Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kelly to Philly and the NFL's Lack of Innovation

"At last, the NFL will be mine!!!"

By Joe Parello

With today's news that Chip Kelly will leave Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles, we are reminded of one thing: The NFL loathes change.

Why, on the day that an offensive college guru brings his new "blur" scheme to the pros, is that true? Well, the fact is this should have happened years ago.

Not necessarily the hiring of Kelly in particular, but NFL schemes change at a snail's pace. Think about it- The West Coast Offense, the zone blitz, the 46 defense, the cover 2, zone blocking- these are all concepts that were developed in the 1970s and 80s, and we still talk about them in the NFL today as if they are somehow revolutionary.

So now, with communication between coaches and players on the field being the best it has ever been, the no-huddle (which has been around forever too) only seems like a natural progression. Why allow the defense to rest and make substitutions when you can line up and exploit their personnel right after the previous play?

We are probably a few years away from there not being a huddle (or an under-center snap, but we'll tackle that one a little later), so why, only now, is there a coach that emphasizes the no-huddle offense?


Fear that if you hire Kelly, and he bombs, you will be ridiculed. Also, the fear that bringing in a man with totally new ideas will make certain types of players and coaches obsolete.

Still, Kelly's arrival could not come at a better time. The league is full of athletic quarterbacks with rules in place to protect the position like none other. Also, the difference between slot receivers and smaller running backs is shrinking as the ever popular "space player" evolves, and nobody utilizes these unique weapons quite like Kelly.

So, will the Eagles be ridiculed for hiring this "gimmick coach?" Perhaps. After all, there are so many variables that go into a coach's success, including luck. But, for my money, the Eagles just took a step toward furthering the evolution of the pro game in this time of massive change.

Now, who can he hire to fix that awful defense?

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