People close to Oregon’s Chip Kelly think he’s heading to the NFL

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Oregon coach Chip Kelly has his eye on the NFL and wants to see if his brand of football can work at the next level, according to people who know him well.

Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who hired Kelly as his offensive coordinator in 2007 and then promoted Kelly to head coach when he became Oregon’s athletic director, says Kelly is an NFL coach in the making. In fact, Bellotti expected Kelly to leave in January, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered him their head-coaching job. Kelly considered it but ultimately turned down the Bucs, who hired Greg Schiano.

It’s just inevitable that he will eventually be in the NFL,” Bellotti told Dennis Dodd of CBS. “Chip is one of the ultimate competitors and he sees that. It actually surprised me he changed his mind [with the Bucs] last year. Whether they get to the national championship and whether they win the national championship, I don’t know. To think he’ll stay there when ultimately his idea of top jobs is to get to the Super Bowl, it won’t happen, unfortunately, at the college level.”

Oregon is currently undefeated, and a source close to Kelly who didn’t want to be identified told Dodd that if the Ducks win the national championship, Kelly will have accomplished everything he wants to accomplish in college football, and will turn his attention to the NFL.

“There are nine chances in 10 if he wins out [this season] he’s gone,” the source said.

When NFL teams have hired college coaches, they’ve generally gone with more conventional choices like Schiano, Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, all of whom had prior NFL experience and were planning to run more or less standard NFL systems. But Kelly has no NFL experience, and he’s a different breed of football coach, the kind of coach the NFL has never seen.

Although NFL teams have employed spread offense concepts, no NFL team has ever employed a spread attack like Kelly’s as its primary offensive system. And what makes Kelly different goes far beyond the offense: Kelly goes for it on fourth down at times when no NFL coach would, he goes for two-point conversions at times when no NFL coach would, and he has a completely different approach to playcalling than you’d ever see in the NFL. Kelly’s offense can be backed up at the 1-yard line, and he’ll have his quarterback drop deep into the end zone and chuck it 40 yards downfield. Or Kelly’s offense can be facing third-and-15, and he’ll call a handoff up the middle — and it works.

At least, it works in college. Would Kelly’s approach work in the NFL? Who knows. But it would be fun to see him try.

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79 responses to “People close to Oregon’s Chip Kelly think he’s heading to the NFL

  1. I don’t think he’ll be a good HC in the NFL. He’s doing good at Oregon because of all the talented playmakers and his college oriented offense. That doesn’t work as well in the NFL, but we’ll see how it goes if this happens.

    Best of luck to Chip.

  2. These kinds of gimmick offenses never work in the NFL, but more power to him, it will be fun to watch and he will make a ton of money before he gets fired.

  3. Kelly will be the Eagles coach next year. He would have the perfect QB to run his offense in Mike Vick.

  4. Why not even if he “fails” he can always return to college look at Saban or Spurrier but honestly if he’s looking to leave Texas (UT ) should be he’s destination

  5. MDS, you can’t post an article like this without at least speculating where he could go. That is not the PFT I have come to love.

  6. Daniel Snyder should literally do the blank check routine, start first number with a 9 and then ask how many 0’s it takes!

  7. He’s not stupid, though. He was interviewed after the Bucs lowballed him and said all of the right things about how it’s about personnel and stuff.

    I firmly believe any team with an inkling to can their coach will “kick his tires”.

  8. The thing with speed offenses and its translation to the Pro’s is that everyone in Pro’s is fast. In college a team will be lucky to have a handful of players that are NFL ready, so there are holes you see in college defenses that aren’t there in the Pro’s. In the Pro’s you can’t rely on just on your superior high school recruiting skills where you attract several blue chip player every year.

  9. How fun would it be for him to coach AP and Joe Webb in Minnesota?

    It might crash and burn, but boy would would that be a candle burning on both ends.

  10. So funny how trends change so much in the NFL. Couple years ago college coaches weren’t taken seriously after Saban’s flop. Now that Harbaugh and Carroll are having success (and I guess Schiano, to an extent) they’re back in vogue. Will be interesting to see how long this trend is…. trendy.

