Chip Kelly’s Offense Works… Sort Of

eaglesThe Michael Vick fantasy quarterback we’ve all come to know and loathe as if on cue opened up his narrow ass cheeks and sprayed diarrhea all over Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night. When the gaseous fumes cleared, the final numbers told the story: 13/30, 201 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, one fumble. And it could’ve been much, much worse.

Vick stared down receivers, held the ball an eternity, and fired high and wide. In other words, he was his usual erratic, sloppy self, save for a couple of long runs. The same guy who accounted for 33 turnovers in 2011 and 2012. Curse you, deja vu!

To be fair, the offensive line was atrocious. Jason Peters looked like a once dominant tackle on his last legs. Rookie right tackle Lane Johnson was abused by OLB Justin Houston. And center Jason Kelce coined the term “buttsnap,” due in large to a battered thumb.

buttsnapWhen all was said and done, 5 turnovers and 16 lousy points wasn’t enough to salvage a decent performance from a short on talent defense. Gimme a U, gimme a G, gimme a L, gimme a Y! That spells Chip Kelly is a fraud who should be handed a ticket in coach on the first flight back to the Pac-12.

Or not.

Is Kelly’s gimmicky offense really chock-full of schematic holes that can be easily exploited by big bad professional defensive minds? I’m sure all those pigskin traditionalists out there would answer that question with a resounding YES, while they sip from a whiskey tumbler and puff away on haughty cigars.

Opinions are great. So are numbers. Here are stats from three of the most prolific offenses in NFL history through the first three games, and the Eagles’ offense thus far in 2013.

Team Yards Points TO W/L
’99 Rams 1184 100 5 3-0
’07 Pats 1323 114 3 3-0
’11 Saints 1313 104 4 2-1
’13 Eagles 1385 79 7 1-2

The Eagles win on total yards, but lose on points and turnovers. However, they could’ve scored 40-plus against both Washington and San Diego, and might’ve reached 27 versus Kansas City, if not for a pair of scores by opposing defenses, a touchdown negated by a penalty, and all those damn turnovers. A few bounces/calls go their way and they have around 100 points in three games.

Which brings me back to Vick. As long as he, or whomever is under center, continues to treat the ball like Walter White treats Jesse Pinkman, the Eagles will sputter and stall in stretches. That’s not on Kelly. Yardage is there for the taking. Receivers are getting open. Rush lanes are parting.

Kelly has issues with red zone playcalling, clock management, and the NFL rulebook, but it’s not as if he isn’t adjusting to defenses. After LeSean McCoy gashed the Redskins in Week 1, San Diego stacked the box in Week 2. Kelly’s counter was to dial-up the pass, which resulted in a career high 411 yards for Vick. In Week 3, the Chiefs made a concerted effort to take away DeSean Jackson, who entered Thursday as the NFL’s leading receiver. Kelly’s counter was to once again lean on Shady and Vick, who combined to run for 253 yards.

Kansas City is a Top 5 defense that excels at pressuring the quarterback and forcing mistakes. Yet Kelly’s attack still netted 436 yards. If the Birds ever find a way to finish drives with touchdowns instead of field goals, fumbles, and interceptions, they will be tough to stop, no matter the won-loss record.

Philly’s defense is terrible. Their kicker is shaky. And Michael Vick is their quarterback. The playoffs aren’t in their future, but that doesn’t mean Chip Kelly and his “college” offense isn’t succeeding in the NFL.

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