As the head coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly was known as an offensive innovator for his spread attack, but that wasn’t the only aspect of his innovative approach to coaching. Among the other things Kelly did differently than other coaches was his tendency to go for it on fourth down at times when most coaches would kick.
But Kelly says his approach on fourth downs at Oregon was more about the personnel he had at Oregon than anything else. And now that Kelly is the head coach of the Eagles, he says people shouldn’t expect Philadelphia to go for it on fourth down any more than any other team.
“I think there’s fallacy and reality. I don’t think very often we went for it on fourth down on our side of the field. It would be once or twice a season, depending on the situation,” Kelly said, via the Philadelphia Daily News.
And as for going for it on the opponent’s side of the field, Kelly said that was mostly about not having a kicker he could trust to consistently make long field goals, or a punter he could trust to consistently land kicks between the 10-yard line and the end zone.
“If you don’t have a guy that can kick a long field goal, what are you going to do when the ball is on the 37-yard line?” Kelly said. “Will you kick a 52-yarder or are you going to punt it? If [the punt] goes into the end zone, you have a net of 17 yards. Or do you go for it because you have a good defense and you’re not averse to putting them on the field on the 37-yard line?”
In other words, fans who were excited about seeing Kelly’s teams gamble on fourth down may be disappointed to learn that he won’t do that with the Eagles.