Thursday, March 12, 2015

Forget what you hear...Chip Kelly is brilliant.

Eagle fans don't get him, but there is a clear logic behind what Chip Kelly does.

I have often lamented that when the Run and Shoot came to the NFL, it was never utilized to it's ultimate extent --- as cap control.  The run and shoot potentially allowed teams to sign an average line, a decent but accurate QB (Colt McCoy?), a decent chain moving RB (think Mark Ingram), two quick slot receivers (Cole Beasley and Danny Amendola) and two marginally talented but very fast deep threats (Darius Heyward-Bey and Mike Wallace, for example) to populate your offense.  Then you could pump like 70% of your cap into defensive players.  The run and shoot regardless of personnel would get you 3 TDs a game because few NFL teams have 4 decent corners.  ("But Heyward-Bey sucks!" Do you really want your 4th CB covering him on deep routes all game?)  Your all-star defense should hold opponents well below that.

Chip Kelly gets it.  He has an offensive approach that is likewise 20-40% more explosive?/productive? than most NFL team's approach.  He got frustrated because chowderheads like DeShawn Jackson and LaShawn McCoy rode that offense to inflated stats that delivered big contracts, limiting Kelly's ability to build a championship level defense.

His moves fix that.

You can see the inflation of stats by looking at Jackson and McCoy.

In Philly in 2013, Jackson caught 82 passes for 1332 yards.  Those numbers suggest an elite receiver.  In Washington, out of the eagles system, those numbers dropped to 56 passes for 1169.  He became effectively just a deep threat.

The trade of star RB LaSean McCoy for a linebacker coming off an injury (Kiko Alonzo) lights Eagles fans on fire, but you have to realize that it works out to LaSean McCoy for Alonzo, CB Byron Maxwell, and RB Ryan Mathews.  That's a hell of a good return for a RB who isn't a physical runner.

Chip Kelly's offense works best when it can pick up short yardage and move the chains. McCoy for all of his explosiveness isn't the kind of reliable chain mover Kelly wanted.

I would not be at all surprised along those lines to see Kelly land Cowboys RB Demarco Murray as well.  A Murray/Matthews rushing attack would be very strong in Philly.

The Buffalo deal is the perfect example of a win-win.  Buffalo got essentially a healthy version of CJ Spiller for a guy who wasn't part of a very good defense last season.

Even the Nick Foles for Sam Bradford deal looks a lot better under scrutiny than it did when the deal was announced.  It again looks like a win-win.

I have observed for the last 18 months that Kelly was not jazzed by Foles.  Foles did fall to the third round for a reason. One would think that it was due to him being raw, but maybe there was another reason every team in the NFL passed on him twice in that draft.

I think the bottom line was that Kelly really liked what was in former 1st round pick Mark Sanchez a lot better than what was in Nick Foles.  Once he was resigned, it opened the door to move Foles.

I think given that he paid a premium for Bradford, it smells of an upcoming trade, as does his comment that a team immediately offered the eagles a 1st for Bradford.  That to me is Kelly establishing a value for Bradford.

There was a report a few months ago that teams at the top of this draft aren't sold on either QB and would prefer Sam Bradford

It is easy to understand why.  Jameis Winston is everything you'd want on the field and a total disaster off the field.  He is charismatic on the field and exudes confidence.  He is just as likely to be a pro bowl QB in 4 years or the next Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell.

Mariota could easily fall to 6 or even further down if the Jets don't pick him.  He is a modest guy by all accounts that almost sounds like he has some zen to him that scouts and teams don't know how to take.   It sounds like teams aren't buying into him as a leader.  As well as he performed at the combine, there is a sense that he is simply a fantastic athlete who happens to be a system QB.   In the average NFL scheme, he may be a more committed Andre Ware and nothing more.

Bradford has been solid in the NFL and played well early in his NFL career despite a team in St. Louis that was not talented offensively.  Do not forget that Jets coach Todd Bowles faced Bradford in division at Arizona and his mentor there also traded for a "marginal starter" and milked better play out of him.  Defensive coordinators turned head coaches like sure things, even if they are only bus drivers.  They don't like gambles.  There is a lot that fits here.

Kelly also said he wouldn't trade away the farm for Marcus Mariota.

Why would he say that?  Because Washington is expressing an interest in drafting Mariota. Are they really Mariota fans?  It is very doubtful.  Their owner still loves RG3. If you draft Mariota, that RG3 investment is totally wasted.  Frankly Mariota is like a more modest version of RG 3 and even more of a "system QB".  It is far more likely Washington may be trying to get Philly to give them 3 #1's for their pick to recoup their RG3 investment.

Kelly knows Mariota is perfect for his QB friendly system.  My take is Kelly is desperate for Mariota, but would rather trade two firsts and an equivilant (Bradford) that cost them a second to a receptive team like the Jets than give Washington three firsts.

Finally there is the question of injuries.  Philly is piling up a lot of players with injury histories.  Kelly believes that he trains his players in a way that will make injuries less common.  Maybe he is right, maybe he isn't.

This offseason lays out how Kelly is going to handle things.  Players are replaceable assets.  Jeremy Macklin was an injury plagued player.  Kelly still handed him the #1 receiver role and then let him walk when he played himself into an unacceptable price.

Kelly is not Jerry Jones --- desperate for marketable long term fixtures.  He is very much along the lines of Bill Belichick --- hunting for the next cog at the right price. 

I believe the only "luxury" he will ever afford himself is Mariota.  And he will get him this year unless the Redskins pick him.  (If that happens I think Kelly is smart enough to wait 2-3 years for the Redskins to give up on Mariota and drop the price dramatically.)

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