Philadelphia Eagles’ fans held their collective breath at the start of last season with a new regime for the first time in 14 years. Out was current Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid. In was former Oregon Ducks’ head coach Chip Kelly. From the moment the first press conference aired announcing the new head coach, it was clear this was the beginning of a different era in Eagles’ football. Anytime a new coach arrives with a team, the rumors began to swirl about the “system” the coach will implement. Kelly was known for using a lot of zone-read concepts with his Oregon teams, favoring highly mobile quarterbacks and running the ball rather than Reid’s penchant to pass, pass, pass. Everyone held their breath as the season began.
The Washington Redskins were the first team to taste what came to be known as a “blur” offense. Lightning-fast play calls, players willing to do anything they were asked, even if it meant unbalanced lines, split-wide guards, wide receiver bunch formations. It was clear from the start that Kelly would not be held hostage to the “read-option” moniker. While the Birds’ offense didn’t always maintain the frenetic pace, for the most part the team racked up yardage and came away with some solid wins. Prior to their December 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals, the same questions came up about what type of offense the Eagles would run. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians went so far as to suggest it was nothing more than a “college offense”. Kelly responded in a fashion not seen at any time during the Andy Reid era.
We run the See Coast offense. If we see something and we like it and we think it fits, we’re going to run it. The Philadelphia Eagles run the See Coast offense. Let’s run that today and we’ll go from there.
The Birds ended up winning that game, and quieting more critics. They continued their run to an NFC East title, and dropped their playoff opener to the New Orleans Saints. A solid season for a new head coach, a bunch of new pieces, and their See Coast offense. Now we get to see how much the offense has evolved from last year. With Eagles quarterback Nick Foles earning the right to be the starter this year, new offensive weapons to help fill the void of departed wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and All Pro running back LeSean McCoy leading a solid running back stable, the Iggles have the tools to do even more. If Kelly is true to his word, this year should see even more exotic offensive looks. He has shown a willingness to adapt to the cards dealt him, and even embrace them. The key to future success is resting on a “tried and true” system or accepting the status quo. In the NFL, that gets you a quick exit from a job.