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January 13, 2015

Don’t let Oregon’s flop dim your views of Kelly’s offense

Don’t let Oregon’s flop dim your views of Kelly’s offense

For many Eagles fans, the first investigative view of Chip Kelly’s laboratory and think tank occurred Monday night in Arlington, where the Oregon Ducks were de-feathered by Ohio State in the championship game.

It wasn’t a pretty sight as the pace and posture of Oregon’s go-go offense was obliterated by Ohio State’s defense, and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was outplayed by a third-string quarterback and a power running back who led the Buckeyes to the title.

So you are quite entitled to wonder -- or even worry -- that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen the wrong path with Kelly. You are quite proper if you are wondering if the Oregon/Kelly-style game devised on the Nike campus can really win it all in the work boot NFL games that mean it all.

After all, for all their impressive statistics and eye-catching style, the Ducks still do not have a National Championship, and they have come up short against more old-school styles of teams such as Ohio State, some SEC monsters, and even Stanford.

The Chip Kelly offense isn’t just a variation, it is different in the way Phish is different. This is a quantum leap. Forget solar power, this is jump right to hydrogen power.

But don’t worry. The path is correct. Sometimes, when you are at the head of the sea change, you get swamped.

Not that there would be any turning back, especially now that Kelly doesn’t just have the keys to the kingdom but he also has the codes that open all the secret doors.

In other words, the Eagles are all in with Kelly – and that is the only way this is going to work. You have to be ALL IN, or you are doomed. There is no playing it safe.

Despite the horror that you saw on Monday night when Oregon was mauled by Ohio State, there is a growing mountain of evidence that the Oregon Trail has already been blazed through the entire NCAA, every high school league, and also the NFL.

Tempo is this era’s “three yards and a cloud of dust” from the Civil War era of football. Watch just about every game at any level, and you will see spread offenses and an offense that runs at a pace that would tax a roadrunner – if the players are capable.

The Chip Kelly offense isn’t just a variation, it is different in the way Phish is different. This is a quantum leap. Forget solar power, this is jump right to hydrogen power.

Just don’t be surprised if there are some explosions along the way.

We saw another explosion in the Oregon/Kelly laboratory on Monday night, but when the smoke clears the Eagles have a head start on the sport’s new turbo-powered offense.

As for all the attention and hope that Kelly and the Eagles could land Mariota in the NFL draft, the more logical thought should be that he can somehow maneuver his way in the second or third round to get Oregon defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu who missed the mess on Monday night with a surgically repaired ACL injury.

He might be smaller than many think is demanded, but he is the sort of upgrade the Eagles need so badly to fix their mess on defense.


All right, we are nearly halfway through the month of January and both Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon are still on the Phillies roster.

Beyond the logistics of their place on the roster, the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro should be worried about the circus that could open next month. This is a double hand grenade waiting to explode when either one is asked how long they think they will be around.

Stay tuned for a rocky spring training.


Now, just suppose you were offered a free gift of season tickets for every one of the Philadelphia pro teams. It would be an awesome year of sports, but also try to think of what it would cost for the “free” tickets.

If you figure in parking for each home game, one hot dog and one beer, it would cost approximately $5,100.00. And if you also figure in bridge tolls if you live in South Jersey or other areas, the cost would jump another $850.

In other words, take the free tickets and go with a friend who will drive you and buy you a beer and dog.


For those looking for some indication that athletes can be pretty good guys take a look at this Gatorade commercial featuring Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and yes – Sidney Crosby.

The NFL will again own this weekend when four giants take center stage at quarterback.

It will be a great drama with Aaron Rogers, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and the guy who is still the varsity – Tom Brady.

By the time a Super Bowl champion is crowned it is more than possible that one of the other three will wear the ring, but until then Brady still wears the crown as Big Man on Campus.

Although it is likely Rogers is actually better at this point, and Luck is at his heels, and Wilson has his reigns on the best horses, it is Brady who walks, talks and plays like the chosen one. His career has been so good that he even makes a nasty coach like Bill Belichick into a hooded legend.

The question you now have to ask is whether the name Mariota will ever be included in such a list.

That is all.