There are seven NFL teams that currently have head coaching vacancies, and you can bet all of them have discussed the idea of pursuing University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly for those openings. The hottest name on the coaching market is rumored to be a target for the Buffalo Bills, and is reportedly the leading candidate for the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. More teams are likely interested, as well.
Why are teams queuing up to make a play for Kelly's services? Simple: he's 45-7 in four years as the Ducks' head coach, has never played in a non-BCS bowl, and is widely credited for running one of the most innovative programs in the nation based around his up-tempo, spread offense.
But those are just the generalities - the way that someone would describe Kelly to another person that has never heard of him. You're Bills fans, Kelly has been linked to your favorite team's head coaching job (however loosely), and you want to know as much about Kelly as you can possibly learn. Google can solve those problems for you, but we've got three must-reads to share that give you a strong look inside Kelly's allure that you should start with.
Bill Belichick - considered the most innovative coach in the NFL - has picked Kelly's brain about his spread offense several times now. Those sessions have produced a tangible change in New England's offensive strategy: they run an absurd number of plays per game, as compared to other NFL teams. More specifically, the Pats have mimicked a Kelly wrinkle wherein the offense can discern formation, blocking scheme, play direction, routes for receivers, formation shifts, snap count and potential audibles with one spoken word. The article is obviously Pats-centric, but Kelly's influence is a major focus.
Kelly's offense is his claim to fame, but the way he runs a practice is a close second. This article goes in-depth on the pacing and structure of Kelly's short, rep-intensive and music-oriented practices. There are obvious benefits - conditioning being the biggest one - but there are also downsides not really touched on, such as the extended length of the NFL season and the fact that it might be difficult to find assistants that buy into this practice philosophy. It's the way Kelly operates, though, so it's definitely worth a read.
What better way to get to know Chip Kelly than to read a seven-page presentation on Oregon's running game that the coach gave at a clinic in 2009? Titled "The Zone Read Option Game," Kelly weaves his core coaching philosophies into technical breakdowns of his bread and butter calls versus various defensive looks. Reading papers like this is always fascinating; it's especially intriguing when it comes from the mind of a coach that big-name veterans are seeking out. This is the absolute must-read of the bunch.
Anyone still have reservations about the Bills pursuing a college head coach that has no NFL experience whatsoever?