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LaMichael James: Chip Kelly’s offense is already working in the NFL

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

Some people doubt that new Eagles coach Chip Kelly can succeed in the NFL with the same kind of offense he ran at Oregon. But 49ers running back LaMichael James, who played for Kelly at Oregon, has news for those doubters: James says Kelly’s offense is already working in the NFL.

According to James, the offense that the 49ers have been running since Colin Kaepernick became their starting quarterback employs the same concepts that made Oregon’s spread offense work.

“Once Kaepernick got in there, we went to a lot of spread stuff so it is a lot of the same stuff I have been doing,” James said at Super Bowl Media Day. “It is pretty much similar. You are in the gun and is pretty much a zone read offense. It has been doing a great job helping me out being a young player and doing some stuff I am familiar with.”

Asked if a read-option offense can succeed over the long term in the NFL, even after defenses have had a lot of film to study and a lot of time to prepare for it, James said, “I believe so. Anytime you have a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick you can pretty much do anything.”

James also said he’s confident that Kelly is going to win with the Eagles.

“I think he is going to do a great job,” James said of Kelly. “He gets the best out of his players and he is going to be a phenomenal coach out there.”

With Kelly taking over the Eagles and Kaepernick taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl, we may be seeing a major offensive shift in the NFL.

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34 Responses to “LaMichael James: Chip Kelly’s offense is already working in the NFL”
  1. thesmartest1 says: Jan 29, 2013 6:45 PM

    I agree now if he can just get a good DC.

  2. jnammour39 says: Jan 29, 2013 6:50 PM

    it’s true that kaepernick has taken them to the super bowl, but they almost got there last year with a sub-average QB, and they’ve only improved their personnel this year, so i don’t think he deserves all the credit he’s getting. although he is an incredible young talent.

  3. beavertonsteve says: Jan 29, 2013 6:53 PM

    In 5 years the score from this weekend’s pro bowl might not look so out of place anymore. With the rules changes and offensive changes those game scores you see in the Big 12 might be on their way to the NFL too.

  4. nineroutsider says: Jan 29, 2013 6:53 PM

    True, but this is Chris Ault’s offense, not Chip Kelly’s offense. Yeah, yeah…they are practically the same, both have the read-option, but the pistol is a variation that Chris Ault invented.

    I like the offense…as long as the team can still run traditional pro-sets which the 9ers can and do run. I was very impressed with the Pistol last week as Kap didn’t run but Gore and LMJ ran strong out of it.

    Finding another QB like Kap to run it won’t be easy. Vick could run it, but he’s a bonehead. Kap isn’t, RG3 isn’t. The difference is apparent. More and more college QBs will be running this so the Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble finding a horse to run it, but he needs to be able to handle traditional sets as well. It would help if he could run like a gazelle, possess a rocket arm, and be strong enough to take some hits…

  5. brazin99 says: Jan 29, 2013 6:59 PM

    Not to mention what RG3 and Russell Wilson have been doing with their teams. The read-option may not be the bread and butter of any team going forward but it’s sure to be right up there with play-action as a major tactic to be reckoned with over time.

  6. phillyphever says: Jan 29, 2013 7:00 PM

    Yeah, they were two fumbles from their ST from getting to the SB last year. And BTW, Baltimore basically shut down that offense 2 weeks ago in Foxboro.

  7. dbones750 says: Jan 29, 2013 7:04 PM

    Are people sold on Kaepernick already? He’s started 9 games. He’s not the savior yet.

    The offense can work, but I’d rather have a mind like Peyton or Brady as my QB any day. If I had to give up the athletic ability to get someone who can pass, I would. Examples of this would be: Luck over Griffin/Cam/Kaep, or someone like Eli over Vick.

  8. tombstone7 says: Jan 29, 2013 7:07 PM

    I have watched LMJ play ever game at Oregon, being a season ticket holder and Chip Kelly is fearless and daring coach. He will need players like the ones at Oregon who “was ALL in!” Guys will need to check their egos at the ticket office!

    Just saying!

  9. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Jan 29, 2013 7:09 PM

    I say we change the Lombardi trophy’s name to the Chip Kelly Trophy since he invented football !

  10. questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says: Jan 29, 2013 7:16 PM

    On the turf of the super dome, how awesome is it to have a guy like james and Keapernick? Its the most awesome!
    happy they grabbed him, you know since noone else in NFL knows talent!
    get em james, you and gore and dixon just light wm up!!

