Chip Kelly May Be An Android.

Who is this?

Not the questioner, the answerer. 

With a fourth down, is that all just based on odds and percentages or do you just go by instinct?

Just by the feel of the game.I’ve never dealt with the odds and the percentages and you get .21 if you go for it and the risk is 68 percent and your field goal kicker — that’s way too much math for me

The answerer, and the answer to my question is Chip Kelly. I’m quite surprised. I would’ve thought Kelly would be acutely aware of the emerging advanced stats movement in the NFL. 

Would you believe that there’s even a site called Advanced NFL Stats. AND, it even has nifty a 4th down calculator. There’s also Football Outsiders as well. 

Sites like those, and others, have mathematically and scientifically analyzed probably thousands of situations and through more complicated math than Kelly or I are capable of understanding have been able to assign point values to plays throughout a game. Most of the time the point values are referenced when there’s either a ‘risky’ or ‘conservative’ decision is made. 

A few questions later, in my opinion Kelly contradicts himself. 

What about two point conversions? How do you decide?

We have a chart: where you are in the game, and do you need it, not need it, are you down one, does going up five doesn’t help you or going up six does help you. So we work off of the two-point chart.

Hmmmmm. First off, I think that’s bullshit. Often I saw Oregon start games 8-0 or 16-0 on the first drives of the game. The chart says go for 2 after scoring in 97 seconds? No. It’s Chip Kelly doing what I expected him to do in the NFL, he was going to screw with the math and force other coaches out of their conservative comfort zones. Coaches are such creatures of habit, 8-0 might not mean much early in the game, but somehow, some way that could create coaching indecision, perhaps panic -then gaffes, later in the game, all because Kelly followed some chart. Right. 

Second, why have a chart for two point conversions but not fourth downs? 

Kelly may be telling a half truth. What he really meant may have been, ‘I go by feel because you know all those advanced statiscal sites football is beginning to use – oh, wait, you don’t – yea, where do you think they got all their math from. Right here.’

I think Kelly’s playing coy when he says the odds and percentages are too much math for him. You can’t be as inventive as he is without being able to crunch numbers that really aren’t that difficult. This isn’t measuring pounds of players at the line of scrimmage, divided by down, adding distance and deciphering what torque his offensive line needs to generate to for Lesean McCoy to obtain a first down that 27″ away. 

Or, maybe Kelly is just an android and totally unaware of it. It’s ‘feel’ because his positronic network calculates the information in a matter of milliseconds and delivers it as ‘instinct.’ 

Whatever. To me, it’s Belichick-ian how much smarter Kelly is than everyone else at this point. 

Can I wager something else about the Eagles? They’ll go for more 4th downs this year than any team in football, and the same with two points conversions. Jeff Lurie, Eagles owner, didn’t bring Chip Kelly in to punt at his own 39 on 4th and 2. 

Additionally, it may have been said already among those that follow the Eagles closely, but I’ll offer it here. 

Unless Michael Vick got violently hurt in training camp, Nick Foles was never going to be te starting quarterback for the Eagles to begin the season. Kelly was reticent from the time of his hiring about what his offense in the NFL would be, and how and who would run it. 

It may be as obvious as the sun rising in the east, but unless you watched Monday’s game in ultra slow motion, there is no way Nick Foles was going to be able execute what Vick did against the Redskins. None. So, I’m sorry Mr. Foles, you really never had a shot, and now we can conclusive say that. 

One last thought. If you think the read option is nothing more than a fad. You’re wrong. Jim Haslett, Washington’s DC, said he studied Oregon’s offense religously all offseason. He had 8 months to prepare for one game. And he and the veteran of his defense, the wily London Fletcher, were completely baffled. 

I can look at this two ways. The read option will be less effective when college DCs find a way to slow it down, and those principles will then be adopted by NFL DCs. Or, when defensive players from college make it to the NFL who’ve played against the scheme their whole lives. Then, NFL defenses won’t be so confused by this ‘trend’ in the league.

Until then, good luck. 

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