Can Chip Kelly win a big game?

Did the Eagles just hire Andy Reid the sequel?

1/17/13 in NFL   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

Jan 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly at press conference after the 2013 Fiesta Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats at University of Phoenix Stadium. Oregon defeated Kansas 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY SportsThe Philadelphia Eagles fired Andy Reid after 14 seasons essentially due to his inability to win the big game. Reid went 1-4 in NFC Championship games and 0-1 in the Super Bowl. While the Eagles were perennial contenders, Reid never delivered the Lombardi trophy.

The Eagles then hire Oregon coach Chip Kelly. While most love to compare college coaches and give reasons why they will fail on the next level—I’m not going to do that. Been there, read that.  My biggest issue is, if you’re going to fire Reid for his inability to win the big game, then perhaps you should be more hesitant with Chip Kelly, considering he has come up short in several games that Oregon should’ve won. At least guys like Spurrier and Saban won National Championships before leaving the college game.

Think about Oregon’s high powered offense and then think about the games in which it disappeared. Allow me to dissect Chip Kelly’s inability to win certain games.

While I'll give Kelly a slight pass in his first year, Oregon averaged 36.1 points per game but only scored 17 in a loss against Ohio state in the rose bowl. Who knew this would be a foreshadowing in other big games.

In 2010 Oregon started a perfect 12-0. They decimated the competition in the regular season, averaging 49.3 points per game. However, there was one game towards the end of that season that had people shaking their heads.

Oregon went into Cal as an overwhelming favorite. On that night Chip Kelly's high powered attack was nearly shutdown. They recorded only 317 yards of offense. Now while they edged out Cal 15-13, you can make a case Cal created a blueprint that Auburn would use to their advantage in the National Championship game.

Oregon did move the ball on Auburn; well over 400 yards of offense, but the team that averaged over 40 points per game, could only muster 19 points. 

The alarming thing is neither Cal or Auburn were great defenses by any stretch. In fact, the week after Cal held Oregon to 15 points, Stanford went into their building and blasted them for 48 points. And Auburn allowed over 24 points a game during the season. Cam Newton rescued them in multiple games to stay unbeaten. Their defense was far from the reason they were in the title game.

So it makes you wonder a little about that spread offense in certain situations. How does it just get shutdown like that?

In 2011 Oregon opened the season playing LSU. Multiple turnovers by the Ducks resulted in a 40-27 loss. Chip Kelly lost back-to-back games against SEC schools. Oregon then won 9 straight games. They looked like they could return to the National Championship game. 

Alabama lost at home to LSU, so Oregon controlled their own destiny. However, a Chip Kelly led team once again failed in a big spot, this time at home, losing to USC 38-35. It could've been Oregon getting their rematch against LSU instead of Alabama.

In 2012 Oregon looked unbeatable, manhandling all opponents. Opportunity presented itself as it did the previous year. Alabama lost at home to Texas A&M; All Oregon had to do was beat Stanford at home. Once again the potent Ducks offense was held in check and eventually lost that game. 

Now while Chip Kelly's record looks amazing, you just can't dismiss what I presented. One way or another Chip Kelly finds a way not to win the big game, and will even lose a game when in position to play in the big game.

After 14 years of watching Andy Reid not deliver a Lombardi trophy, are you sure Chip Kelly is the right guy for the job based on his track record? Who knows, maybe Kelly will fail completely. However, what if he is successful as he's been at Oregon? What if Kelly takes the Eagles as far as he took Oregon, or as far as Andy Reid did. Would Eagles' fans sign up for that same disappointment? 

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1/21/13   |   richard_cranium   |   17673 respect

No they hired Steve Spurrier the sequel!

1/20/13   |   mikecavanaugh

As in Oregon fan maybe I can clue you in on some things. OSU had a guy named Terrel Pryor at QB we had the infamous Jeremiah Masoli, Yes Masoli was 2nd year as a starter but I think that year OSU had a pretty good defense. UO was never that dynamic on offense with Masoli at QB.

The next year first year starter Darren Thomas (soph), again not a great thrower, was the QB and Auburn had some guy named Newton...just the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Sure we didn't play that great on offense but we held that guy to 22 points...people seem to forget that Auburn scored a whole lot more on some SEC teams. Finally, this year we had another first year starter...a redshirt freshmen.

For some historical background Oregon has never been really good with anything less than an experienced Senior QB (see Joey Harrington and Danny O'Neil). For Oregon to even get to this level is amazing. Sure some games against really good or even great opponents did not go the way we'd like, but for the Eagles I think Chip has been learning and adapting. I think his preperation for bowl games got better and better. Only time will tell but I don't think you will see the Eagles lose when they are the more talented team. Just like Oregon.

There is an interesting guy that does recruiting rankings and uses averages over 3 year periods. He was on the radio just before the Fiesta Bowl and said Oregon would win easily. KSU was ranked 71st. Oregon is 14 over the last 3 years. Stanford was 15 at the time of the game. Not sure what Cal was, but I think that's really the only blip on Chip's resume. Everyone is bound to lose once I think? 

OSU, Auburn, and LSU all were well inside the top 10 when they played Oregon. His theory is that over time the higher ranked team in recruiting will win about 95% of the time. And Oregon did beating every single team that was ranked lower in recruiting and losing to teams ranked higher. Not rocket science. Just like Chip said, "football is a personal driven game. You need talented players to win."