That is the title of one of the most underrated Al Pacino movies out there. It is also the general reaction to Chip Kelly and his offense from writers and football analysts.
Greg Cosell was on the Colin Cowherd Show this morning and joked that they could talk about Kelly for 3 hours instead of just 3 minutes. Cosell loved what he saw. Kelly took some simple ideas and made them seem complex, which kept the Skins confused and the chains moving.
Chris Ryan wrote a great piece for Grantland about Monday night’s game. Ryan focused on the simple fact that the game was fun. Kelly and the Eagles players genuinely showed a sense of joy during the game. That had been missing in recent years.
Ryan also loved the speed of the offense. This is a great part of his column in regard to the pace.
What did this actually feel like? It was weird because I was at once very calm and at the same time felt like I was strapped to the windshield of Chuck Yeager’s X-1. When Ryan Kerrigan swatted down Michael Vick’s first-drive pass, which was deemed a lateral and returned 75 yards by DeAngelo Hall, I had one very strange reaction.
Cool. We get the ball back.
Even after only a few plays, resulting in a turnover and a Washington touchdown, I still felt very relaxed. Because this was working. The Eagles seemed to feel the same way. Right before the second drive began, there was a shot of Kelly talking to LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson on the sideline. The three of them were smiling. Kelly said something that made the other two chuckle. I’m not a lip-reader but I am pretty sure it was “go light these guys on fire.”
The next play from scrimmage was a 46-yard catch-and-run from Vick to Jackson. That was wonderful, but what put me over the edge was Jackson, getting up after sprinting up the field and being tackled, quickly trotting into position on the flank, looking over at the sideline and making a motion with his hand that said “Let’s go again. And again. And again.”
I started doing the same motion in my living room; Jon Gruden started just making yellow marks on the Telestrator like he was painting a de Kooning; Mike Tirico just kept talking and talking because there was always something happening to talk about; Bryce Brown got a carry and didn’t fumble; London Fletcher started writing his memoirs.
I really love the comments and references. And he’s so right about the pace. Part of you was relaxed while at the same time your head was spinning.
Bill Barnwell wrote about Kelly and the offense in a slightly more traditional way. His piece is also excellent. Barnwell focused one section on how quickly Vick got the ball out of his hands at times.
I’m not a scout, but my stopwatch has Vick with the ball in his hands there for 1.3 seconds before throwing the pass to Celek. That’s just about as low as you can go as a quarterback while letting a route begin to develop. On the next play, a bubble screen to DeSean Jackson that I’ll get to later, he had the ball out in one second. On his first four passes, Vick needed an average of just 1.7 seconds between receiving the shotgun snap and getting the ball out to his receiver. That’s incredible for any NFL quarterback, and it’s even more staggering for Vick.
Vick was slow to get the ball out at other times. Part of that was situational. If Vick can get more consistent with quick releases, the offense can become deadly.
Barnwell did get on Vick for some poor reads on run plays. Kelly has said that not all plays are read-options, even though they may look like it. Sometimes it is a straight hand-off. It will be interesting to see if we can figure those out as the season goes along.
Kelly shrugged off a lot of the praise, a lot of the standard business of a postgame NFL news conference. On the number of plays: “We don’t count plays. We never have.” On whether he was concerned Vick got hit too often: “He seemed pretty happy.”
He shrugged. Just enjoy it, he was saying.
“We’ve said since day one it’s a game, it doesn’t have to be run like a business,” Kelly said. “We don’t practice like a business, we don’t train like it’s a business. We’ve got a bunch of guys who are excited about being at work every day, and they make us coaches be ready for them because these guys are going to challenge us. It keeps us sharp.”
It’s something you only rarely hear in the control-freak, deathly serious NFL.
“He’s a dynamic coach who has his own way of approaching football,” Lurie said.
Back in the locker room, right after the game, Lurie walked up to Kelly and handed him a special commemorative game ball marking his first victory. They’d taken a chance on each other last spring – the owner going to the college ranks, the college coach jumping to the pros.
History is littered with failure in marriages like this. If there were every any second thoughts, they’re long gone now.
“The first,” Lurie said he told Kelly, “of very many.”
Opening night on Broadway couldn’t have gone any better.
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Kelly has gotten compared to Steve Spurrier quite a bit. I’ve tried to debunk that a few times. Just for laughs, let’s compare their starts.
Spurrier won his debut, 31-23. His offense gained 442 yards. They were at home against the Cardinals, a team that would go 5-11 and finish 29th in points and yards allowed.
The next week Spurrier’s Skins would host the Eagles on MNF. Sound familiar? The Skins did not score an offensive point and only gained 179 yards. Darwin Walker was unblockable in that game. In Week 3, the Skins only scored 10 points and gained 217 yards against a mediocre SF defense.
We’ll find out very quickly just how different Kelly and Spurrier are.
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Do you realize the biggest lead the Eagles had in all of 2012 was 11 points? That came in the second Dallas game when the Eagles were up 14-3. Being up 33-7 felt like something from a sci-fi movie.
The Eagles scored 33 points that day, their season high. Obviously the team has already matched that total.
The next highest total was 24 points. Honestly, I’ll be disappointed if the Eagles don’t pass that this week.