The media has written extensively about whether or not Chip Kelly can fully execute his offense in the pros with this Philadelphia Eagles team. He is in the process of working out the details with depth charts, quarterback competition and injuries that are creeping up during camp.
Today an additional story line emerged from a Wall Street Journal article quoting Dean Blandino, the league’s VP of Officiating, as saying that the teams need to “understand that they don’t control the tempo; our officials do. We’re going through our normal ball mechanics. We aren’t going to rush (unless) it’s in the two-minute drill.” For a great response posted today by a fellow Eagles’ writer, see this article.
Blandino’s statement highlights a problem made obvious from last season. The refs did an abysmal job. I understand these guys are only human, but too many games were decided on blown calls. It is maddening to see games get taken over by officials with some need to see themselves on television or hear their voices over the loud speakers in the stadium. Blandino is right, they do control the pace and they can destroy the game at any moment.
The last thing Kelly needs is another challenge. The New England Patriots executed a fast-paced offense last season and had no issues. There is no reason for an official to step in and intentionally slow the pace of a game. We’ve already had the hitting taken away from defensive secondaries. Quarterbacks, besides Michael Vick, are untouchable and can draw flags for the smallest of contact by opposing players. Instant replay has served to show just how poor some of these calls can get.
If any evidence emerges in September that officials are slowing down Kelly on purpose, it must be addressed by the league and the officiating office. For once, let’s see a game without officials impacting the end result (ask Jim Harbaugh his opinion on the subject).
Matt Shaner is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDShanersports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.