Stats & Info: Chip Kelly

Top stats to know: 2014 NFL schedule

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23

Jennifer Stewart/Getty ImagesThe 2014 NFL season will culminate at Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Sure it is April, but the 2014 NFL schedule has been released and that means it is time to get ready for a season full of intriguing matchups.

From high-profile veterans facing their former teams, to the 16th meeting between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, here is a look at some of the early highlights of the 2014 season:

Reunion games
DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith, Chris Johnson, Darrelle Revis, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers.

Those are just a handful of veterans released during the off-season who will have a chance to play against their former teams in 2014.

After a career year in 2013, Jackson was released by the Eagles this off-season. He will face the Eagles twice this season (Week 3 in Philadelphia and Week 16 in Washington).

Smith, the Panthers career leader in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards, promised there would be "blood and guts everywhere" if he faced the Panthers in 2014 after being released by the team in March. As a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Smith will get a crack at the Panthers on Sept. 28 in Baltimore.

Johnson only joined the Jets a little more than a week ago, but he's already slated for a Tennessee reunion. Johnson and the Jets will travel to Tennessee Week 15 to take on the Titans. Johnson has posted six straight 1,000-yard seasons, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Allen signed a 4-year deal with the Bears at the end of March after spending six seasons in Minnesota. Allen led the NFL with 85.5 sacks during his Vikings tenure. Allen will face the Vikings twice this season (Week 11 and Week 17).

Peppers is now on the other side of the NFL's most-played rivalry after signing a three-year deal with the Packers in March just days after being released by the Bears. Peppers totaled 38 sacks in his four seasons in Chicago and made three Pro Bowls.

And a college reunion
Former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly and the Eagles will play the NFC West this season as part of the standard division rotation.

Kelly will have the opportunity to coach against former Pac-10 coaching rivals Pete Carroll (USC) and Jim Harbaugh (Stanford). As a head coach, Kelly was a combined 2-1 against Carroll and Harbaugh with a win over each.

Kelly and the Eagles will also travel to Indianapolis in Week 2 for a Monday Night Football showdown against former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Kelly's Oregon teams were 2-1 against Stanford during Andrew Luck's collegiate career.

Top games
On Nov. 2, Manning and Brady will meet for the 16th time, including the playoffs, tied for the most between any pair of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

Manning will also face his former team for the second time as the Broncos will host the Colts to open their season. Manning and the Broncos lost to the Colts 39-33 in 2013.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the top two picks in the 2012 draft, will meet for the first time in Week 13. In their young careers, Griffin III is 12-16, while Luck is 22-10.

A rematch of last year's Super Bowl, Broncos-Seahawks, will also take place this season. The Seahawks' 35-point margin of victory in the Super Bowl is tied for the third largest in NFL history.

Stat your case: Vick or Foles?

October, 18, 2013
Phil Sears/USA TODAY Sports
Vick is in his 11th NFL season, Foles in his second. We examine Chip Kelly's options at quarterback.

Each week, the Stats & Information Group will look at a noteworthy discussion topic and debate the possibilities that come from it, using data to support the stances.

This week, we examine the Eagles quarterback situation going forward when Michael Vick returns from injury.

Why Vick should remain the Eagles’ starter
Chip Kelly’s offense has always been predicated on establishing the run game to set up the pass.

When Michael Vick gets healthy, who should start at quarterback for the Eagles?


Discuss (Total votes: 177,949)

Last season, Kelly’s Oregon Ducks team ran on 63 percent of its plays, ninth-highest rate in the FBS and more than 11 percentage points higher than the FBS average.

That philosophy has not changed drastically as Kelly made the transition to the NFL. The Eagles are running the ball on 44 percent of their plays, fifth-highest rate in the league and more than six percentage points higher than the NFL average.

With Vick under center, the Eagles have averaged 2.4 more yards per rush than with Nick Foles at the quarterback.

The Eagles have run 136 zone-read plays this season, the most in the league and 66 more than any other team. The Eagles have run a zone-read on 72 percent of the team’s rushes with Vick, compared to 57 percent with Foles.