  11. He will succeed if he can get an elite qb and he will not succeed if he doesn’t. The nfl has made the qb position so important that the individual success of each team is dependant upon it. I dont really like this as an nfl fan, but as a steeler fan i do. (Because we have an elite qb)

  12. He will only agree to coach the Eagles or Cowboys if they let him rock the visor. To Chip Kelly that is the deal breaker in any job or contract.

  13. If he runs a college-style offense, then Jacksonville would be perfect for him since they’ll probably bring in Tebow after the season.

    Yes, I really do think they’ll bring in Tebow. Lets face it, the GM is gone after this season. Which means the new GM will probably fire Mularky, which means Blaine Gabbert is probably out too.

    And I know media likes to speculate too much about Tebow, but it’s no secret that Khan wants Tebow in Jacksonville. If that happens and assuming Smith is fired, Khan will bring in guys to support Tebow, if they do in fact get him.

  14. If he really intends to employ his system in the NFL, then its going to be a multi-year re-building process.

    He can’t come into a team in cap Hell and with a full roster of guys too old and slow to do what he wants. That’s the problem with translating this sort of college success to the NFL.

    That being said, I’ll give Kelly credit for making his way as an aggressive X’s & O’s coach. We’re not talking about a Pete Carroll who’s college success came from being able to recruit the best players attracted to Southern California and Southern California girls.

  15. Let’s see….which team(s) currently are close to firing their coach, GM, or both? And which team currently has a QB that can run the spread?

    Carolina Panthers

    They already fired their GM.

  16. The problem I see when this goes on is there just isn’t enough time to gather the personnel you need to run your specialized offense correctly.

    Fans have no patience for a long rebuild and most guys don’t have the patience to deal with those fans for a few seasons.

    An owner needs to be prepared to deal with a lot of pressure in order to do it the right way.

    These college coaches look to come in and create their own brand of team and the circumstances in big money NFL kind of keep that from happening.

    Even if you have the time to build it’s hard to maintain the mental edge quality rookies have while withstanding losing until enough players are there to run the system the coach wants.

  17. I think it has a chance to succeed, as it is quite contrarian and probably very difficult to prepare for in a week. However, you would need a few pieces in place:

    (1) 2 or 3 running QBs on your roster, as you will inevitable go through QBs.

    (2) a legit receiving threat, to keep that 8th/9th man out of the “box”

    Conventional teams have shown that RBs are a dime a dozen, as are run-blocking OL that don’t need to pass protect, so those pieces would be a luxury, but not a necessity.

  18. The only reason Chip came back from what I heard & read was that Phil Knight raked him over the coals saying everybody was building something at Oregon and the job isn’t done implying a National Championship. If Chip can win one he will have given Phil what was expected of him and at that time he should be free to go.

    It will be interesting and fun to see if Chip’s system can work at the NFL level. 20+ years ago Paul Westhead ran a very specialized basketball system at a very small college in Los Angeles (LMU). The system made up for player’s deficiencies i.e. lack of height, lack of speed. It let lesser talented players blow out the defending National Champions Michigan in the NCAA Tournament.

    When Westhead tried to implement his system in the NBA it failed. He couldn’t get past professional player’s ego’s who wouldn’t buy into the system.

    Whether Chip Kelly will be able to get professional football players with their professional egos to buy into his system remains to be seen. When the players don’t buy in the coach gets fired.

    It will be interesting to see how it will all play out though.

  19. I don’t think he’ll make the jump to HC in the NFL. He’ll become an offensive coordinator first. That way, his offensive system can be tested.

    Peyton Manning could run Chip Kelly’s offense in the NFL. And he’d break every record doing so.

  20. His brand of football works great when the 6 fastest players on the field are your QB, your RB’s and your WR’s. But there are no games against the Colorado Buffaloes in the NFL. In the NFL, those fellas on the other side of the ball are just as quick as your guys are.

