What Will Chip Kelly Do At Quarterback?

Since the middle of last season, the process for figuring out the Eagles’ quarterback situation seemed clear: The new coach would make the call.

Well, now there’s a new coach in place in Chip Kelly. He will be introduced Thursday as the man to lead the Eagles into the post-Andy Reid era.

Kelly’s first order of business will be getting his staff in place. But after that, attention will quickly shift to the quarterback position. The Eagles have decisions to make – beginning with the players currently on their roster.

At the end of last season, it looked like Michael Vick had played his final game as an Eagle in the team’s Week 17 loss to the Giants. There were some reports that Vick was anxiously awaiting to see where Kelly landed this offseason, but Tim asked him about the reports, and the veteran QB seemed to have no idea who Chip Kelly was.

“Who’s that, the Notre Dame coach?” he asked.

Vick turns 33 this offseason. His body took a pounding in 2012 – even before then, really. He’s not the same runner he was earlier in his career, although Vick can still flash his athleticism at times. If Kelly plans on running a lot of read-option, expecting Vick’s body to stay in one piece would seem like quite a leap of faith.

“I look for a quarterback who can run and not a running back who can throw,” Kelly once said, per Chris Brown of Grantland. “I want a quarterback who can beat you with his arm. We are not a Tim Tebow type of quarterback team. I am not going to run my quarterback 20 times on power runs.”

At the end of the year, Vick might have been ready to move on. But the guess is he’s got to be curious about what Kelly and the Eagles now have planned. Remember, the team has to make a decision on Vick by Feb. 6. If he’s still on the roster by that date, they owe him $3 million.

The other quarterback on the roster whose role remains up in the air is Nick Foles. At the end of the season, Foles was asked about potentially playing for Kelly.

“I think you know the answer — I have never ran the zone read; I’m more of a dropback [QB], but I’ve been under center, I’ve been in the gun,” Foles said. “If I can adapt I want to, but I’m not a zone read quarterback. Some people are gifted with different things, that’s just not one of my skill sets. I mean I can work on my speed in the offseason and get better at that, but I’ve always been a dropback in the pocket, been able to make plays on my feet, throwing the ball or running for a first down.”

It would be a mistake to think that Kelly is just going to take his college offense and run the exact same version of it in the NFL. One key in determining his success will be how he adapts and tweaks his methods to take advantage of defenses at this level. From an overall perspective, we know Kelly likes Foles. He coached against the quarterback three times in college.

“I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Kelly said after the 2011 meeting between the two teams, per Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen. “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’ Arizona teams went 0-3 against the Ducks from 2009-2011. But the quarterback performed quite well in those games, averaging 386.7 yards passing and tossing 10 touchdowns, compared to two interceptions.

Still, some, like Ron Jaworski, think Vick would be a better fit.

“Nick Foles will not run a Chip Kelly offense if he decided to come here, rest assured of that,” Jaws said on 97.5 The Fanatic back in December. “If a coach like Chip Kelly…that runs this up-tempo, spread, speed-style option, these guys come here, there might be a future for Michael Vick. I know he’s [32], I know he’s been beat up, but I’ll tell you, some of the things I’m seeing, Michael Vick can do the same things these guys are doing in the spread option.”

And finally, there is a door No. 3 in this scenario. Perhaps a trade for someone like Alex Smith. Or a first- or second-round pick spent on a quarterback. Many assume West Virginia’s Geno Smith could catch the Eagles’ eye, but remember, he did not show much as a runner in college. Smith had just 117 rushing yards in the last two seasons combined and averaged 1.4 yards per carry in college. That’s not to say he can’t run effectively, but he did not use his legs a lot in college.

One major decision has been made. Kelly will be the new coach. But life in the NFL usually means there’s another decision right around the corner. And for the Eagles, that means the focus will soon shift to quarterback.

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  • Dan Graziano

    Contrary to our best efforts and boldest assertions, none of us can see
    into the future. Only his eventual win-loss record will decide whether
    Chip Kelly is a good hire for the Philadelphia Eagles.
    Ultimately, as his predecessor can tell him, the legacy of this move
    will depend on whether Kelly can win the Super Bowl. Kelly inherits a
    wide range of questions, from the identity of his quarterback and his
    defensive coordinator, to his own ability to lead and innovate at the
    professional level as effectively as he did in college. You’re going to
    hear and see and read a lot of speculation in the coming days on whether
    Kelly is up to this task and how successful he will be, but it’s
    important to remember that no one actually knows.

    But within the confines of the current moment, Kelly is a great hire
    for the Eagles. Putting aside all we cannot possibly know about how
    he’ll actually do and focusing on right now, it’s hard to imagine how
    they could have done any better. The hiring of Kelly is a triumph of
    persistence by the organization, and news about which its increasingly
    disgruntled fan base has good reason to be excited.