On such rushes, Vick has kept the ball nine times for 126 yards compared to once for three yards for Foles. The zone read would not be as effective when the quarterback is not a running threat.

The Eagles’ passing game does not suffer much with Vick under center. Vick has more yards per attempt than Foles. Vick does have a lower completion percentage than Foles, but Vick’s average pass attempt travels 11.3 yards downfield, highest in the NFL and more than four yards deeper than Foles’ average pass distance.

--Jungkyu Lee

Why the Eagles need to switch to Foles
Chip Kelly has rejuvenated the Eagles’ running games as Philadelphia leads the league in rushing yards per game entering Week 7.

Kelly calls runs to set up short, manageable third downs for his quarterbacks.

In college football last season, Oregon quarterbacks led the country with a 98.6 Total QBR on third and less than five yards to gain. The Eagles have run the third-most offensive plays on third down with less than five yards to gain this season.

This season, Foles has completed 80 percent of his passes on third down to Vick’s 41 percent. While Foles would be on pace to lead the league in third-down completion percentage this season, Vick’s completion percentage on third downs is the lowest in the league (minimum 10 attempts).

While Vick has consistently thrown farther downfield, Foles has been far more efficient when doing so. On pass attempts at least 15 yards downfield, Foles lead the league in completion percentage (58.3) and yards per attempt (17.6) this season (minimum 10 attempts).

Another facet of Kelly’s Oregon offense was protecting the ball in order to sustain long drives. During Kelly’s Oregon tenure (2009-12), the only FBS teams with lower interception rates than Oregon’s 2.1 percent were Alabama (1.5) and West Virginia (1.9).

Since 2012, only Tom Brady has a lower interception rate than Nick Foles. During that span, Vick has thrown an interception on 2.5 percent of his pass attempts, much higher than Foles’ 1.5.

Additionally, Vick has lost seven fumbles since 2012. The only player who has lost more during that span is Mark Sanchez.

--Zach Rodgers

Dual-threat Mariota keys Oregon offense

June, 28, 2013
Jesse Beals/Icon SMIMarcus Mariota was the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year in 2012.
The 2013 college football season has the potential to be one of the greatest quarterback classes ever. Eight of the top 10 teams in last year’s final AP Poll return their starting quarterbacks, and every conference except the Big 12 returns either their first- or second-team quarterbacks from last season.

In preparation for the 2013 season, ESPN Stats & Info will take a deeper look at the top QBs entering the fall. Today we will look at Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

A look back at 2012
A year ago, Mariota was battling Bryan Bennett for the starting quarterback nod. He finished the year as the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year, breaking conference freshmen records for completion percentage and touchdown passes along the way.

What separated Mariota from his peers was his ability to use his feet and his decision making. Mariota joined Heisman winner Johnny Manziel as the only two players in FBS last year to average seven yards per rush and seven yards per pass attempt (min. 200 attempts).

This fall ESPN will unveil Total QBR for college, including past season results back to 2004. In that time frame, Mariota’s 2012 opponent-adjusted Total QBR was the highest single-season Total QBR by an Oregon quarterback.

As a result, Oregon's 2012 offense contributed more points to its winning margin (opponent adjusted offensive EPA) than any other Oregon offense during that time.

One of Mariota's toughest opponents last year was his own coach, Chip Kelly, and his reluctance to play him in the second half of games. Only 10 of Mariota's 38 total touchdowns came after halftime. His 16 first-quarter touchdowns were tied with Utah State's Chuckie Keeton for most in FBS last season.

What’s Ahead for 2013?
2013 brings a few changes for the Oregon football program. Kelly, the mastermind behind four straight BCS bowl appearances is gone. Also gone is fifth-year senior Kenjon Barner and his 2,000 yards of offense.

But Mariota's favorite target from a year ago returns in De'Anthony Thomas. Thomas will likely play a bigger role for the Ducks this year, and get more than the 10.5 touches a game he saw last year.

When targeting the speedy Thomas in 2012, Mariota was 45 for 55, his highest completion percentage among all of his receivers who caught at least 10 passes. The 55 passes averaged fewer than 5 yards of actual air distance, and 20 were thrown behind the line of scrimmage. Look for Thomas to get more of these short targets next season as he has averaged more than eight yards after the catch per reception in his career.

