The Philadelphia Eagles have tried and failed to match the New England Patriots for a decade. As such, it is ironic that the Eagles hired Chip Kelly as head coach, since the Patriots have taken cues from him on how to speed up their already dangerous offense. But will this be a case of New England once again outshining Philadelphia?
As The News Journal recapped on Jan. 19, Kelly has “consulted” with Patriots coach Bill Belichick about how to run plays faster. Kelly’s trademark at Oregon was a massive hurry-up offense, which made it even easier for the Ducks to rapidly score points. The Patriots have used this strategy as well, even though they already score as rapidly as anyone in the NFL.
This skill was used to great effect when the Patriots blew past the Houston Texans on Jan. 13, using the hurry-up to frequently catch the Texans off guard. Yet although New England is emulating Kelly’s Oregon offense, Kelly must emulate how the Patriots pull it off at the NFL level.
However, as Kelly noted in his first press conference on Jan. 18, the Patriots prove that his offense isn’t limited to the spread option. Although Tom Brady is hardly as mobile as Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick or even Michael Vick, he can still “sit back in the pocket and throw the ball” in a fast-tempo offense, as Kelly pointed out.
The speculation is that since Vick seems to be a better fit for Kelly’s style than Nick Foles, Philadelphia would have no choice but to keep him. However, if Kelly can tailor his system for Foles or another free agent, much like the Patriots have tailored it to Brady, then the Eagles can likely cut Vick as originally planned.
However, every time the Eagles try to be like the Patriots, they fail miserably. They failed in the 2005 Super Bowl, in losing four conference championship games under Andy Reid, and in having Donovan McNabb and Vick lead the way instead of someone like Brady.
Even when the Patriots borrow tactics from other sources, they do it better than anyone.
It’s brought them to the brink of a sixth Super Bowl under Brady and Belichick, while the Eagles keep dreaming that they can get things right. Is Kelly the one who can finally master the Patriots’ formula -- although they borrowed from him first?