Found January 16, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Robert Griffin III
San Francisco 49ers
New York Giants
The Cowboys fired a cutting-edge defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan over philosophical differences. Ryan's unorthodox methods often left the players confused and out of position.
The hiring of the Monte Kiffin, 72, is an effort by the Cowboys to move away from exotic looks and two-man pass rushes and get back to basic, sound defense.
But in doing so, did they swing the pendulum too far the other way?
Take a look around the NFL. The times they are a changing.
The latest change came Wednesday when the Eagles hired Oregon's Chip Kelly to be their head coach. Kelly's Oregon offense was a trend-setter in the development of spread-option attacks, and it's a trend that has taken root in the NFL.
Just last weekend, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran past the Packers' defense using a Pistol offense developed at his alma mater, Nevada.
Kaepernick's performance sent shivers down the backs of defensive coordinators around the league. The era of the running quarterback is dawning, again.
The theory used to be that running quarterbacks can't survive in the NFL because they would take too much punishment. Kaepernick is 6-4 and 230 pounds he can take a hit. He's also fast enough to run away from your linebackers and DBs if he gets the angle.
Russell Wilson, another example of the modern, mobile quarterback, got the Seahawks to the playoffs as a rookie this year.
The Cowboys saw one of these new-age quarterbacks up close this season in Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III. On one good leg, Griffin juked the Cowboys around the edge several times in the season finale to claim a playoff berth.
Of course, RGIII also proved the theory that running quarterbacks can't stand up to the punishment of a 16-game NFL season. The Eagles' Micheal Vick, a forerunner of the modern running QB, has also had a difficult time staying healthy.
Then again, you have to catch them to hit them. There's not much evidence that Kiffin's defense is very good at catching spread-option quarterbacks.
Kiffin resigned from USC apparently out of frustration at defending those high-octane spread offenses. No team deviled him more than Kelly's Oregon squads, and now Kiffin will get to match wits with Kelly twice a season.
In three games against the Kiffin defense, Oregon went 2-1 and averaged 601 yards and 50 points. No wonder Kiffin wanted to return to the safety of the relatively conservative NFL.
Except the NFL is starting to copy elements of these wacky college offenses, which are rapidly losing the "gimmick" label. Kelly's Oregon offense is based on sound principles and is a run-first philosophy. It only seems like the Ducks are a circus offense because they put up circus-like numbers with their no-huddle, hurry-up style.
Kiffin is known as the architect of the Tampa 2 defense. Its base look employs two deep safeties, each responsible for one-third of the deep part of the field with the middle linebacker dropping back to cover the middle.
Playing two safeties deep gives the Oregon offense a numbers advantage, since in a four-wide look that leaves just five defenders in the box to stop the run. Bring the safeties up to defend the run, and Oregon throws seam routes downfield.
Kelly's offense forces opponents to defend the entire field. It's a pick-your-poison method, like all good offensive systems.
The key is having the personnel to run it. The Eagles may be in no better shape to employ Kelly's offense, personnel-wise, than the Cowboys are to run Kiffin's version of the 4-3.
At one time, Vick would have been perfect for Kelly's offense, but at 32 he's showing lots of wear and tear. Nick Foles, a spindly 6-6, is definitely not suited for the Oregon offense.
The successes of Kaepernick, Griffin and Wilson will put mobile passers in high demand. NFL-quality mobile QBs will probably be no easier to find Manning and Brady clones currently are. We're not talking about a league-wide revolution, at least not overnight.
But we are talking about the NFC East, which will have two teams running spread-option elements in the Redskins and Eagles. The Giants aren't likely to toss out Eli Manning just to jump on the latest trend, but facing a QB with two Super Bowl rings presents a different challenge.
Is Kiffin up to those challenges on a weekly basis? Kiffin will turn 73 next month, and much has changed since he was last in the league in 2008.
How useful will Kiffin's vast knowledge be in an NFL rapidly adopting facets of the college game? Kiffin made his name as an innovator more than a dozen years ago.
Cowboys' supporters might counter that Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be 76 next season and shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, LeBeau runs a 3-4 and despite his success, you don't see teams running out to hire septuagenarians.
The Cowboys are banking on Kiffin being able to combat 21st Century offenses by simplifying things. Running a version of the Tampa 2 should lead to less confusion and put defenders in position to make plays.