    Kelly was the Eagles’ top choice all along, and they put a serious
    push on him two weekends ago when they went out to Arizona to interview
    him in the wake of Oregon’s victory in the Fiesta Bowl. The next day, he
    told them he was staying put at Oregon, and they moved on to a slate of
    somewhat uninspiring candidates. Sure, you could get yourself fired up
    about the idea of Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as an
    up-and-comer who would make them take defense seriously. But that was
    about it, and Eagles fans were braced for the possibility that the team
    would announce someone like Lovie Smith or Ken Whisenhunt — former NFL
    head coaches who were solid but not spectacular in their previous stops.
    This would not have felt bold or visionary. It would have felt safe,
    and unsatisfying. And that is not what the Eagles wanted to do. So
    rather than settle, they went back and did what it took to get their
    guy.

    • The Guru

      Jon Gruden would have been a better hire. It’s not hard to imagine even a little.

  • The Guru

    Obviously, I think this was an epic mistake hire. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see how his offense translates into the NFL. The only thing that could make me hate this hire more is the decision to bring back Michael Vick. I understand if Foles isn’t a fit, but there is no good reason to ever see Michael Vick in a Birds uniform again. Draft a Russell Wilson or Kaepernick and start over.

    • aub32

      I’m sure many teams wish they could draft a Wilson or Kap. It’s not that easy. Since Foles is probably not a good fit, I hope we do try and pick up a QB in the second or early third round. I wish I knew who would be a good fit and come in and start. However, I do think Vick should still be on the team. Neither Wilson nor Kap were just handed the keys. Wilson competed all offseason. Kap played in a couple games really well and didn’t secure the job for four games. Vick is still mobile and has a big time NFL arm. Chip may be able to get the most of him, or he could make for a back up that still fits the system.

      • The Guru

        What do you think Vick, at this stage of his career, could possibly add to this team?

        • brian

          A running threat who cares about age he still runs 4.3

          • The Guru

            4.3s don’t get caught by DEs. And he misses 6 games a year due to injury. Not to mention he has no idea how to read defenses and turns the ball over 2-3 times a game.

          • atlvickfan

            He turned it over 1.5 times per game this year and that was the worst year of his career. If you have to lie to make your point, it’s probably not a good point.

          • The Guru

            My apologies…I saw 11 fumbles added with the 10 INTs. He only lost 5 of those fumbles. Still putting the ball on the ground/turnovers 21 times in 9.5 games is a disgrace.

          • morgan c

            FACT

      • MAC

        That is a joke. Vick has proven in 10 years that he can’t stay healthy for a season and turns ball over to much. Say anything you want about last year but I am talking Vick’s entire career he has had these same 2 problems. He is 33 years old and slowing down. To even consider him to be our starter is out of the question. The guy has had 10 years and it’s the same results no matter what coach, line, etc he has had. Let’s be honest here and understand a guy that has 2 total playoff wins in 10 years is not good enough. He is 33 years old and people do not break the bad habits he has at this point in his career if he has not broken them before now. He didn’t even improve on them in last 3 years. He has regressed. Vick is a warrior and I like him as a person, but if that is Kelly’s plan or becomes Kelly’s guy even for a year it is wasted time. He probably would be injured by week 6 running this offense. We have seen Vick for last 10 years and it only resulted in 1 playoff run. Time to realize that he is who he is, No thank you.

        • PhEaglesPhan

          You talk like he has been playing for 10 consecutive years back to back. You should be factoring in his jail time and his benched time in ’09. You have no idea what Kelly can do with Vick, no one does!!! So stop whining about what you think, cause believe me your whining will not change the outcome, shut the hell up and what this new situation develope with an open mind.

          • MAC

            In a 10 year span he accomplished nothing and has shown can’t stay healthy. i love my team and root no matter what. i just know Vick has 2 playoff wins in his ebtire career. Both were in same year and not one since. Vick is who he is. He has always fumbled and turned it over. in this league where games are so close it will cost you in end. I am not a Vick hater just a realist. Vick is exciting and tough as they come. i like him as a person but people players do not change after his many years in the league. He has regressed, and lets be honest 3 playoff wins is not enough in his career to make anyone feel like he can lead a team to a super bowl. It’s tough to sell that all of a sudden Vick will stop getting hurt at 33 years old and will kearn to stop turning ball over, He is who he is and that’s fine if you are not worried about a deep playoff win. Just my opinion but many years and examples back it up. Don’t get so mad at me about my thoughts. i will be here to root for eagles but I still think this is an absolute mistake and can only get worse by making Vick the QB next year. Sorry you don’t agree

    • theycallmerob

      I think you’re underestimating Chip Kelly; the Eagles did not hire him to coach his old offense with a new team, the whole point is that he’s logical and analytic when it comes to tailoring a game plan to athletes. At Oregon, that meant having a team waaaaay faster than anyone else; in the NFL, he’ll get creative.
      Either way, give the man a chance! I’m not his biggest fan either, but he’s the ultimate wild card. And, for what it’s worth….he’s not Andy Reid.

