In general terms, "up-tempo" is one way to describe what Kelly preaches. And the results -- points by the bushels -- would go a long way in making the Eagles relevant again in the NFC East. But not everybody is convinced the resounding success Kelly enjoyed in college will carry over to the NFL. And we're not talking about your garden-variety critic, either; ESPN analyst and longtime Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski is skeptical this will work.
“It's going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaworski said during an appearance on Philly's 97.5 The Fanatic (via PhillyMag.com). "I'm going to say no.
“I just don't see NFL passing concepts in this offense," Jaws continued. "It's a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts.”
Another problem: unlike college, where teams have little time to prepare for opponents, the NFL is a year-round business.
“It's easy to say, ‘Yeah, it worked in college,'” he said. “But then I looked at a game like Stanford. Stanford, a good defensive football team, shut them down. I hope it works. I like the innovation, but I think it's going to be very difficult.
“The NFL is a different league with fast players that have all week to prepare for you. At the collegiate level, you have 20 hours to prepare for that Oregon offense. Take out three hours of game time. You've got 17 hours in the course of a week to practice and prepare for that style of offense. It kills you in college. But in the NFL, these guys work 17 hours a day. A day, not a week -- 17 hours a day getting ready, so there's no secrets.”
For what it's worth (and we'd imagine not much), several of Kelly's former Oregon players now in the NFL think the offense can succeed at this level.
"I think it could work [in the NFL],” Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews said in January. “It's pretty tough to stop. Even when you have it down, teams will start getting tired quickly. They're not used to that pace."
Running back LaMichael James of the 49ers added: “I don't think anything can stop [Kelly's] offense -- NFL, college or high school, no matter what it is. I think he can be one of the best coaches in the NFL.”
Quarterback Dennis Dixon, who signed with the Eagles this offseason, offered this while still a member of the Ravens: “I think he can export that same offense and bring that to the NFL. I could see Michael Vick doing the same things we did at Oregon."
As it stands, the Eagles' depth chart at quarterback includes Michael Vick, Nick Foles, rookie fourth-rounder Matt Barkley and Dixon. How -- or who -- Kelly plans to use remains a mystery. From the beginning, though, the coach said he would fit the offense to the personnel.
"Part of what we do offensively is understanding what our personnel is and how do we maximize that?" Kelly said in January. "And what are their best traits? If you're going to ask someone to do something they are not capable of doing, obviously that's a recipe for disaster. We're going to analyze everyone that's in our program and our scheme ... it is always going to be personnel driven."