At this point in the year, the Eagles’ offense is firmly entrenched as one of the better units in the NFL by almost any measure. They’re fourth in yards per game, ninth in points. They have the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, the wide receiver with the most catches over 20 yards in DeSean Jackson, and the highest rated passer in Nick Foles.
There are still some people out there though that won’t give Chip Kelly’s system its due. Phil Simms notoriously quipped Philly’s offense was one of the worst units in the league about a month ago. Throw Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians on board as one of the dinosaurs who still think the read-option is a gimmick.
Of course, the read-option isn’t Kelly’s offense, but it’s certainly a big part of what they do. You can see the concept at work on most of the Birds’ running plays and play-actions. They use it, and it works—in the NFL. Apparently Arians doesn’t quite feel that way though, because he dropped the C-word in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Per the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski:
“I still think it’s a great offense. It’s a great college offense when you put a great athlete back there,” Arians said. “But when you’re facing great athletes, with the speed that’s in the NFL who are chasing these guys, unless you’re superhuman, you’re going to get hurt sooner or later—not hurt, but beat up and bruised up, and you don’t want your quarterback feeling bruised up when he’s trying to throw and be accurate.”
Maybe this is cause to bring back to the old 700 Level feature Trash Talk Thursdays. I don’t think we ever featured head coaches though.
Look, not everybody is going to or should embrace the read-option. Arians’ philosophies have resulted in a long career as an NFL assistant, offensive coordinator, and finally now a head coach. That stuff still works too. But at this point, isn’t it becoming a little silly to insist the read-option is only a gimmick?
It’s safe to say the Eagles’ offensive linemen didn’t agree with Arians’ assertion, either. Sheil Kapadia got a few of their takes on Arians’ comments yesterday for the great Birds 24/7 blog.
“I think it’s a great any-level offense, personally,” said center Jason Kelce. “I think anybody who doesn’t think it can be successful at this level is obviously mistaken.”
“That was my first thought not knowing anything about it,” [Evan] Mathis said. “But it’s all in the execution, and it really depends on how you’re doing it. If the quarterback pulls the ball and he’s running, and someone’s about to tackle him, he’s allowed to slide. That’s usually what the guys are taught to do. If he’s trying to break tackles and barrel over people, he’s gonna get hurt. But I think without doing it that much or knowing much about it, that would be a common thought.
The numbers speak for themselves, including the Eagles’ record. If they’re 6-5 using a “college offense,” what does that say about the NFL?
>> Bruce Arians: Read option ‘a great college offense’ [Inq]
>> Kelce Takes Issue With Arians’ Comments [Philly Mag]