  21. I watch every Oregon game and I disagree about how different everyone thinks their offense is.

    The main difference is the pace the run at. The Patriots are trying that this year and having success with it.

    If you watch Oregon they run a lot of simple plays. They just get back to the line and snap the ball at break neck speed.

    Kelly’s squad is incredibly sound fundamentally. WRs and TEs all pick up their downfield blocks and his linemen are athletic.

    With the right kind of talent in the NFL that buys into his system Chip Kelly could be a force in the NFL.

  22. I see a few teams right now that could possibly be used in Chip’s game. Speed is a must and players will have to buy into the system which is going to be a big question.

    One thing that would be great is seeing a coach that isn’t afraid of 4th and 1 or going for two. The ducks kill teams because they will run the same play on 4th down within 10 seconds of the 3rd down play and that is tough on defenses.

    As a Duck fan and NFL fan I would like to see it if the style is possible in the NFL and Chip is probably the best chance for that.

  23. Rock that visor! Offensive Coordinator in Dallas with Sean Payton as Head Coach and Rob Ryan still running D. Get his feet wet under a great Head Coach for a few years, then take your choice from a list of NFL teams.

  24. @huskersrock1
    The no huddle spread offense is the most dynamic offense on any level in football. It is not a gimmick. @dabears212 stated it correctly, this is an offense that can only be run at the college level and lower because it demands talented playmakers and that costs to much money for the salary cap NFL and that is the only reason it is a college and lower oriented offense. The spread offense demands that your QB run and that your QB pass. It demands that your QB is a top level runner and a solid passer. The spread offense demands that you have dynamic play makers at all skill position. Put dynamic play makers in space against a single tackler and you can pass on any down. Have the box with only 6 and you can run on any down. Go ask any coach on any level, NFL included, what offense that he hates to defend and they will tell you that the spread zone read option offense is the hardest to defend because you are stretched horizontally with four wideouts and thus vertically because the offense demands that you pass short and deep, but you must respect the QB and the single back zone read run game because the offense demands that you run the ball. Run correctly, it is the perfectly balanced offense. The defense does not know if you are throwing it or passing it. 1st down can be run or pass. 3rd and long (3rd and 6) can be a run or pass to pick up the first down. The reason why it does not work in the NFL is simple. It’s economics stupid. That is why it is not successful. QB’s make way to much money for an NFL team to risk their injury. If Cam Newton, RGIII, or Andrew Luck, all athletic QB’s capable of running the no huddle spread offense, the offense would be dynamic because of zone read misdirection run game. But that zone read demands that your QB run and he will get hit. An injury to one of those guys causes a franchise to be set back because the drop off from #1 to #2 in the NFL is tremendous. Billionaires do not tend to want their franchise player investments put at any unnecessary risk. Secondly, the NFL with their salary cap restrictions does not allow the offense to exist because you need a stockpile of playmakers at the 5 skill positions other than QB. That is why the no huddle spread offense is does not work in the NFL. It’s money, pure and simple. Go ask Monte Kiffin how well he can stop that offense. That is an NFL legend, Super Bowl winner who should go to the NFL Hall of Fame as a Defensive Coordinator. If all of the pieces are there for that offense, then you can only hope to contain it on the scoreboard and your offense must be superior to their defense.

  25. prosourcetalk says:

    MDS, you can’t post an article like this without at least speculating where he could go. That is not the PFT I have come to love.

    Nah man, that’s our job.

  26. I would love for him to stay in Eugene and continue making Oregon a top competitor. But man, would I love to see him play for my other favorite football team..

    Make my dreams come true and go to the San Diego Chargers Chip!!

  27. All the first few comments saying how his style wont work in the NFL. I wonder if they know Bellichek met with Kelly in the offseason to discuss his running game scheme. The way the Pats are running this season, I’d say it’s working.

  28. “Daniel Snyder should literally do the blank check routine, start first number with a 9 and then ask how many 0′s it takes!”


    God I hope so….


