With a fresh new offense in tow, the sense of intrigue surrounding the offensive philosophy implemented by Chip Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is among the biggest storylines of the 2013 season. Consider that Kelly’s teams at Oregon ran the ball 64.1 percent of the time during his four seasons as head coach. That’s an astoundingly high number, admittedly inflated by a different style of play in college and the not-so-occasional Ducks blowout.
But over that same four-year time frame, the average NFL team has run the ball about 44.6 percent of the time. That number has also decreased each of the last four seasons, as NFL teams ran the ball 43.9 percent of the time in 2012. The Eagles, meanwhile, have consistently passed more than the league average and are coming off a season in which they ran the ball only 40 percent of the time. That number is certainly set to increase under Kelly, but the mystery is just how much the Eagles will lean on a talented backfield that includes LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. That the Eagles have such a dynamic duo, in addition to a group of talented backups, should allow Kelly to run whenever he sees fit. McCoy, meanwhile, has proven that he can handle a heavy workload, as evidence by his 321 offensive touches in 2011 (the fourth-highest total in the league that season).
McCoy has averaged 17.5 carries per game in the last two seasons, which projects to 280 carries over a full 16-game season. Kelly will be forced to pass more since this is the NFL and the blowouts will be less frequent. We're currently projecting the Eagles to run 45.3% of the time, which is a bit more than the NFL average. The team's ability to rack up rushing attempts will depend on how well Kelly's offense translates to the NFL. McCoy is a solid RB1, though we are a bit concerned that Kelly's offense could flop, dragging all the Eagles down with it.