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14 Days to Football: Chip Kelly in Year Two

The pace of the preseason has put Chip Kelly to sleepMost weekdays from now until the Packers and Seahawks kick off on September 4th, The Big Lead will detail one reason we are excited for football season to begin. Including today, we’re 7 days away from NCAA and 14 from NFL.

Charles Kelly is back for year two, and the outcome of his program, system, and year at Philadelphia is one of the story lines to look forward to this year. Is it onward and upward this season as Philadelphia continues to fast break against the rest of the league? Or will we see adjustments and the Eagles offense come back to earth?

Last week, Chris Brown wrote an in-depth breakdown of Chip Kelly and his influence on the league. The bachelor football junkie has brought his own ideas and attitudes (the draft? who needs the hype) to the league, and I love his influence.

Chip Kelly tongue

That said, there are plenty of reasons for optimism and concern as we get ready for 2014.

Let’s start with the cons:

  • Philadelphia played a pretty easy schedule last year, and had only two wins against teams with a winning record: Arizona at home by 3, and at Green Bay in the week after Aaron Rodgers was hurt. They also destroyed Chicago late in the year in the most impressive win;
  • Philadelphia had a extremely good turnover differential, tied at 4th in both turnovers forced and turnovers committed. Nick Foles threw only two interceptions all year after taking over at QB, and a 27-2 TD to INT ratio would seem unsustainable. The defense, which was otherwise not that great, had 19 interceptions;
  • The five offensive linemen did not miss a single start, nor did LeSean McCoy. Any injuries could impact the offense relative to last year. Lane Johnson has already been suspended for four games;
  • DeSean Jackson is gone, and takes the deep speed threat over the top.

The positives?

  • It’s year two in the program and Kelly can mold the offense even more how he wants it;
  • While Jackson is gone, the offense is deeper and has the potential to be more diverse. Darren Sproles in Kelly’s offense could be a major source of excitement. Rookie Jordan Matthews, and second year tight end Zach Ertz could both be major factors. Kelly has brought in many of his Oregon proteges in the reserve ranks.
  • In Kelly we trust? Does his offense put the pressure on teams and give his quarterbacks more favorable throwing situations, so the turnovers will be lower than a typical offense?
  • Kelly is at the forefront of nutrition and monitoring players and maximizing them, and if this is true, another year in the system just advances the team further.

So where are we? Probably in store for weekly debates, and even quarter by quarter debates as the Eagles surge or struggle in the moment to moment instant analysis world. Get ready.

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