Kelly gets pragmatic about penalties


Eagles coach Chip Kelly sees things for what they are, and he usually has a flair for explaining it.

For the NFL, things currently are being called tight, with a renewed point of emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding.  Seven such penalties were called on Friday night during the Eagles-Patriots game, along with nine for illegal use of hands.  In all, 21 total flags were thrown.

“Those are the rules, and we’ve got to play by them,” Kelly told reporters after the game.  “And whoever ends up being the most disciplined team in this league is going to win, but the rule is not going to change.  And that’s what I told those guys in the locker room.  I think we had 10, and they had 11, and it seems like it’s like that overall, but I don’t think on tomorrow or Sunday, Roger [Goodell] is going to say, ‘Hey we’re going to change it.’  We’ve got to learn to not get our hands in people’s faces, and we’ve got to understand that after five yards it’s illegal contact.  And if you can’t play within the rules, you can’t play in this league.”

The official remain confident that, by the time the regular season begins, the players will adjust.  Kelly agrees.

“If you can’t play within the rules, you can’t play in this league,” Kelly said.  “That’s just the bottom line.  You’re just handing people first downs.  We better figure it out, and as I said earlier, whichever team ends up being the most disciplined team from that standpoint is going to have a big advantage in this league. It’s a challenge to everybody. We all have to figure it out. That’s the deal.”

Still, some teams will dare the officials to bog down regular-season games, counting on an ultimate unwillingness to lengthen games and alienate fans, especially since it’s the officials and not the players who get the public blame for a flag fest.  Kelly seems to be intent on getting ahead of the curve, finding ways to get his players to avoid drawing a flag.

Whatever he has done so far hasn’t worked.  But Kelly showed last year that he knows how to adjust.  If his players can’t or won’t, he’ll find new players.

46 responses to “Kelly gets pragmatic about penalties

  1. Good grief….every coach in the league has said this after every pre-season flag fest so far……why is Kelly being singled out as ‘unique’ ?

  2. LET THE FREAKING PLAYERS PLAY!!!! I watched this game last was beyond ridiculous…and we are talking minor minor stuff on both sides..

  3. There is no way regular season games can be called like last night, it was simply out it control. If they do call regular season games like that then maybe Mark Cuban isn’t wrong because I can see games like that pushing away some fans.

  4. I don’t give a crap about the Eagles, but I do kind of like Chip Kelly. He seems like the kind of coach that players like to play for and I can’t see any of the other NFCE teams beating out the Eagles for that division.

  5. It’s not just this game…it’s every game. The Saints had what 22 penalties? The Raider game was almost unwatchable…

    I don’t understand what this is accomplishing? It’s like the NFL says “what do the fans want? Let’s do the opposite and tell them it’s what they want.”

  6. If you don’t like it blame Seattle. They were the ones who basically gave a big middle finger to the NFL officials by saying ‘We hold on every single play because they can’t call most of them’. They let the secret out and now the NFL & the officials have said ‘challenge accepted’.

  7. who cares ? it’s pre-season.

    let’s see what happens when the games count. and more so at the 1/4 pole, after 4 gms, at the end of sept.

    and that goes for officiating, penalties, teams that look good and teams that look bad.

    eagles are getting crucified by philly media right now for poor performance. but really who cares ? just avoid the big injury during this 4 wk waste of time.

    the worst part of pre-season has always been that season ticket holders have to pay full cost for tix.

  8. The Seahawks are not the problem, Goodell is. Brandon Browner was the only one who really held much and he’s in New England. All I can say is that if what Therold Simon did in the Seahawks game last night is a penalty, then it is now illegal to play pass defense in the NFL. Guy made an amazing defensive play and took it to the house.

  9. We all knew flag football was coming. Not a Seahawks fan but don’t blame them. Blame the NFL. If Peyton got his ring maybe this wouldn’t be such an issue.

  10. How many yards and TDs for Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees this year? 7000 and 65 each? They are ruining the game. We are going to see teams scoring 60 points.

    With the game becoming more and more offensive and all the records falling every year I don’t understand why they are getting tougher again. Makes no sense.

  11. When the Patriots Defense man handled Peyton’s receivers in the AFCCG the rules where changed after that year, last year Seattle shut his squad down too and again the rules are changing, coincidence?!

  12. The NFL is trying to fix something that ain’t broke. Why? Because Manning got his butt handed to him in the SBowl? How many times do you change the rules for that guy? The NFL seemed invested in shortening the time of gms, Now its a flag every other play. Get ready for 3.5 hr games. I’m sure they’ll lighten up when the season starts, but this is ridiculous. The offenses already have too much advantage. FBall is a contact sport…or it used to be.

  13. .
    The Competition Committee, led by Jeff Fisher and Rich McKay, can change the NFL at their whim.

    Changing the rulebook requires owner’s approval. Changing a ” point of emphasis” does not.

  14. The only thing that will change during the season is the # of penalities against the pats will go down and they will get many more illegal contact calls their way on 3rd down.

