San Francisco 49ers defensive players were oddly cool about playing for Chip Kelly this offseason despite the belief that his warp speed offensive system is unfairly taxing to the defense.
Turns out, Kelly isn't going warp speed at all.
"I think that's what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball," Kelly said, via CSN Bay Area.
He added: "I don't think we're playing fast right now. So if someone said, 'How are you playing offensively?' I don't think we're playing fast offensively. I think we're just not going back (to huddle). We're saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don't have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it."
The bizarre thing about Kelly's statement is that the numbers don't seem to match up with the eye test. This season, the 49ers are sixth in total plays from scrimmage and are running 64.28 snaps per game. At the height of Kelly Mania during his first season in Philadelphia, the Eagles only averaged 65.875 snaps per game. Last year, the Eagles ran 1,102 snaps, or 68.75 per game.
Various circumstances can contribute to snap count, but if the 49ers' offense was slightly less anemic (they are 23rd in third down conversions for a 36 percent success rate) they might be playing at or above the so-called "warp speed" of the more successful Eagles teams. And yet, they look so much slower on tape.
That is because the team doesn't huddle in order to prevent offensive linemen from running back and forth to the ball before every play.
Maybe what Kelly is trying to show us is that speed doesn't really have a profound impact on his offense, or that the system can succeed without it -- he likes to correct other common misconceptions about his need for a mobile quarterback, for example. Or, Kelly was an odd fit with the 49ers in the first place, matching this system with personnel left over from a Jim Harbaugh team that took nearly 10 seconds longer to snap the ball than Kelly's teams at Oregon.
If the latter is true, will they give him enough time to fix it?