Barner's departure will hurt Mariota if Oregon cannot replicate the run threat he brought to Oregon’s offense. Mariota threw 25 of his 32 touchdown passes after a run fake, including nine touchdowns in his last four games. His 25 such touchdowns were the most among all BCS-AQ quarterbacks.

But don’t expect offensive coordinator-turned-head coach Mark Helfrich to abandon the running game either. Over the last two seasons, Oregon has had five players rush for more than 700 yards in a season (most in FBS), including Mariota last year.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Chip Kelly will bring his fast-paced offense to the NFL as coach of the Eagles.
The Philadelphia Eagles hired Oregon head coach Chip Kelly on Wednesday to replace Andy Reid. Kelly is the first head coach the Eagles have hired directly from the college ranks since hiring Dick Vermeil from UCLA in 1976, and it’s the first time the Eagles hired a head coach with no NFL experience either coaching or as a player since Bert Bell in 1936.

Kelly was 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon and is the first coach to make a BCS appearance in each of his first four seasons.

He’s the sixth active NFL coach to make the jump directly from college and has the highest college win percentage among those coaches.

It might be hard to believe with all the criticism, but Philly's rushing offense looks similar to Oregon's over the past four seasons.

The Eagles were seventh or better in rushing, yards per rush and rushing touchdowns over the past four seasons. In the same span, Oregon was sixth or better in FBS in the same categories.

Both offenses have been known for big plays -- the Ducks led all of FBS under Kelly with 220 plays of 25+ yards. The Eagles, on the other hand, fell from first in 2009 to 20th this season.

But that hasn’t turned into points. This season the Eagles scored just 17.5 points per game, their fewest since 1999, and had just 10 rushing touchdowns, their fewest since 2004.

Kelly may be able to help the offense, but it might be the defense that needs the most work. The Eagles allowed a league-worst 33 touchdown passes last season, 26 of which came after Juan Castillo was fired as defensive coordinator.

Kelly will bring his up-tempo offense, which averaged a play every 20.9 seconds in four seasons at Oregon. By comparison, the Patriots' no-huddle spread, which was a full second faster than any other team, was four seconds per play slower than Kelly's Ducks this season.

Oregon ran 1,077 plays in just 13 games this season, which would have ranked seventh -- just one spot behind the Eagles -- in the NFL's 16-game schedule this season.

Oregon's average of 82.8 plays per game would easily beat New England's league-leading average of 74.4.

The NFL has already embraced some facets of what we typically consider a college-style offense. This season, including the playoffs, NFL teams are averaging 6.1 yards per rush out of the pistol formation and just 4.2 in all other formations.

Teams are also averaging 6.3 yards per rush on zone-read and option rushes and just 4.2 on all other runs.

The league has been more willing to embrace these "college-styles" of offensive play. There have been almost twice as many zone-read and option rushes this season (457) as there were last season (244) and nearly 10 times as many plays run out of the pistol formation (533 vs 54).

Retooled Ducks still have big-play potential

August, 22, 2012

Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesDe’Anthony Thomas will try to help fill the void left by LaMichael James in the Oregon backfield.
Oregon is seeking to become the first team since the 1966-69 USC Trojans to win the Pac-12 football title outright in four consecutive seasons.

LaMichael James
But they’ll have to do it without LaMichael James.

In Chip Kelly’s three seasons as Oregon’s head coach, he’s done nothing but win three Pac-12 titles. In those three seasons, he has had dynamic playmakers that excelled in his spread option system.

Those playmakers have had a knack for breaking long runs, rushing for 20 or more yards once every 15.9 attempts, best in the nation among FBS teams with at least 10 games against AP Top 25 opponents since the start of 2009.

In the last two seasons, the Ducks’ high-octane offense ranked first in both touchdown drives of three plays or fewer (39) and touchdown drives in less than two minutes (90).