  15. C’mon, you can’t blame the Seattle for this. It has been steadily moving in this direction for years. The CB’s are bigger and more physical because the WR ‘s are like thick basketball players and the TEs play more athletically now.

    I hope the regular season is nothing like these games, but penalties aside I did learn one other thing watching… Neither the Patriots or Eagles have any Defense whatsoever!

  16. The Seahawks won a superbowl by daring the refs to keep calling penalties on the defense. The refs decided they weren’t going to bog down the game and by the second half of games the Seahawks were getting away with murder on defense.

    That’s the reason for this crackdown.

  17. If that was how the regular season games are gonna be called, they’re gonna become unwatchable. It seemed like every play drew another flag. Let them damn players play the game

  18. I like Chip.
    With that said, it sounds as though Chip picks & chooses his integrity to the rules. Lest we forget his jump of ship from Oregon.
    Or he’s a bigger “yes man” to Goodell than Jeff Fisher.

  19. Virtually every decision Goodell has made since taking over has been a bad one, from an overreaction on spygate to this “emphasis”.

  20. I’m all for getting on top of the linemen early. If linemen are going at each other with illegal moves it devalues the position and I think that leads to less big line plays. Sacks, QB pressures and hits, big gaping running lanes for backs. That creates good football and illegal moves ruin some of that. Stamp out the illegal plays early in the season.

    But if they are throwing flags on every time there is contact between receivers and defensive players then that’s going to ruin the game. Receivers will just start initiating contact and the game will probably turn in to no contact at all. Holding and pass interference should be called when they exist, not when there is just incidental contact that has nothing to do with why a receiver couldn’t be targetted or catch the ball.

  21. Wow. My favorite sport is becoming unwatchable. I guess I’m lucky to be 65. At least I got to watch football when it was a great game.

  22. The only goal the NFL has with this is to run up the scores for the fantasy geeks. I loathe this and if it goes like this in the regular season I’ll be finding something else to watch or do most of the time.

    I didn’t watch any games for a year and a half after the last strike/walkout and found plenty of other things to do. Having been sucked back in the league seems to be doing everything it can to drive me away again.

  23. What wasn’t said in the article was that the ’21 flags’ only counts those that were accepted. More than half the plays had flags thrown. This is unacceptable, even for preseason.

  24. Put the blame where it squarely belongs…on the sore loser qb Mr. Wonderful in Denver. Whenever he loses a big game, the rules are changed to his benefit. Whatever megahead wants, megahead gets.

  25. The officiating in the NFL is the biggest joke. They want to go after certain calls and then the season starts they are the ones who don’t follow through and call the calls. Once more we will watch different games and the crews will be all over the place on what and when they make a call. The NFL continues to take steps backwards in trying to be better. They have taken everything from the defense and taken nothing from the offense.

  26. “If you can’t play within the rules, you can’t play in this league,” Kelly said. “That’s just the bottom line.” That should be the headline for when the league suspends Josh Gordon and any other player in the future.

  27. If I were Kelly, I’d be more concerned about turnovers. They gave it away 4 times last night for 21 points. That will cost you a lot more games than a few extra defensive penalties.

  28. Human nature seems to be to blame someone else for your own mistakes. The game has rules. Play by the rules or get the deserved penalties. All that is required is that the refs are consistent. And they have been.

    I don’t want to see teams win by cheating the way the early 2000 Patriots did or last year’s Seahawks did. Illegal contact is illegal contact. 5 yards! It’s not hard to understand.

  29. Some of the people commenting are morons. Seattle ruined the game by playing physical old fashion football to win a Super Bowl in dominant fashion?
    The NFL already has 2nd rate QBs throwing for 5, 000 yards and all other passing records are falling like crazy. The minimal amount of contact on these flags is unreal. Defense has been getting eliminated from the game and alienated real fans

  30. Payton Manning chokes in the Super Bowl and now we all need to suffer for it.

    Last nights Pats/eagles game was unwatchable. If the league insists on getting Manning another championship by calling all these ticky-tack calls, Mark Cuban will be right and “futbol” will be the top American sport in 10 years.

  31. Flags will determine winners and lose fans because of excessive flags taking time if called upstairs and shear discuss having refs determining the results. The Seattle game was clearly an arguing point not to call such stupid penalties too. Rules favoring the offense last year caused the proliferation of offensive play and now this new rule (s) will work further exaggerate against the defenses.

  32. What’s even worse then the flags being thrown is the discussions the refs have after throwing them. If your gonna throw a flag fine, but have some conviction and stop second guessing it. I can’t count how many times refs sat around for 20-30 seconds last night discussing flags.

    Make it simple if your not sure why you threw the flag then don’t throw it at all. You get 5 seconds to announce the penalty and that’s it.

  33. When the games count, teams will follow the rules. Right now, it’s preseason, so there will be tons of flags.

    TO those that said that the games are almost unwatchable, I say….

    It’s a freakin pre-season game. They’re all pretty unwatchable.

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