PHILADELPHIA – Before Chip Kelly even calls his first play in the NFL, there's plenty of talk about slowing down his up-tempo offense.
Could defenses get help from referees?
"It isn't an issue with us whatsoever," Kelly said when asked if referees will allow his offense to play at a fast pace. "We understand the rules, and we'll play by them. It's a real simple concept to me. If the speed limit is 65 (mph), even though I want to go 85, if there's a cop out there, I'm not going 85. It's a real simple concept. We're not going to change them. I like them. We're excited to play with them."
Dean Blandino, the NFL vice president of officiating, told The Wall Street Journal that referees aren't going to rush the ball to the line of scrimmage unless it's the two-minute drill.
Kelly's teams at Oregon usually hurried to the line and tried to snap the ball quickly throughout the game. The Ducks ran more plays than normal and had plenty of success, averaging 44.7 points per game while going 46-7 in Kelly's four seasons.
"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," Blandino said.
Kelly is fine with that.
"We understand the rules of engagement," he said. "Dean Blandino and those guys in the league office, (we) met with them at the league meetings. They were here when we were in minicamp. I have no issue with them. We actually embraced the way they do it. Really similar to what we have in college. Tony Corrente, who's a longtime official in this league, was actually the head of the Pac-12 officials. We're used to the style that they run. I see absolutely no problem with it. We're excited to work with them."
Under Kelly, Oregon averaged 83 plays per game in 2012 and ranked in the top 10 in total plays twice in four years. Several teams have used variations of the hurry-up offense in the NFL, including New England, Buffalo, Denver and Indianapolis. Kelly has a unique philosophy, but it's not entirely new to the league.
"I've heard guys talk about how we have four or five different speeds and how we do things, but that's not how we do it," Kelly said. "There are certain plays we can call where we don't need the defense to be set and there are other plays where we need to get the right look to get in the right play. But a lot of that from a speed standpoint, we never say we want plays snapped in X amount of seconds or anything like that."
Preventing the defense from making substitutions has always been a main attraction for teams using the no-huddle. Sometimes, defensive players have faked injuries to get offenses to slow down. Referees spotting the ball quickly enough has never been an issue before.
"If they sub, we're going to match it," Kelly said. "They've got to get the ball spotted into play. It's really very similar (to college). I don't anticipate any problems. I know, when I talked to Dean and they explained it to us, I didn't have any issues from our standpoint."
Asked if more plays could lead to more injuries, Kelly downplayed it.
"I think sometimes people throw answers out there before they know it," he said. "I think a lot of things we do, we're more spread out than a lot of people. I would say you should do a study on injuries when all these people are crammed in a small box. I don't know. I have not done a study on it, though. I just think just tell us what the rules are.
"We always play by the rules."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi