Chip takes the Curious ‘Option’ of Taking on Dean Blandino
PHILADELPHIA - The judge, NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino, has spoken.
Terrell Suggs' borderline shot at Sam Bradford's surgically-repaired left knee on Saturday was legal under current NFL rules.
If the quarterback has an option, he’s considered a runner until he either clearly doesn’t have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer,” Blandino said on NFL Network. “So (the play is) not a foul by rule.
“It’s something that we’ll make sure that we cover with our game officials because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn’t know if the quarterback is going to keep it, he doesn’t know if he’s going to take off and run or drop back and so we treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly re-establishes as a passer or until he clearly doesn’t have the football.”
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, however, sharply disagreed Monday and was either playing semantics as a goof or being disingenuous to his fan base, perhaps to take a little heat off himself for putting such a fragile QB in Suggs' sights.
“I thought the interpretation on the field was correct,” Kelly said, referring to the penalty flag referee Jerome Boger threw on the play. “I thought it was a penalty and I thought Jerome Boger called it right.”
Kelly's main quarrel had to do with people describing the play as a read-option.
“It was just a handoff,’’ Kelly claimed. “Not every shotgun run is a zone-read play. We didn’t run any zone reads. We don’t run as much zone-read as everybody thinks we do. I mean, we’re blocking the backside. But he’s not reading anything. He’s just handing the ball off.
“We don’t run (the read-option) more than Seattle. We don’t run it more than San Francisco. We don’t run it as much as you guys think we run it. The only people we’ve run zone-read with this offseason has been Timmy (Tebow)."
Kelly seems caught up in the intent of his play call but the issue isn't whether a run was called. The defender, nor Blandino for that matter, have any idea what's in the coach's head. It's the look of the play that matters in the eyes of the rule book and plenty of people spied that play and believe Bradford was in a zone-read posture.
"(Blandino) said it was a read-option play. It wasn’t a read-option play," Kelly continued." I know our quarterbacks can be hit on a read-option play, but not every run we have is a read-option run. It's gonna be troubling for the league if every QB in the shotgun can get hit."
Despite Kelly's denial, members of his own locker room described the play as zone-read and Bradford himself, while backing Kelly's take, did admit Monday that the quarterbacks discussed post-snap body language in a meeting.
You can make a strong argument that Suggs broke an unwritten rule among his peers in the game because every one on the planet knows Sam is not running the football and there is no reason to threaten a man's career by taking out his knees.
But, that brings us to the real problem from an Eagles' perspective, the fact that Kelly stubbornly keeps that look as part of his offense with a signal caller who is no running threat.
“We could put him in a glass case," Kelly said of Bradford. “I mean, he has to go out and play football. We didn’t call any designed runs for Sam."
Great coaches accentuate what their talent does well and mask as many deficiencies as possible.
To that point Kelly's scheme hasn't changed no matter who the quarterback has been. The number of runs versus passes differs when you have the speedy Michael Vick as opposed to the lead-footed Nick Foles or the ACL-ravaged Bradford but that's defined by the term "read-option." The signal caller has an option and those who can't run don't.
Forget the nomenclature, though, and just understand this. When Kelly puts Bradford on an island with an unblocked defender, it's dangerous to both his player and his team.
“We know the rules," the coach said despite the fact that the NFL's VP of officiating essentially says he doesn't. “If our quarterback hands the ball off and isn’t going anywhere, you shouldn’t be able to hit him. That’s the way the rule has been explained to us.
“If they want to get into that, they can get into that. But then every other quarterback in the league, when they get back in the shotgun, can be hit when they hand the ball off. If that’s what they want to do, then we’ll all have to adjust. Because everybody in the league has runs out of the shotgun."
It's time to start adjusting Chip.
(Listen to John McMullen discuss Monday's day at Eagles Camp)
*All three of the Eagles top inside linebackers -- DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks -- were able to practice Monday after missing the preseason encounter against the Ravens. Alonso said he hoped to play Saturday in Green Bay.
*Backup nose tackle Beau Allen and wide receiver Rasheed Bailey were unable to practice in a non-padded exercise. Veteran WR Miles Austin was back, however.
*The Eagles bolstered the safety position after the release of Earl Wolff by signing Brandan Bishop on Monday. Bishop has spent time on the Vikings' and Falcons' practice squads since going undrafted in 2013 out of North Carolina State.
*Later tn the day Philadelphia was awarded 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle Jeremy Towns off waivers from Buffalo. Towns, originally an undrafted free agent out of Samford spent time on the Bills practice squad last season, and takes the spot of DT Wade Keliipiki, who was waived/injured due to a foot problem.