of all worlds. And amazingly, he found a way to have that at Oregon. He could spread you out and throw the ball. He could spread you out and run the ball. He mixed in the option to help generate big plays from the run game. Some spread offenses are too finesse and they struggle with physical teams. Finesse teams can also struggle in the Red Zone and/or bad weather games. Oregon was a great Red Zone team and could play tough, physical football when it needed to. One of the reasons that the Run ‘n Shoot was so hated in the NFL was that it was built around small WRs. Kelly sees the value in small WRs that can win in space, but he also likes bigger guys that can win 1-on-1 battles through size and physicality.
The beauty of Kelly’s ideas is that they are simple. He’s not trying to re-invent the wheel. He’s stealing ideas from smart coaches in college and pro football and then mixing them into a single offense.
It does take the right coaches and players to pull this off. Anyone can create a playbook. It takes good coaches to teach it and know how to run it for maximum results. You also need the right players, in terms of size, skill and talent. And the OL…don’t forget the OL. If you can’t control the line of scrimmage, no offense is going to work. Football history is littered with great ideas that weren’t executed well. Everybody has good intentions.
Now that Kelly has come to the NFL, he will mix in some of the WCO concepts that are so popular in the league. He has veteran coaches Pat Shurmur and Bill Lazor to help with that side of things. Shurmur is well-versed in the WCO and how to run an NFL passing game. Lazor has worked in the NFL and college football. He can help bridge the two worlds.
Soon enough we’ll see the Eagles offense in action. It will be interesting to finally see how the visions in our head compare with reality.
Here are some highlights of the Bills offense from 1991, including Jim Kelly running the option at the goal line.
Keep in mind that the Eagles offense will look different. This is just something to check out for fun.
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There are lots of similarities between Kelly’s offense and that of the Patriots. It is awkward to bring them up because Tom Brady is so freakishly good that it is hard to appreciate them schematically. It just seems like Brady’s magic. You also have a pair of freaks in Gronk and Aaron Hernandez. Gronk is huge and athletic. He can block and catch. Hernandez is one of the most versatile players in the NFL. Those are one-of-a-kind players.
Another difference is that the Patriots aren’t built on star RBs. Oregon had several star runners. The Eagles have LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. The Patriots run game is more about moving the chains than big plays. Chip Kelly wants big plays on the ground.
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We can finally spill the beans on Jimmy Bama. That hack is taking over Bleeding Green Nation.
Don’t worry, he didn’t take out Jason in a bloody coup. Jason stepped away to focus on a day job that will consume a lot of time. Running BGN required a serious time commitment. At least this is what Jason says.
If we haven’t heard from Jason in a few months, we’ll know Jimmy Bama gave him the Jimmy Hoffa treatment.
I’m sure Jimmy will do a great job at BGN.
I have to say that because I don’t want him to give me the Hoffa treatment.