'IT'S A mathematical game," Chip Kelly was saying. He was talking about the extra man a defense can put in the box near the line of scrimmage, and the quarterback's ability to read that extra man and control him. But the Eagles' new coach was talking about more than that.
You ask him about playing fast, one of his trademarks at Oregon. A lot is involved - a conditioning element for the players, a drastic shortening in what has been the typical verbiage involved in calling plays, and more. NFL teams have begun to trend toward more plays per game, but they aren't to where the fastest college teams are.
There are complications in the comparison, of course - specifically, the difference in timing rules between college and pro games. Pro games are faster, and it is harder to jam in more plays. With that:
The average NFL team ran 64 plays per game in 2012. The Eagles, the sixth-fastest team in the league, averaged 67 plays. The Patriots - schooled by Kelly and, by far, the fastest-paced team in the NFL - averaged 74 plays per game.
Oregon last year? Try 81 plays per game.
But how far can Kelly push it with the Eagles? The question is unanswered and unanswerable right now. When you ask him whether the NFL has only scratched the surface of playing a fast-paced game, he is careful not to make pronouncements about something he has not investigated.