Of all the Philadelphia Eagles fans waiting for Chip Kelly to revolutionize NFL offenses, don't count Ron Jaworski as one of them.
Jaworski is a noted optimist and an ex-Eagles quarterback, however, he's not feeling the Kelly genius hype talk.
Via Pro Football Talk:
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL,” Jaworski said, via Phillymag.com. “I’m going to say no.”
Jaworski says there are fundamental differences between the way Oregon could exploit weaker defenses in college and the way an NFL defense would attack an offense like Kelly’s.
“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.”
That's a fair observation. Stanford's pro-style offense has given Oregon's offense fits in their last few meetings because Kelly's offensive and defensive line rely on endurance at the cost of lighter linemen. Stanford's pro style scheme is bigger, stronger and poses problems for Kelly.
The Eagles have been known to experiment. In 2011, Juan Castillo's wide-9 defense bombed worse than Jamarcus Russell's pro career. Steve Spurrier attempted to import his Fun & Gun offense to the Washington Redskins in the early 2000's. Unfortunately, he either couldn't or was too stubborn to adjust his philosphy to the National Football League. Hopefully, Chip Kelly avoids a similar fate.
Coaches that survive the transition to the NFL from college football have the self-awareness to devise schemes that adapt what worked for them in college with what works in the NFL. If Jaworski is basing his judgement off of scouting Oregon, then he's probably right. However, Kelly's no-huddle, uptempo spread offense isn't what made him a sought after head coaching candidate. Oregon landed a few blue chip recruits here and there, but Oregon was often playing with inferior offensive talent compared to the old-money programs that were knee deep in five and four-star prospects.
In the coaching community, Kelly and his relentless attack mentality is considered one of the elite in-game playcallers in pro or college football. Kelly has stated that he understands his offensive philosophy won't "magically" translate to the NFL. I don't mean to knock Jaworski, but he might be underestimating Kelly.