  11. themackstrong says: Jan 29, 2013 7:18 PM

    phillyphever says: Jan 29, 2013 7:00 PM

    Yeah, they were two fumbles from their ST from getting to the SB last year. And BTW, Baltimore basically shut down that offense 2 weeks ago in Foxboro.

    ————————————

    Are you serious? Tom Brady runs the read option now, they let DE’s run clean at him or the Hb and Brady gets to the edge to take it to the house with his 5.28 speed?

  12. jimnaizeeum says: Jan 29, 2013 7:19 PM

    nineroutsider says:
    Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble finding a horse to run it, but he needs to be able to handle traditional sets as well. It would help if he could run like a gazelle, possess a rocket arm, and be strong enough to take some hits…
    ———————————————————
    So your saying the same qualities in a qb ALL teams have been looking for…. for ever.

  13. drgreenstreak says: Jan 29, 2013 7:22 PM

    So let’s see how long QB’s careers last in the “new” NFL.

  14. thefiesty1 says: Jan 29, 2013 7:23 PM

    The best read option QB is setting at home with no team taking a chance on a winning record (VY). And the next best is holding a clipboard in Cleveland. One of these days the powers that be will wake up and win a few games.

  15. aneaglesfan says: Jan 29, 2013 7:36 PM

    nineroutsider says: Jan 29, 2013 6:53 PM

    True, but this is Chris Ault’s offense, not Chip Kelly’s offense. Yeah, yeah…they are practically the same, both have the read-option, but the pistol is a variation that Chris Ault invented.

    ———————————-
    You are right where you say the pistol is Chris Ault’s…but that’s where it ends. The offensive scheme is the mastermind of Chip Kelly just like the West Coast Offense mastermind was Bill Walsh with many variations being ran over the past 2-3 decades. But the mastermind of what is being mimicked in the pros is Chip Kelly. Lets allow him to have his run at success in the pros and see where he can improve on and show the nfl how his offense is meant to be ran. I have no doubt that he will have a long and successful career in nfl…hopefully all of it with the eagles getting many super bowl wins

  16. radrntn says: Jan 29, 2013 7:41 PM

    bozo…they are running more pistol type offense that they ran when he was with the wolfpack under coach ault.

  17. buttfumblesports says: Jan 29, 2013 7:50 PM

    Why do people just pigeonhole Kaep as run only when he has shown he is a more than capable passer? Is it just because he is so good at running people like to think of him as another Vick?

  18. jerryjonesmustdie83 says: Jan 29, 2013 7:57 PM

    People forget that Atlanta ran a limited version of the read option with Vick before the dog fighting was exposed. Didn’t take long for defensive gurus to figure it out. The patriots high flying spread offense didn’t do much against Baltimore either. The zone read will fade out like the wild cat did.

  19. coys10 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:00 PM

    First, it is not Chip Kelly’s offense it is Rich Rodriguez offense that he invented at Granville State. Second, teams are obviously going to figure it out. Right now, teams are using DLines that are not quick enough to adjust. Soon, teams will be drafting faster lineman and linebackers to combat this offense.

  20. goldrush36 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:02 PM

    aneagles fan you do realize that offense was around in the college ranks before Kelly was even a coach right? Quit trying to puff up your coach.. the spread and its variations have been around for decades

  21. hockeyfan28 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:04 PM

    Everyone who follows this knows this is Rich Rodriguez’s offense Kelly himself admitted learning the offense from Rich Rod.

  22. nineroutsider says: Jan 29, 2013 8:11 PM

    @jimnaizeeum says: Jan 29, 2013 7:19 PM

    @nineroutsider says:Eagles shouldn’t have much trouble finding a horse to run it, but he needs to be able to handle traditional sets as well. It would help if he could run like a gazelle, possess a rocket arm, and be strong enough to take some hits…
    ———————————————————
    So your saying the same qualities in a qb ALL teams have been looking for…. for ever.
    ———————————————————-

    Sure, but I was perhaps too subtly pointing out all of Kap’s qualities. That’s why I said finding another QB like Kap won’t be easy…

  23. erndogg209 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:17 PM

    ex-oregon/ravens qb Dennis Dixon has been imitating kaepernick all week using read option! bye bye whiners! lol

  24. montsta says: Jan 29, 2013 8:24 PM

    Cam Newton has put up the best first and second seasons in NFL history by running a spread and read option.