The main catalyst for Oregon’s offense has been James, the Pac-12’s second all-time leading rusher with 5,082 rushing yards in his three seasons. He has 34 rushes of at least 30 yards since the start of 2009, ranking first in FBS during that span.

For any program, it would be nearly impossible to replace a playmaker like James. However, the Ducks have two capable backs to effectively replace James’ production in Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas.

James, Barner and Thomas all ranked in the top four of the Pac-12 in yards per rush last season (minimum 50 rushes). As a team, the Ducks had the highest yards per rush average in FBS (6.7 yards per rush).

Oregon was even more successful running the ball on first downs last year. James led the way with 122 carries for 968 yards (7.9 yards per rush). It wasn’t all James however, as Barner and Thomas combined for 94 carries for 702 yards (7.5 yards per rush).

When James dislocated his elbow last year, Oregon did not lose a step. In the two games without him, Barner and Thomas carried the ball 49 times for 352 yards (7.2 yards per rush).

The speed of Oregon’s rushing attack has been illustrated by its success rushing outside of the tackles. Last season, James averaged 9.5 yards per rush outside the tackles while the two returnees went for 8.7 yards per rush.

Barner and Thomas’ versatility allowed them to line up at different positions and contribute in the passing game, combining for 63 receptions for 789 yards and 12 touchdowns. James had 17 receptions for 210 yards and one touchdown last season.

James thrived under Kelly’s system. However, statistics show Barner and Thomas can continue the recent trend of a potent Ducks rushing attack.

Chip Kelly will join exclusive list with win

January, 10, 2011
When the Oregon Ducks face off with the Auburn Tigers on Monday night (ESPN, 8 ET), Oregon coach Chip Kelly has a chance to join a pretty impressive list.

Of all current active FBS coaches, only four won a national championship at their first FBS coaching job.

Three of them are still at the school where they won the title, including Joe Paterno, who just finished his 45th season as the head coach at Penn State.

Oregon wants to be Chip off the old block

December, 21, 2010
Chip Kelly of Oregon was named the Associated Press Coach of the year today with 24 votes, edging out Gene Chizik of Auburn who received 17. Only six other coaches received a vote and none of them got more than five.

The coaches of the top four teams in the BCS Standings -- Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Stanford -- combined to receive 49 of the 55 votes that were cast.

Kelly is the fourth AP Coach of the year to coach in the BCS National Championship game. The previous two coaches to win the award and coach in the BCS Championship won the game, which is good news for the Ducks.
1. With the top two teams in the BCS Standings (Oregon and Auburn) both being led by a head coach in his second season at that school, there's a good chance a recent trend will continue. Nine of the last 10 coaches to win the BCS National Championship were within their first four seasons with that program.

In fact, since Bobby Bowden won the 1999 BCS title in his 24th season at Florida State, the last 10 coaches to lead their teams to the championship have averaged 3.3 years of tenure.

2. When Washington travels to No. 1 Oregon this week, the 3-5 Huskies will have the odds stacked against them -- and not just because they'll be playing without starting QB Jake Locker (ribs). The top team in the AP poll hasn't lost a November home game to an opponent with a losing record since 1961 (TCU over Texas).

3. TCU and Utah hook up in a game with huge conference and national implications. Both are unbeaten and ranked in the top five of the BCS Standings.

Since the start of 2009, TCU has faced 20 FBS opponents. The Horned Frogs have held 13 of the 20 to their season-low in points (including seven of the eight FBS teams they have faced in 2010). They have also held eight of the 20 to season-lows in both points and yards, including Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last season, TCU’s only loss over that stretch.

4. Over the last 40 years, the Alabama-LSU series has been dominated by the road team. ‘Bama is an impressive 16-3-1 in Baton Rouge during this stretch, and to make matters worse for the Tigers … two of their three wins came when Nick Saban was LSU head coach.

5. As you've probably read or heard by now, Joe Paterno is seeking his 400th win on Saturday (vs Northwestern), and all of those wins came at Penn State. Only one other active FBS coach has 200 career victories at the major-college level: Mack Brown currently sits at 212. (Note: Jim Tressel, Frank Beamer and Chris Ault have over 200 wins, but not all have come at the major-college level).