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Chip Kelly downplays his fourth-down gambler reputation

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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.

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38 Responses to “Chip Kelly downplays his fourth-down gambler reputation”
  1. cestlavidaloca says: Mar 26, 2013 7:09 AM

    Big Balls Chip!

  2. nflintheuk says: Mar 26, 2013 7:09 AM

    Well that’s a shame isn’t it

  3. gbpicksix says: Mar 26, 2013 7:15 AM

    I can’t imagine why Chip Kelly would run around and tell the world what his strategy is going to be and ruin any element of surprise for game day. Half of the benefit to running unusual 4th down offensive plays is catching the defense unprepared.

  4. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Mar 26, 2013 7:19 AM

    Seems like he is trying to temper expectations for everybody expecting the Eagles to play like the Ducks.

  5. sportsmeccabi says: Mar 26, 2013 7:20 AM

    I don’t see the problem, I go for it all the time in madden.

    No way I’m giving the ball back.

  6. andyreidsskinnyjeans says: Mar 26, 2013 7:29 AM

    In Chip we trust

  7. maurysline says: Mar 26, 2013 8:04 AM

    Even Kelly realizes the talent level in every other NFL team is going to be light years ahead of Oregons competition.
    You can’t go for it on 4th down without seriously considering the consequences in the NFL and risk giving up a short field.
    Don’t make it and it’s only 20 yds to put the other team in scoring position.
    Go for it on your side of the 50 and some teams won’t have to gain a single yard.
    Kickers nail 50+ yard field goals all the time in the NFL now…’s common.

  8. ccjcsr says: Mar 26, 2013 8:05 AM

    Too much press for a coach who hasn’t proven anything!

  9. myvickinabox14 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:18 AM

    Que the Chip Kelly haters. C’mon, I wanna hear your expert opinion on why he won’t make it in the NFL. Tell us how your smarter than him. I love the hate when it comes from other teams, but all you so called Eagles fans! You guys are disgusting. And it’s just like .5% of you that are trolls and make the rest of us look like idiots. To the rest of the fan base in the NFL, I just wanna say that most of us around here are really looking forward to seeing what Chipper can do over the course of this next NFL season. Not sitting in our basements hating on the guy. Sorry for my early morning rant. Go Birds!

  10. bigbwoy000 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:25 AM

    Disaster waiting to happen. Steve Spurrier 2.0

  11. geo1113 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:26 AM

    When you average 6.5 yards a play, there aren’t that many 4th downs.

  12. reasonableeaglefan says: Mar 26, 2013 8:28 AM

    He keeps stressing that he will base decisions of personnel and not shoehorn players into his system, which i like. I just can’t see how he can justify bring Vick back, unless it’s to wedge him into the system

  13. tjacks7 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:39 AM

    I almost didnt see it through all the smoke but Chip will go for it on 4th if the down and distance is right. More than any other coach, I’ll bet.

  14. jam11163 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:41 AM

    i like it. andy was to predictable. chip will take some chances. it makes teams prepare for it and adds extra practice for the other teams.

  15. andrewfbrowne says: Mar 26, 2013 8:42 AM

    The first time he didn’t make it the fans in Philly would flay the flesh from his bones. Actually they will do it anyways, so he should just let it fly.

  16. redeemerac says: Mar 26, 2013 8:43 AM

    The more I read of Kelley, the more impressed I am. He doesn’t think he’s the smartest guy in the room and realizes he needs to rely on his assistants.
    IMHO, he seems a lot closer to being Pete Carroll then Steve Spurrier.

  17. j4man1 says: Mar 26, 2013 9:03 AM

    He obviously thinks his eagles aren’t as good as his ducks, I think that’s a fair assessment.

  18. conormacleod says: Mar 26, 2013 9:20 AM

    I have a tendency to not believe anything a head coach says in March. Or any other month for that matter.

  19. raiderlyfe510 says: Mar 26, 2013 9:21 AM

    Bill Walsh said the next stage of football evolution will be for a team to not punt and go for it on 4th down heavily.

  20. richeed says: Mar 26, 2013 9:41 AM

    There seems to be a lot of interest in Mr. Kelly. How he’s going to call plays, strategy, personnel moves. Sports writers all over this land are agonizing over single quote Chip gives.
    Hey Chip, what are you going to do if you win the toss? Defer or receive? Boxers or briefs? Paper or plastic?
    As an Eagles fan, I’ll be happy to wait for week 1 to find out what this guy’s all about. Then again, I did click on the link.

  21. heyguru1969 says: Mar 26, 2013 9:56 AM

    This is really going to be hard. As a lifelong Cowboys fan it’s been impossible to like the Eagles, but I’m such a fan of the way Kelly designs a game I’ll be quietly rooting for him to succeed. First poster said it all – big balls.

  22. tjules21 says: Mar 26, 2013 10:07 AM

    As an Eagles fan, I hope he does keep with that strategy. Too often, NFL coaches let the fear of losing their job interfere with taking chances on 4th down. The percentages actually favor going for it in the kind of situation described above (too long for a field goal, too short for a punt) but coaches are often times overly conservative and will take the 20 yard net punt.

    It makes sense – he’ll adjust to his personnel. If Alex Henerey is kicking the crap out of the ball next year, try the 52 yard field goal. If Donnie Jones is on a hot streak with burying punts inside the 5, then punt it.

    But if the situation calls for it and it’s 4th and 5 from the 38 yard line, go ahead and roll the dice, Chip!

