On one side, you have the people who think he will usher in a new era of tempo-spread football, building on the success of the zone read, which was a fixture in the Oregon offense for the last couple of years. The other side expects the coach to tank, much like so many other college coaches attempting to make the leap before him.
It is drawn up as a very black-and-white scenario. The spread will either carry him to success or send him crying back to the collegiate ranks.
Except that is not even close to being the case. For both the fail and succeed sides, one thing has to be noted: Kelly brings so much more to the table at the next level than merely being a "spread guy."
First, let's dump this "Chip Kelly is a spread guy" meme. Did he run the spread at Oregon? Certainly. Did he run it very well? Absolutely.
However, folks are going too far when they assume that the spread is all that there is to Kelly's coaching style. Sure, Kelly has mastered the scheme that he cribbed from then-Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez, but it is not the only card in his hand.
Unlike RichRod, Dana Holgorsen and Mike Leach, Kelly used the spread as a means to an end at New Hampshire and then at Oregon. It's not his system, so to speak. Rather, it's a system that he's learned to maximize the talent available to him.
In other words, at the NFL level, expect this "means to an end" approach to continue. Kelly has worked pro style. He's worked pass-heavy attacks out of the shotgun. Expect him to blend all that he knows in an effort to find a recipe for success.
Another big part of that recipe? Personnel. Chip Kelly is no dummy. There's a reason why he said no to the NFL last year, and initially this year as well. Spending his summers working with Bill Belichick is about a lot more than just helping the Pats understand how tempo can benefit their offense.
The Eagles' new head coach has been working to learn more about how the NFL works in an effort to set himself up for success.
Unlike some coaches who get to the NFL and then realize just how much of a different beast it is, Kelly has been prepping himself for that difference. The former Oregon head coach is ready to see if, with his knowledge base, he can swim with the best of the best.
Can Kelly fail in the NFL? Sure he can. However, it won't be as black and white as the spread doing well or tanking. Kelly has plenty more to show the league than just the zone read that he has made so successful in Eugene.
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