Chip Kelly not worried about refs
Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Wednesday didn't sound worried that NFL referees might slow down his up-tempo offense.
"It isn't an issue with us whatsoever," Kelly said when asked whether referees will allow his offense to play at a fast pace. "We understand the rules, and we'll play by them. It's a real simple concept to me. If the speed limit is 65 [mph], even though I want to go 85, if there's a cop out there, I'm not going 85. It's a real simple concept. We're not going to change them. I like them. We're excited to play with them."
We understand the rules, and we'll play by them. It's a real simple concept to me. If the speed limit is 65 [mph], even though I want to go 85, if there's a cop out there, I'm not going 85.” -- Chip Kelly
Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told The Wall Street Journal that referees aren't going to rush the ball to the line of scrimmage unless it's the two-minute drill.
Kelly's teams at Oregon usually hurried to the line and tried to snap the ball quickly throughout the game. The Ducks ran more plays than normal and had plenty of success, averaging 44.7 points per game while going 46-7 in Kelly's four seasons.
"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," Blandino said.
Kelly is fine with that.
"We understand the rules of engagement," he said. "Dean Blandino and those guys in the league office, [we] met with them at the league meetings. They were here when we were in minicamp. I have no issue with them. We actually embraced the way they do it. Really similar to what we have in college. Tony Corrente, who's a longtime official in this league, was actually the head of the Pac-12 officials. We're used to the style that they run. I see absolutely no problem with it. We're excited to work with them."
Teams Are Getting More Snaps
The average number of offensive plays per game has increased each of the past five seasons. However, each of the five highest averages since the AFL-NFL merger came before 1988, when the average was just under 133 plays per game.
Avg offensive plays per game,
past 5 seasons
past 5 seasons
|-- Elias Sports Bureau|
Under Kelly, Oregon averaged 83 plays per game in 2012 and ranked in the top 10 in total plays twice in four years. Several teams have used variations of the hurry-up offense in the NFL, including New England, Buffalo, Denver and Indianapolis.
Under Kelly, Oregon ran 1,077 plays in just 13 games last season (82.8 per game), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Amazingly, that would have ranked seventh (just two total plays behind the Eagles' 1,079) in the NFL's 16-game schedule last season. The New England Patriots led the NFL with 1,191 plays last season (74.4 per game).
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman pointed to the Patriots' number of plays under the NFL's rules as a reason he's not concerned his team's offense might be slowed down by referees.
"I think the Patriots set a record for plays last year," Roseman told reporters. "That's pretty impressive, the amount of plays they got in. It didn't seem like they were hindered too much by it. We understand the rules. Coach understands the rules. The officials have been great when they came here. I don't see it as much of an issue at all."
Kelly has a unique philosophy, but it's not entirely new to the league.
"I've heard guys talk about how we have four or five different speeds and how we do things, but that's not how we do it," Kelly said. "There are certain plays we can call where we don't need the defense to be set, and there are other plays where we need to get the right look to get in the right play. But a lot of that from a speed standpoint, we never say we want plays snapped in X amount of seconds or anything like that."
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Preventing the defense from making substitutions has always been a main attraction for teams using the no-huddle. Sometimes defensive players have faked injuries to get offenses to slow down. Referees spotting the ball quickly enough has never been an issue before.
"If they sub, we're going to match it," Kelly said. "They've got to get the ball spotted into play. It's really very similar [to college]. I don't anticipate any problems. I know, when I talked to Dean and they explained it to us, I didn't have any issues from our standpoint."
Asked whehter more plays could lead to more injuries, Kelly downplayed it.
"I think sometimes people throw answers out there before they know it," he said. "I think a lot of things we do, we're more spread out than a lot of people. I would say you should do a study on injuries when all these people are crammed in a small box. I don't know. I have not done a study on it, though. I just think, Just tell us what the rules are.
"We always play by the rules."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.