Chip Kelly makes it fun again

Chip Kelly

Eagles 33-Redskins 27. That was the final score of former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s first game in the NFL last night, and man was it fun. I loved the NFL as a kid but over the last 5 years or so I’ve become rather bored with the league. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch, but I prefer the college game to the NFL these days. The NFL has become way to predictable. How many times do you see a team punt on fourth and one from the other teams 37 yard line, only to have the punt go into the endzone and have it come out to the 20 yard line for a touchback? It happens all the time and it only saves yourself 17 yards. How about the classic fourth and one, try to draw the defense offsides to no avail, call time out and then try a half back dive up the middle and have him get stuffed for a loss of one. It’s maddening. The creativity in the NFL just isn’t there.

I like the wide open game of college football. I like the no huddle. I like the offense putting as much stress as possible on the defense. That’s why I loved what I saw from Chip Kelly and the Eagles last night. When Kelly took over in Philly, all you heard was “that system works in college but it can’t in the NFL”, “it’s a gimmick offense”, “he has to kick field goals, you can’t go for it on fourth down”. Well, Chip Kelly must not have got the memo because not only did he take his his high octane Oregon offense to Philly, his Oregon offense left Washington gasping for air and for answers after an opening week beat down. Yeah, the score says it was a six point game but anyone who watched it, saw how dominate the Eagles really were.

The first half was classic Chip Kelly. The Eagles marched down the field on their opening drive and were faced with a fourth and one on the Redskins 21 yard line. Every other team in the NFL kicks the field goal in that situation, not Chip Kelly. The Eagles went for it, and picked it up with ease. When the Redskins picked up the backwards pass and ran it in for a touchdown, Chip Kelly didn’t panic. Instead, the Eagles ran up 33 straight points by spreading the ball around the field, opening holes for their running backs and attacking non stop.  The NFL, for the first time in a long time was fascinating to watch. It was something the NFL had never seen before.

It was only one game but it was a game that I won’t soon forget. Kelly goes against conventional NFL wisdom. It’s ok to go for it on fourth down. The NFL loves field goals, Kelly hates them. Last time I checked, touchdowns are worth six and field goals worth three. This might come as a shock to old NFL media guys or the NFL purest but what you saw last night was just the start. Wait til Chip Kelly goes for the two point conversion after an opening drive score, 8-0 will make your head spin. Justsayin.

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The time has come…LA wants out

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Well, the worst kept secret in Portland finally came out today, LaMarcus Aldridge would like to be traded. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald “broke” the story but everyone close to the team has known this for weeks. In fact, a local reporter learned that LaMarcus Aldridge asked for a trade during the teams exit interviews but was asked not to make it public by general manager Neil Olshey.

The team LaMarcus Aldridge wants to play for is Chicago and the Bulls are reportedly offering Luol Deng in  exchange for the two time all star but the Blazers want center Joakim Noah instead. I’m a big fan of LaMarcus Aldridge and would hate to see him leave Rip City but I can’t blame him for wanting out. Aldridge is 27 years old, in the prime of his career and Portland doesn’t look like a team that can win big in the near future. Aldridge has been in the league seven years now and still hasn’t been out of the first round of the playoffs. I don’t care how much money he has, that has to get old.

Where do the Blazers and Aldridge go from here? Hard to say. Aldridge is under contract for two more seasons so the Blazers don’t have to go out and trade him right away. Portland also doesn’t want this to turn into a situation where Aldridge is fielding questions every night on his future with the franchise, like we have seen with other stars around the league. In a perfect world, Olshey makes a move to show Aldridge he’s serious about building a winner in Portland and Aldridge has a change of heart. If Olshey swings and misses like he did last off season, then it’s time to trade Aldridge and thank him for his services. Justsayin.

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Blazers need to think big…as in all star.

Luol Deng

We are a few days away from the NBA draft and everyone in Rip City wants to know if Neil Olshey can pull off a trade to land a center or sign one in free agency. It makes sense, the Blazers are in desperate need of a center and want to keep LaMarcus Aldridge happy, but when you hear the names Marcin Gortat, DeAndre Jordan or Nikola Pekovic that doesn’t exactly scream franchise altering player. Don’t get me wrong, all three are nice players but a starting line up of Damian Lillard, Wesley Mathews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and any one of those three centers won’t make the Blazers serious players in the western conference.

The Blazers need to think big and I’m not talking center. They need to acquire an all star, a guy that can play with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard for years to come. The guy the Blazers should pursue is small forward Luol Deng. The Bulls shopped Deng at the draft last year and reports today say Chicago has had talks with Washington about Deng for the #3 pick but the Wizards are reportedly not interested. This is where the Blazers should step in. If I’m Neil Olshey I get on the phone and try to work a deal. The Blazers should offer Mathews, the #10 pick and filler for Luol Deng.

Why I like this deal for both teams.

