Chip Kelly: I almost coached Bucs, can adapt my offense to the NFL

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When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers searched for a new coach this year, they looked to the college ranks, where they first offered the job to Oregon coach Chip Kelly, and then, after Kelly declined, hired Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. Schiano is a conventional choice, in the sense that he ran a typical pro-style system at Rutgers and won’t have to adjust much for the NFL. But how would Kelly, who runs anything but a typical pro-style system, make his offense work in the NFL?

Kelly says he’d make it work just fine.

In an interview with KJR in Seattle, Kelly said that good coaches adapt their systems to the type of players they have, and that he could adapt his own spread offense to work in the NFL.

No one can be married to one thing, because it’s all personnel-driven,” Kelly said, via “It’s like the Denver Broncos. What John Fox did in Denver with Tim Tebow was outstanding because he looked at what he had for a player and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to run this.’ Now, all of a sudden, they have Peyton Manning and they’re not going to run the same plays. . . . It’s a personnel-driven game and I think the coaches that are the best at it can adapt their systems to the NFL.”

The Buccaneers’ personnel would seem to suit Kelly’s offense reasonably well, as Josh Freeman is a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his feet as well as his arm, and LeGarratte Blount played in Kelly’s offense at Oregon. So from an Xs and Os perspective, Kelly might not have needed to make radical changes. That may be one reason that coaching the Bucs is something Kelly says he very seriously considered.

“I was close,” Kelly said. “When I got the call, I literally said I would like to take the interview because I thought it would be a good life experience for me. Then I ended up getting offered the job.”

From a game strategy perspective, Kelly might have been the most unconventional coaching choice in NFL history: Kelly does things his own way on game day, ranging from the way he goes for two far more often than other coaches to the way he calls trick plays and deep passes in situations when other coaches play it safe. At the college level, Kelly runs a football team unlike anything the NFL has ever seen.

It’s too bad Kelly didn’t accept the Bucs’ offer. It would have been fun to see what a Kelly-coached NFL team looks like.

21 responses to “Chip Kelly: I almost coached Bucs, can adapt my offense to the NFL

  1. While it would have probably been fun to watch the offense he could set up, Oregon seems like an undisciplined mess of a program. So I’m glad he’s not the coach, last thing the Bucs needed was another Raheem.

    Schiano will bring the accountability that this team desperately needs.

  2. It’s just a matter of time before the NCAA hammers the Ducks and he’ll bring his “wizardry” to the NFL for a couple seasons. I’ll remain underwhelmed.

  3. Would have been fun to watch. He’s a hell of an offensive mind. Tampa would have become my second favorite NFL team if he took the gig.

  4. As a Bucs fan, I wish Chip had taken the job. Do I know he would’ve succeeded? Heck, no. But it would have been interesting to see him try.

    Let’s face it- only one team wins the Super Bowl each year. If your team doesn’t win, then (in a certain way) it’s been a failure of some kind. At least with Chip trying out his system in the NFL, it would’ve been interesting. Maybe a trainwreck, but an interesting trainwreck.

    And having suffered through Ray Perkins, I’d rather have an interesting train wreck than a dull, dull, dull trainwreck.

  5. Chip made the right decision to stay at Oregon. It’s the perfect situation for him and they’re fun as hell to watch.

    Most NFL coaches get fired after just three years anyway and the way things are going at Oregon Chip should be able to keep that job for a very long time.

  6. It would have looked liked the “Ol Ball Coach” offense looked liked with the Redskins. Chip’s a very good college coach who should stay there.

  7. It’d be fun to see Kelly use his schemes against NFL caliber defenses yet he definitely wouldn’t have used a QB based running offense like this article is insinuating, ” Josh Freeman is a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his feet as well as his arm.” Freeman ran a 4.90 40 at the Combine and Kelly’s most recent QB (Dennis Dixon) ran a 4.58 40. Kelly would have had the Bucs bubble screen all day long but the read option would not have been used. It would be fun interesting to watch though.

  8. The people who don’t think the Oregon system can be adapted to the NFL are the same people who think fullbacks shouldn’t catch and the forward pass is just “screwing around”.

  9. Hey, remember when Lou Holtz coached the Jets, and he tried to get them to learn a fight song he had written? That was funny.

  10. If you ever watched Greg Olson’s middle school offense you’d know that if Chip Kelly only put 7 people on the field they’d have a better shot at moving the ball. As for the new Ray Perkins I’m really hoping all the NFL caliber coordinators they put around him make him into a winner since he wasn’t a winner at Reuters where he had a losing record vs DI teams. As a Bucs fan I’m hoping for the best but I haven’t seen anything so far that makes me excited about the team. The new Ray Perkins has said he’ll have a run first offense that throws the ball down the field — for Bucs fans that remember 1st generation Ray Perkins offense was, run left, run right, throw deep, punt. With that said it would still probably be better than Greg Olson’s offense so I guess, go Bucs.

  11. I’ll love to see this guy in the NFL. He thinks outside the box. May be, then the inexplicable babble of the ‘prototypical’ QB will cease to be deployed unnecessarily.

  12. Also, total disrespect to the current hc, Schiano by saying he was their first choice, btw from the moment the season ended all the bucs talk was about Greg S

  13. As we saw in the 2010 NCAA National Championship game, a spread offense struggles against a fast, physical defense like Auburn had that year. Against a lightning quick NFL defense, a run-oriented spread like Kelly’s would fizzle no matter how “trick” or fast they are.

    The one guy who could revolutionize the spread system in the NFL would be WAZZU coach Mike Leach with a spread passing offense. He is a genius.

  14. You so-called Bucs fans that want to criticize Schiano by calling him the next ray Perkins make me sick. The guy hasn’t even coached a down yet and you are somehow disappointed with him? After the nightmare that was last season?? Anything would be an improvement, and Schiano has an excellent staff assembled, and the team is buying in.
    I’m betting that you ”faithful” fans had kind words and support for Dungy when he was hired too, right? After all, no one had heard of him before either. If you’re not a bandwagon fan, then you’ll give this guy a shot. If you’re a true fan, then you’ll know we’ve had much worse.

  15. He grabbed the contract…
    and threw it on the ground!
    Man! I aint a part of your system!

    Little bit of Lonely Island

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