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What Chip Kelly Doesnt Mean for Eagles Quarterback Situation

Jan 16, 2013, 2:13 PM EDT

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We’ll be getting to know/dissecting the Chip Kelly hiring
for days, weeks, months, and years, but what immediately jumps out at everybody
is this spread offense he ran at Oregon. More specifically, if the new head
coach of the Philadelphia Eagles plans on implementing that system here, who
will be his field general?

It’s highly debatable whether that exact scheme is coming to
Philly, but let’s say the Eagles’ offense will be heavily reliant on the spread
like many seem to expect. Let’s look at a few of the shall we say myths about
how different players might or might not fit into the quarterback situation.

It doesn’t mean
Michael Vick is coming back

There are two major impediments to Vick returning for another
season in midnight green. Number one, Vick is owed a base salary of $16.5
million in 2013, which is an outrageous sum for an erratic quarterback that can’t
stay healthy. Translation: the Eagles don’t want to pay that. The problem is
Vick doesn’t want to renegotiate, either. Now it’s possible he realizes his
last best shot is under Chip and swallows his pride on financials, but there is
no indication that might be the case so far.

And that might not even be the biggest problem. When people
talk about Kelly’s philosophies, one of the first things that always comes up
is the man hates turnovers. Well, he’s an offensive-minded football coach, so
of course he would, but I mean really
hates them. At no point in Vick’s 10-year NFL career has he discovered a magic
elixir for his penchant for giveaways, and at age 33, I doubt he suddenly would
now.

One more thing: if Vick is presumed to be a fit for Kelly’s
offense because he’s mobile, ask yourself if he really makes sense in a system
that exposes him to even more hits.

It doesn’t mean the
Eagles will draft Geno Smith

So then the Eagles need a quarterback to operate Kelly’s
read-option offense, they have the fourth-overall pick in April’s draft, and
Geno Smith is the highest-rated quarterback according to many rankings. Sounds
like a match made in heaven, right?

Apparently a lot of folks don’t realize that Smith is a
pocket passer, and by that I mean he is not fast. I assume he has a reputation
for being an athletic quarterback because he’s black, but that’s simply not the
case. Smith might be closer to Nick Foles in terms of pure speed than he is
Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson, or Colin Kapernick. Plus, there is a chance he won’t even be available by the time the Birds are on the clock.

That doesn’t mean the Eagles don’t like Smith, either, but
it wouldn’t have anything to do with his mobility – or lack thereof in this
case. However, it’s worth noting that many experts don’t think there is a QB
worthy of a high first-round pick.

It doesn’t mean Nick
Foles is out of the picture

Did you know that the New England Patriots are running
aspects of the spread offense with Tom Brady? The notion that mobility under
center is a must in this scheme is entirely false. True, the zone-read running
play that Oregon’s offense is based off of requires the quarterback to become a
ball carrier from time to time, but that’s what they do at Oregon. There are
other elements to the system that translate at the NFL level, and will suit a
pocket passer such as Foles just fine.

In fact, it may surprise you to learn Chip really likes
Foles having seen a lot of him in the Pac-12. Here’s what he had to say about
the Eagles’ second-year quarterback in 2011:

“I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,”
Oregon coach Chip Kelly said after his team’s 56-31 victory Saturday night.

“I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a
hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the
country.”

Foles is not out of the picture yet, and I would still be
surprised if he is not the starting quarterback in 2013. After you consider all
the angles, who else is there?