    Rest of NFC East

  29. I can’t believe no one has figured it out yet.

    Sean “show me the money” Payton becoming the first gazillionaire coach in DC.

    Chip ” already got the visor” Kelly driving the crazy train in New Orleans.

    So it says and so it shall be.

  30. “Could have sworn you were talking about Andy Reid in the second to last paragraph. Players are already in place for Kelly on the eagles.”


    Yeah, now they just need an Offensive Line, DBs, and a Quarterback.

  31. That story sounds great.

    Here is reality now:

    His defense just gave up over 50;

    All those fast little guys will be playing NFL guys, not PAC – 12 types. Okay, sounds good, but look what happened last year when they played LSU on neutral field. They got beat down. And LSU did not even win SEC. C’mon man.

    I think back when Oklahoma had that offense that averaged 57 points in big 12, and then played Florida in National Championship. Oklahoma managed 14 pts.

    Please, take things with a grain of salt, listen to your ancestors folks.

    It is fashionable, but it is not lasting.

  32. The advantage Oregon has over other teams is speed, across the board.

    In the NFL, every team has about the same level of speed.

    The spread attack may work, but the goofy situational play calls won’t.

  33. shadeforourbattle

    The no huddle spread may be the most dynamic offense in college but you cannot say it is in the NFL since it has never been tried there.

    I have no problem with Kelly, as a matter of fact Nebraska made a mistake not hiring Scott Frost last year. But don’t forget they said the same thing about Spurrier and we all know how that worked out.

  34. Stay at Oregon. The NFL is a different game. Constantly kicking field goals would drive him crazy.

  35. grogansheroes says: Nov 9, 2012 7:23 PM

    Kelly will be the Eagles coach next year. He would have the perfect QB to run his offense in Mike Vick.
    How so? Chip Kelly runs a good, quick, effective, option spread. I’m sure Vick can handle “quick”, “option” and “spread”, but “good” and “effective” seem to be beyond him at this point in his career.

  36. So…it’s the wildcat with 4 wideouts?

    “20+ years ago Paul Westhead ran a very specialized basketball system”

    Sure was fun to watch…don’t think any of those teams ever used more than 10 sec of the shot clock…but they’d lose 150-140.

  37. Thank God he was lured back to Oregon, the Bucs dodged a real bullet there.
    The college coaches that work in the NFL are the ones who are real coaches who might not have the overall success but know how to run a team not ones who simply depend on having recruited the best players and a gimmick scheme.

  38. Welcome to Cleveland coach Kelly, You turn this team into a super bowl contender and you will be a god amongst browns fans!

  39. Agree 100% with naes and I was actually going to point ou the same. The examples of this article, while good, don’t provide an accurate picture of the essence of Oregon system. Is not going for it on 4th down ot try 2point conversions more often, it’s the speed of the offense what’s particular.

    Belichick is already using it quite well: #1 offense in the league, and was using it last years too. The idea here is simple: if you offense can rack up plays on the offense then chances are that they’ll score more points.

    I think he’d be successful but we gotta bear in mind that the system is already in use in the NFL.

  40. Ehh, be happy where you are. More control over the roster, and you’re not going to make any more money. Phil Knight will pay you handsomely to stay.

  41. Going for 4th down and 2-point conversions is not a style, it’s simply a measure of aggression weighed with confidence of success.

    When you know your team can score 50+ points against any opponent, it’s a lot easier not to consider field position in the first quarter.

    The point margins in victory for the NFL are simply too constricting compared to NCAAF for that kind of aggression to be prudent.

  42. The next Eagle coach….if only he does it Mike McCoy style….option along with a traditional pro set – he’d work well with a mobile type QB

  43. huskersrock1

    I can say what I say based on my and others experience. I am a former D1AA college football player and a former high school football coach with many friends still coaching in high school, college and the pros. Trust me, when we talk offense Oregon’s spread is what my pro friends say they are glad they don’t have to defend against. This offense they and I can tell you, with out hesitation, if the NFL was not constrained by salary cap and had MLB type rules and the Cowboys could spend money unfettered like the Yankees or Red Sox, then this offense would dominate. As I stated, the salary cap is the problem as it constrains the free market and players can’t get their true free market value. With no salary cap an owner like Jerry Jones could stockpile talent like the Yankees and Red Sox have done. The only worry is when they get old before their contracts expire, just as the Yankees and Red Sox have. But championships are worth that.