Portland: This shows LaMarcus Aldridge that you are serious about building a contender in Portland. This would instantly give the Blazers two all stars on the floor every night and with the way Lillard played last year, it could and should be three in the near future. With Deng playing the small forward position, you move Nicolas Batum over to the shooting guard spot. Depending on who the Blazers throw in as “filler” they could still be sitting with 7-10 million left to try and sign a free agent center or trade their cap space to land a center. You give me a line up of Lillard, Batum, Deng, Aldridge and a guy like Gortat, Pekovic or Jordan and now you have something to work with. Yes, you still need a bench but how fun would that starting five be to watch?

Chicago: It’s no secret the Bulls want to free up some money and add a young pieces at the same time. Chicago would love to hand the starting small forward position to Jimmy Butler who was huge for them in the playoffs. They can add a young player with the 10th pick and Wesley Mathews is a solid two guard that could go in and give them depth or possibly start because the only shooting guard they currently have on the roster is Kirk Hinrich.

I think it makes sense for both teams. Will it happen? I doubt it but isn’t that what this time of year is all about?

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Thomas Tyner is heading….

Last night Aloha High School running back Thomas Tyner decommitted from Oregon and said that he has re-opened his recruitment, this of course sent college football fans into a frenzy. Duck fans were asking why he would decommit? Oregon State fans were asking if he could end up in Corvallis? While, California coach Jeff Tedford followed Tyner on twitter shortly after his announcement. If you haven’t heard, Tyner is pretty good at football. How good is he? Well, I’ve seen him play once in person and the kid ran for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns against Lakeridge. He looked like the real life Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson. Once he hit the second level of the defense, he was gone. The kid has special talent and now it’s a waiting game to see where he ends up playing football on the next level.  You’re going to read/hear a million things when it comes to Tyner and his decision to decommitt and where he might end up playing over the next few months, but it’s not like this is anything new. High School kids commit to a school and have a change of heart all the time. We are talking about 17-18 year old kids here. Of course Tyner might have second thoughts on Oregon. He hasn’t taken an official visit to Oregon or any other school yet. If I was Thomas Tyner, I would do the same thing. National letter of intent day isn’t until February and Tyner should take as much time as he needs to decide where he wants to spend the next 3-5 years attending school and playing ball.

I’ve seen the reports of why Tyner might be looking elsewhere just like you today. Some people say he wants to play in warm weather, some say he wants to play in a pro style offense and one report even  said a school might offer him extra benefits that he can’t refuse. My question is, why can’t it be the simple fact that he just doesn’t know if Oregon is the best fit yet? Let’s face it, the kid knows everything he needs to know about U of O. He knows the coaches, he’s been to Autzen stadium, he knows some of the players, maybe he just wants to take a couple visits to other schools just to make sure he isn’t missing anything before making a final decision on playing at Oregon.

A report that surfaced this afternoon says that if Tyner was to make a visit to UCLA that Chip Kelly and Oregon would pull his scholarship offer. I really hope that’s not the case. Not only does that look bad on Oregon’s part but it would go against what Chip Kelly always says and talks about. When a player gets in trouble with the law, Chip Kelly says “he wants to gather as much information as possible before making a decision”. He said the same thing when it came talking to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last off season. He went and met with Tampa Bay about their coaching position, gathered as much information as possible and decided Oregon was the best place for him. Why wouldn’t Chip Kelly and Oregon give Tyner the same opportunity? Tyner hasn’t said that he isn’t going to Oregon. He’s essentially doing exactly what Chip Kelly did not that long ago. He wants to go meet with other schools, hear what they have to say and then make a decision at that time. Oregon didn’t close the door on a Chip Kelly return when he met with Tampa Bay, and I think it would be a shame if  Tyner’s scholarship offer was pulled just because he wanted to meet with other schools. When it’s all said and done, I think Tyner will be wearing the green, yellow, black, silver and neon of Oregon. I don’t have “sources” telling me that, it’s just my gut feeling. Just sayin.

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Stay or Transfer?

Oregon quarterback Bryan Bennett is meeting with coach Chip Kelly today to discuss his future with the football program according to multiple reports.  As you know, Marcus Mariota was named the starting quarterback on Friday and Bennett now has to decide whether or not he wants to remain with the program or transfer to a school that he knows he can start and play at. It’s a tough call. If Bennett transfers to another D1 school now, he can sit out this season and have two years of eligibility left at his new school. If Bennett decides to stick it out this season and transfer next year, he will only have one year of eligibility remaining. When you transfer from one D1 program to another D1 program you lose a year of eligibility and he’s already used his redshirt year. Another option for Bennett is that he could remain at Oregon this season and if things don’t work out the way he likes, he transfer down a level without losing a year of eligibility. This option would also give him two years to start at another program. Will he stay or will he go? Not sure. Either way, I wish the kid the best. Just sayin.

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