Kiffin didn't win that battle often enough at the college level. With NFL-caliber athletes, he might have better luck, but we won't know until the season kicks off.
All we know for sure is that the Cowboys couldn't live with a gambling defensive coordinator in Ryan. Now they're gambling themselves that a coach with a storied NFL past can bring them a brighter future.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
I guess it worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles after all. Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly is going to the NFL, and not staying in college football. So you’ll get to see the quack attack in action at the college level no more. Kelly re-emerged as a candidate recently and an agreement was just reached Wednesday There is a concern of NCAA sanctions coming in Eugene, OR. But...
Torn between loyalty to his players and accepting a new challenge, Chip Kelly ultimately chose the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles.
He just needed more time to make the decision.
''The hardest thing for me to do was to leave Oregon,'' Kelly said Thursday at a news conference introducing him as the 21st coach in team history. ''I knew it was a great fit,...
The Philadelphia Eagles have hired Chip Kelly after he originally chose to stay at Oregon.
Kelly becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.
Kelly, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills after leading the Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta...
The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they will hire Chip Kelly as their new head coach. This comes as a surprise to many, as it appeared that Kelly was staying at Oregon. Perhaps the looming sanctions made him nervous again.
We’re all interested to see how Chip Kelly’s offense will translate to the NFL, and all of the talking head are paid to give an opinion on it, but...
Will the Eagles fans be ok with having a head coach named Chip?
Well Eagles fans are all excited (well most of them) about the hiring of Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. The honeymoon starts now and will last for a while or at least until the first loss of 2013, but for now all is looking Rosie in Eagleland.
The first thing I wondered about when I heard who the Eagles had hired...
Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
Well, over the past few weeks we’ve had time to wonder about the accuracy of those rumors that Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly, who had turned down several NFL coaching offers over the past few years, was waiting for the Patriots...
Oregon coach Chip Kelly will be named the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles after the taem's three-week search, ESPN.com reported Wednesday. The Eagles reached an agreement with Kelly on Wednesday morning, according to the report. Philadelphia had interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Tuesday, and he was believed to be one of the front...
Wednesday, January 16, 2013---around noon EST--- the Eagles fired a PR email into our inbox:
EAGLES HIRE CHIP KELLY AS 21st HEAD COACH
Gasp!!! Eeeeek! (ahem)....
Here's the text of the official Eagles release:
"Chip Kelly, known for possessing strong leadership skills and one of the most innovative minds in football...
The Philadelphia Eagles introduced Chip Kelly as their new coach on Thursday as they hope to turn around their fortunes with the offensive innovator in charge. Kelly, the team's 21st head coach, replaces Andy Reid. Kelly went 46-7 in four seasons as Oregon's coach and attracted attention from NFL teams because of his high-powered offense. The Eagles interviewed 11 candidates...
Chip Kelly, you have some big shoes to fill. No, really. I mean, have you seen Andy Reid? You made the Oregon Ducks relevant in football, which is no easy feat. But here’s what you should know. Fans in Oregon deal with a disappointment by crying in the stadium at the end of the season. Fans in Philadelphia deal with disappointment by throwing battery acid on you. Good luck...
Sports blew up on social media this week. Chip Kelly left the confines of Autzen Stadium, where it never rains, and went to Philadelphia, where it’s always sunny. Then the world find pointed a collective finger at Manti Te’o and told him he’s a big fat phony.
The Internet – or at least my version of it – nearly ran out of space with people spouting off their expert...
Oregon football staffer James Harris, who originally joined the program in 2007 as a nutritionist and was elevated to chief of staff last season, will join former UO coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Harris will take an assistant general manager position, assisting Kelly with personnel decisions and life skill development for players, a UO source said.
You can't fault anyone for pursuing a dream, but Kelly could have exited in a more graceful manner.
A coach who built a 46-7 record with meticulous planning and bold execution pulled a clumsy zone read keeper in the end, negotiating with NFL teams over a long weekend after the Fiesta Bowl win, calling Sunday January 7 to assure Athletic Director Rob Mullens he was remaining...
New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had a change of heart, and decided that he could contend in the NFL, and that he really did want the job in Philadelphia.
Many will question and wonder what made Kelly change his mind and decide to take the Eagles job. Former head coach and current NBC Analyst Tony Dungy was on the Dan Patrick Show this morning, and according to Pro Football Talk...