Chip Kelly arrived in the NFL with a reputation. He was billed as a football genius who changed the game with an innovative approach and the utilization of science that appeared to turn convention upside down.
This would seem to be a nice reputation to have, but Kelly has tried to distance himself from it. He noted the chasm between perception and reality at Wednesday's NFC coaches breakfast during the NFL's annual league meetings.
"I think if you ask anybody what the reality is and what the perception is, it's always two different things," Kelly said. "I think the big thing for me is I just don't get caught up in the perception. I just do my job."
Kelly dismissed tendencies that would seem to be unconventional, including a proclivity to go for fourth-down opportunities and two-point conversions. He pointed out that he was not atop the NCAA in fourth-down conversions. (He was, however, near the top. Of 124 Division I-A teams, Kelly's Oregon squads were 11th in attempting fourth-down conversions last season. They were fourth in 2011 and second in 2010.)
Kelly said the decision often comes down to the kicking game. He used the example of a fourth down when the ball is on the 37-yard line and a 52-yard field goal is too long for the kicker. If he chooses to punt the ball and it results in a touchback, there is only a 17-yard net gain. Instead, he said he shows confidence in his defense in that scenario, understanding that the reward is a first down and the risk is turning the ball over to a team that is still 63 yards away from the end zone.
"Those weren't statistical decisions," he said.
When asked specifically about going for a two-point conversion after an opening touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl, he pointed out that Kansas State did not have enough players on the field, and Oregon simply maximized the opportunity.
"All those decisions are based upon the individual" situation, Kelly said. "What's gone on exactly in that game, not an overarching 'Hey, we're going to do this.' "
Eagles coach Chip Kelly: I'm no genius
Philly.com | Mar 21