  44. I’m not at all surprised reading this after his flirtation with Tampa Bay last year. I think his system has a chance to work, but I’m not completely sold. However, I disagree with the some of the comments that its all the players he recruits. Oregon’s recruiting classes generally aren’t that highly ranked, unlike the great recruiters Spurrier and Saban, who bombed in the pros. Kelly knows his X’s and O’s. I think he could make the necessary tweaks in the pros when needed. His best chance to succeed would be surrounding himself with a pro-tested staff, not just all his college staff. Maybe he could end up in Arizona and the division would be 3/4 PAC 10/12 coaches?

  45. “Kelly will be the Eagles coach next year. He would have the perfect QB to run his offense in Mike Vick.”

    Mike Vick is gone next year! There is no way they are picking up a $15 million option on him with this level of play. Say what you want about the offensive line, but Vick has been inconsistent his entire tenure with the Eagles. Just like with Reid, it’s time to move on!

  46. Shad Khan knows Jacksonville needs a dynamic coach like Chip Kelly and a fresh approach. Mularky is as fired as Gene Smith at this point and the roster needs a major overhaul from both the draft and free agency and I can see Chip wanting to do it his way! He could be another Jimmy Johnson bring him to Jax!!!

  47. “I can’t wait to watch his hyper fast offense. I may be the only one, but I think it will work in the NFL.”

    I definitely think it can have some success. I don’t think they’ll be able to sustain that pace all game. They’d be leaving their defense out to be exhausted by the 4th quarter. I think he’d need to form some type of hybrid. He definitely seems to have what it takes to be a good coach though. IMO at least

  48. I cannot understand how anyone that watches the NCAA and the NFL doesn’t see the integration of this offense already taking place in the NFL.

    The Redskins, Panthers and 49ers already run significant packages of it in their offenses, with alot of success. It has nothing to do with only succeeding against teams with inferior talent. It has everything to do with simple math. You spread the defense out, make them have to defend the entire field against both the run and pass, and restrain the defense from using numbers on your skill players. When linebackers have to stay home to defend against a run that can be to either side of the field, and defensive ends can’t focus on hitting one guy, you take away the ability to put defensive packages in against any one phase of the game. An example is the most basic play that Oregon runs, the Outside Zone Read. They show you exactly what the play is when they line up, by having the back offset to one side and slightly behind the qb, the TE on the off side of the line and 2 receivers on the play side. They let the weakside DE go free at the snap, and if he goes towards the running back, the qb keeps it and goes to the spot vacated by the DE. Combine that with the Zone Blocking Scheme they use, and by the time the qb gets to the linebacker level, they have offensive linemen on them blocking. And the play gets a minimum of 5-8 yards every carry.

    If you had a qb like RG3, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick or Geno Smith running the offense and some depth at RB to rotate in, this offense could be highly effective in the NFL. As a matter of fact, you will see multiple teams running this offense within the next 3 years.

  49. If Oregon wins the national championship I believe he will go to the NFL. People might forget Schiano is only the coach of Tampa Bay because Chip Kelly turned down the job.

  50. I think he’s coming to the NFL and I believe that his spread offense will work. Anyone who’s ever coached at any level of football knows that the problem Kelly’s offense gives defenses has nothing to do with Scheme. The scheme is pretty basic. The problem he brings is the speed in which he runs plays. Texas A&M showed against Bama that the speed in which plays are run negates the ablity of a defense to make adjustments. The reason I brought that up was because Bama runs a pro style defense. Mark this down, I’m not saying that Kelly will win a super bowl, but I promise you whoever he coaches will be in the playoffs. A few weeks I posted this. Chip Kelly to Buffalo. Mark it down.

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