  25. goldrush36 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:25 PM

    erndogg209 says: Jan 29, 2013 8:17 PM

    ex-oregon/ravens qb Dennis Dixon has been imitating kaepernick all week using read option! bye bye whiners! lol
    _____________________________________

    Yeah because an ex Steelers practice squad and Ravens 3rd string QB is really the same thing as Kaepernick. If not for a pair of ticky tack penalties negating TD’s and turnovers Alex Smith would have beaten that D at full strength and one year younger despite taking 9 sacks. I’m sure Colin is really shaking

  26. reasonablemindsays says: Jan 29, 2013 8:34 PM

    Chip Kelly is virtually guaranteed to win multiple Superbowls with the talent on this team. The only question that remains is how many points will they win by.

  27. questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says: Jan 29, 2013 9:10 PM

    But why does everybody think they will use this in the game, if you heard roman, he said they felt they could win the division in the traditional way.
    That worked out great for them,
    i dont expect alot of high flyin pistol or spread. I think 3 reciever max and slamming thier front into submission, they didnt practice that much this week im thinkin!..

  28. firegoodell says: Jan 29, 2013 10:40 PM

    I may be in the minority here but I do not think this read option offense will last – the wildcat was the same thing a few years ago – and no you hardly ever see it – nfl defenders are just to big, fast, and strong to get away with this for long – all it will do is get the QB killed – and the rules in the NFL don’t exactly encourage running the ball consistently….as teams get film over a few years this offense will go the way of the wildcat…

    as for Kaepernick – is anyone else just the least little bit (for me it’s really a lot) tired of hearing about how he is the second coming for pete’s sake – he has had a good half a season and got hot at the right time – when he can do it consistently over several years the let’s all rush to judgement and to be honest I don’t even care if the 49ers win the superbowl – and the same is true for Flacco – these are two good teams with good QBs nothing else – neither QB is elite and especially not Kaepernick because he has not proven anything over he long haul and until he does he is just the flavor of the month

  29. dirtydrew says: Jan 29, 2013 10:43 PM

    With Kelly taking over the Eagles and Kaepernick taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl, we may be seeing a major offensive shift in the NFL.

    Gee, great insights. It’s been changing for the past 10 years employing the spread. This is the natural progression.

  30. brauningj says: Jan 29, 2013 10:54 PM

    The NFL has always been a copycat league. As long is your head coach isn’t too stubborn to change with the times you will have a fighting chance. Adios Andy Reid. Good luck Kansas city. he will break your heart every time especially with his clock management.

  31. fourthandafoot says: Jan 30, 2013 12:05 AM

    From the NFL’s point of view the spread didn’t exist until after Alex Smith got drafted. That’s when scouts and GM’s figured out that spread QB’s had to be evaluated differently. It took a short while longer for the NFL to incorporate this change in view to the other offensive positions in the spread.

  32. mdp44 says: Jan 30, 2013 2:49 AM

    Hope you eagles fans realize your offensive line sucks and it doesn’t matter who you have at qb

  33. moseszd says: Jan 30, 2013 8:17 AM

    Yes! Yes! It’s the offense of the future, like the Wildcat!!! Like the Greatest Show on Turf! Like the Counter-Trey. Like the Alley Oop!

    Personally, I think it’s almost certainly a junk/gimmick offense that some defensive coordinators have figured out. And that, over-time, it will be consigned to the NFL scrap heap, if only because it will, in the end, get QBs killed so you’re playing with your 2nd and 3rd stringers who can’t execute it.

    Heck, even with the 49ers, the offense has been tremendously erratic and if it wasn’t for some big defensive plays/games, the 49ers would have finished the second half of the season 4-4 not 5-2-1.

  34. steelerben says: Jan 30, 2013 1:03 PM

    The Patriots run a hurry up offense that employs the same idea of compressed play calling, one or two syllables, that allows for the offense to get set and snap the ball faster. That is a portion of the “Chip Kelly” offense. The spread and read option stuff is another part. The risk taking and unusual attitude towards going for two or on fourth down are the remainder.

    As far as the defenses catching up with the spread offense as soon as they have enough tape on it… Hasn’t this offense been ran in college forever?

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