PHILADELPHIA - Eagles coach Chip Kelly is not worried about NFL officials putting the brakes on his fast-paced offense this season.
In an article in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, NFL vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino explained that the league will not allow Kelly or any other team to intimidate the game-day officials into allowing them to run more plays.
"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," Blandino said in the article. "We're going through our normal ball mechanics; we aren't going to rush (unless) it's in the two-minute drill."
Kelly's offense, which he used to light up scoreboards at the University of Oregon, likes to run as many offensive plays as possible. His theory is that the more plays a team can run, the more opportunities they have to reach the end zone.
And he doesn't foresee any major changes in the NFL.
"I didn't read the gist of the article," Kelly said Wednesday after practice at the NovaCare Complex. "I'm just happy that I made it into the 'Wall Street Journal' for once. That's pretty cool.
"It's really a nonissue with us. We met with Dean and the guys in the league office and they were also here during minicamp. I have no issue with them. We actually embrace the way they do it. (The pace of play) is really similar to what we have in college. Tony Corrente, who's a longtime official in this league, was actually the head of the Pac-12 officials, so we're used to the style (the NFL officials) run. I see absolutely no problem with it. We're excited to work with them."
Kelly's practices during minicamps, OTAs (organized team activities) and training camp have been high-energy affairs. Players sprint from one drill to the next. Plays are run with just a few seconds between snaps.
Kelly, the coaching staff and the training staff have all been working to try to get the players in the best possible shape. The team conducted sleep studies on each player to ensure they are properly rested. Protein shakes await them after practice. Recovery time is built into each day after weight-room workouts.
The plan worked well at Oregon.
According to ESPN.com, Oregon averaged a play every 20.9 seconds in Kelly's four seasons as head coach. New England, who consulted with Kelly before last season in an effort to speed up its offense, led the NFL last season with about 25 seconds per play. Oregon's 82.8 players per game easily topped New England's NFL-best average of 74.4. The Eagles ranked sixth at 67 plays per game.
The Ducks averaged 44.7 points per game in his four seasons as their head coach, including 49.6 in 2012. Last season, the Eagles averaged 17.3 points per game.
But the NFL works at a different pace.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that referees are required to change footballs whenever a play ends out of bounds or there is an incomplete pass. In addition, the referee who spots the ball in NFL games must be behind the deepest offensive back before the ball can be snapped.
The Eagles insist that won't slow them down.
"As soon as the referees get out (of) the way," quarterback Michael Vick said Wednesday, "game on."
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