  23. whatjusthapped says: Mar 26, 2013 10:09 AM

    I can’t wait for the Eagles to lose their first game. All these band-wagon Eagle fans that are pronouncing Chip as the next Vince Lombardi will be ready to fire him. Sad, since their real problem begins at the QB position. Vick is a lot of things, just not a NFL QB.

  24. flavordave says: Mar 26, 2013 10:41 AM

    Chip Kelly doesn’t gamble. He simply knows his team is better. He will demonstrate this truth this year upon all who lineup against him. He has mastered an intricate offensive monster machine that can not be stopped. I guess the must employ a punter but they don’t need one. The sixtieth minute is the only way to stop him. And there’s simply nothing you can do about it.

  25. eatitfanboy says: Mar 26, 2013 10:45 AM

    This must be exciting for Eagles fans.

    All they heard when he was hired was how his diabolical genius innovative mind was going to revolutionize football.

    All he’s said since he got there was, A) “We don’t run some magical offense” (PFT 3/23) and B) now he tells you that the only reason he went for it alot on 4th down is that his kickers stank.

    So, basically he’s just like every other coach in the NFL with exception of the fact that he has zero NFL experience.

    Well now, isn’t that, umm….exciting.

  26. kdub79 says: Mar 26, 2013 10:46 AM

    Aside from flavordave I don’t think many Eagle fans are saying CK will be the next Vince Lombardi, but keep on hating if it makes you feel better. I’m an Eagles fan and don’t expect them to win many games this year, but as long as they show improvement throughout the season I’ll be happy.

  27. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 26, 2013 10:53 AM

    Almost all the quotes I see from this guy about football strategy remind me of Belichick.

    Kelly seems to stress situational football in the exact same way, i.e.; work with the strengths of the players you have instead of forcing them into a role they won’t be good at, go for it on 4th down if it makes sense with the personnel you have and the distance to get the first down, etc.

    I think he’s got a real chance of being successful in the NFL. The Pats often recognize situations that other teams aren’t prepared for, and if Kelly trains the Eagles the same way they’re going to be a very good team.

  28. j4man1 says: Mar 26, 2013 10:56 AM

    Band-wagon eagle fans, are you serious? the only way they can get band-wagon fans is if they get rid of the loser vick.

  29. craigsconcept says: Mar 26, 2013 12:11 PM

    While his comments make a lot of sense, we still don’t know how truthful he is being. He could just be saying that so he’ll have a better element of surprise.

  30. phillybirds22 says: Mar 26, 2013 12:17 PM

    A gambler never puts all of those cards on the table. Come on now

  31. gregm5s7 says: Mar 26, 2013 12:18 PM

    Living in Oregon, the Chip Kelly storyline is one of the more intriguing ones going into the 2013 schedule.

    I gotta say the “Mastermind/ Great Innovator” comments are getting a little too excited even for my taste though.

    One of his greatest strengths he won’t be able to use in the NFL: recruiting. But: he will get buy-in from the players, and has done an awesome job with 1st year QB starters like Darren Thomas and Mariota.

  32. jpack1974 says: Mar 26, 2013 12:52 PM


  33. lovedabirds says: Mar 26, 2013 12:53 PM

    myvickinabox14 says:
    Mar 26, 2013 8:18 AM
    Que the Chip Kelly haters. C’mon, I wanna hear your expert opinion on why he won’t make it in the NFL. Tell us how your smarter than him. I love the hate when it comes from other teams, but all you so called Eagles fans! You guys are disgusting. And it’s just like .5% of you that are trolls and make the rest of us look like idiots. To the rest of the fan base in the NFL, I just wanna say that most of us around here are really looking forward to seeing what Chipper can do over the course of this next NFL season. Not sitting in our basements hating on the guy. Sorry for my early morning rant. Go Birds!
    And RANT it is. Just because some of us are not sold on Chip Kelly & do not blindly root for Vick or Kelly, some of us would prefer to wait & see if the turnover machine can get it back together (doubtful) & if Kelly can get it done doesn’t make us dumb or mean we live in a basement.
    Stop acting like every obnoxious Eagle fan that gives us all a bad name & accept that others have different opinions. In other words, grow up & understand its ok to agree to disagree!

  34. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 26, 2013 1:11 PM

    Chip’s kicker didn’t have a thing to do with going for it. The real reason is because he usually played against teams with such inferior talent, that Chip knew there was no way they could score if he some how didn’t convert 4th down.

    It’s going to be different in the NFL and to his credit, he is acknowleging that fact.

    Whether Chip succeds or not remains to be seen but going to the NFL is going to be a transition for him.

    OK eagle homers, let the attacks begin. Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, playoff win in last 20 years, blah blah blah. Doesn’t change the fact you are who you are.

  35. fuglyflorio says: Mar 26, 2013 1:47 PM

    Chip is like Tebow … he’s done nothing, but has gotten a ton of publicity.

  36. damnyankee13 says: Mar 26, 2013 8:26 PM

    In response to gbpicksix, this is smoke. He knows he has a college rep so he’s trying to downplay it.He’ll go for it on 4th, probably not every play, but probably more then others

  37. officialgame says: Mar 26, 2013 9:13 PM

    Truth be told Kelly is a flat out great game day coach who has the mental capacity to make adjustments to the game plan on the fly. He is unpredictable and that in itself is uncommon in the copycat NFL.

  38. flavordave1 says: Mar 27, 2013 1:02 AM

    Bring it on, brothas! Chip Kelly is at the helm of the mighty World Domination Tour 2013 and no amount of cynicism is going to stop this train! When I look at the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes!

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