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And Another Thing


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Chip Kelly's offense!

Look, it's not just this guy. Although whenever you can single out Reilly for going all ridiculous on us, it's never a bad thing.

No, Reilly's latest parachute drop onto Exclamation Point Island is merely the outside edge of what's been blowing up the sports chattering class all week -- i.e., Chip Kelly's Astounding Point-A-Palooza And All-Around Cure For What Ails You.

Exclamation points have been flying around like javelins since Kelly's go-go-go offense dropped 33 points on Washington last Sunday, and if it hasn't yet reached the height of absurdity, it's at least reached the final base camp. A little perspective seems in order.

First of all, yes, Kelly's offense hit the NFL like a neutron bomb Sunday. All that spreadin' 'em out. All that up-tempo play-calling. All that gasping for air by the Washington defense, which, by design, was never given a chance to draw a breath that wasn't labored.

But ... listen. Part of the reason the Washington defense was gassed was because Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense couldn't stay on the field long enough to give the defense a proper blow. This will not happen every week. In fact, it's highly likely, given the speed with which Kelly wants to run plays, score and get off the field, that it's going to be his defense that's going to wind up getting worn down most weeks.

So this isn't regime change, particularly. It's not the new look of the NFL forever and ever. It will work right now because it's not something teams are accustomed to. But these are the best minds in the game we're dealing with here. They'll figure out how to defense Kelly's Magical Mystery Tour.

The Bears did that some 50 years ago, when a man named Red Hickey installed the shotgun in San Francisco and took the league by storm. Then George Halas planted his middle linebacker, Bill George, right on top of the 49ers' center, and before the guy could raise his head and block him, George was wrapped around his QB like a diamond necklace. And that was that for the shotgun.

There have been other examples. Joe Namath defusing the fearsome Colts pass rush simply by backing away as he threw; the Bears 46 defense throttling Bill Walsh's vaunted West Coast offense simply by blitzing every player on the field and disrupting Joe Montana's timing; the "umbrella" defense that Giants coach Steve Owen used to stymie Paul Brown's sophisticated passing game in Cleveland.

I don't know what X and what O someone will throw together to rein in Kelly's offense. But I know it'll happen eventually. And then we'll no longer run the risk of waking up to headlines like these:

Chip Kelly's Offense: Can It Save Syria?

Kelly's Offense 'Cured' Shingles, Man Says

AlQaeda Surrenders; Says Kelly's Offense 'Just Wore Us Out'

Or something like that.

Ben Smith's blog.