The Eagles will open the 2013 season Monday in Washington (6:55 p.m., ESPN).
No one is quite sure what to expect — other than the team will be fast. Everything new coach Chip Kelly does is fast. He talks fast (think of those old commercials for Micro Machines) and his offense runs on hyper-speed (Kelly’s Oregon teams averaged around 80 snaps per game).
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In the preseason, Kelly teased with several up-tempo looks, lots of no-huddle and bunch packages. Now the real test begins. The regular season brings a whole new set of challenges and the NFL better adjust. Mike Vick is the quarterback. The offensive line is healthy. The sky’s the limit for the most innovative coach to embrace a locker room in ages.
“If there’s one guy who might change the league in the most dramatic way, it’s Chip Kelly in Philadelphia,” said NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth. “It is an entertaining team to watch. They press the envelope. They’re taking the read-option and they’re doing things far beyond what we’re seeing anybody else do with it.”
Kelly’s principles have already been adopted around the league, namely by his good friend Bill Belichick in New England. The Pats ran a play every 25 seconds in 2012, a number unheard of in NFL circles. Kelly’s Oregon teams averaged 20.5 seconds per play. Even in the early days of training camp, Kelly was talking about the speed of his offense.
“Sometimes when we are calling things that are not scripted it’s a little bit slower because we got to know what down and distance is when the play call comes in,” Kelly said. “You know that is kind of what happens in a game. When we have things scripted we are just ripping them off as fast as we can from the script. From how many reps we are getting in at practice, they are really similar since we started.”
No one knows what to expect really with the new Eagles’ offense. One thing is certain, it’s going to be fast.