      • The Guru

        I think you’re over estimating Kelly. He has ZERO NFL experience. It’s not the same as bringing in 8 recruits who are going to be drafted in the first 3-4 rounds. And in the NFL, every team is that fast. So eventually it will come down to scheme. I’m not confident he can develop one to be successful at this level.

        • MAC

          I really am so disappointed in this hiring. I do not believe this will translate into the NFL. Hurry up offense will wear down our defense late in games and in NFL most important games come down to last 8 minutes. Running your QB to often is to much of a risk and this is not college we do not have the next recruit waiting as a back up. The zone read has been successful this year, but defenses will adjust over next few seasons and will still work as part of offense but will become less affective as teams figure out ways to defend it. I just think that this brand of football works in college where you just score so much and at will. In the NFL that is not a formula for success, I hope I am wrong and will still root for my Eagles, but this to me will be a wasted 4 years and a set back to this organization.

    • ohitsdom

      Easy to say “draft a Russell Wilson or Kaepernick”, but this draft is just not as rich as last year’s at QB. Who would you draft?

      • The Guru

        Unfortunately, the mobile QBs who can run a zone read are few and far between this draft. But I love the kid from Louisville for the ’14 draft. Now if he changes his system, Glennon from Stanford and the kid from NC St. look to be the best of this crop….

    • Johnny Domino

      ” Draft a Russell Wilson or Kaepernick and start over.”
      Yeah, like they grow on trees.

      • The Guru

        You didn’t even know who they were 8 months ago. It’s not as hard as you think

  • Tom

    I love how everyone assumed Geno Smith was a running QB because he’s black. Smh

    • aub32

      I know. It’s like it just goes hand in hand.

    • Pomo

      Yea its crazy, I was posting his college rushing stats and people were still convinced. C’mon bro lets use our brains bro. One may also assume you are black for saying “smh”. :P

    • morgan c

      I was guilty of that. To be fair, there has literally been one or maybe two black NFL quarterbacks that haven’t been dual threats.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        Wilson
        Moon
        Leftwich
        Garrard
        and later in their careers, McNabb, McNair and Cunningham had to get by with only their arms because the mobility was gone.

        • morgan c

          Your last statement is moot, because they were dual threats as they were developed.

          Russell Wilson isn’t a dual threat? Dude rushed for 500 yards this year! Warren Moon is one, and Leftwich is the other. That’s about it. Garrard rushed for 17 TDs in 9 seasons, and had 2000 yards, so he was somewhat of a dual threat.

          This is a dumb argument – it is simply wrong to pretend that the overwhelming majority of black NFL quarterbacks weren’t dual threats. The point is it’s not a shock that people would assume Geno Smith can run because 95% of black NFL quarterbacks can run.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Doug Wilson.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      I love how people pretend that Geno Smith has no mobility so they don’t look like they are pigeon-holing him based on race.

      He’s certainly got more mobility than Nick Foles. If you watched him against LSU in 2011, there was a notable play where he spun away from Kiki Mingo (2013 first round pick to be) and completed for the first down. He’s shown the ability to elude pressure in the pocket as well as run for first downs when the defense gives it to him. He’s a very selective runner.

      Dana Holgorsen is an Air Raid guy, not spread option coach, so it’s not like he is coming from the kind of offense that would tap into a quarterback’s athleticism. Geno Smith can’t outrun a defense, but he can move the chains with his legs if a defense lets him.

  • MikeDupp

    The one bright spot is that now the Eagles probably won’t waste a season with Foles at QB, only to find out he is just another Chad Henne. Foles probably could have gotten the Eagles back to an 8-8 team, maybe even squeaked into the playoffs, but he is never leading a team to the SB.

    • GoBirds1

      How is Foles any better or worse than Flacco or Ryan after their respective rookie seasons? And now both are competing for conference championships. There is no reason why Foles could not be doing the same in the next 3-5 years.

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        Flacco has Anqwan Boldin, the Ravens D AND a big arm. Foles has none of the above.

        • GoBirds1

          How does a wr or D have to do with Foles ability or potential. I am sure if kelly had Brady he wouldn’t put him to the curb to implement his system now would he. Clearly Kelly can adapt and use Foles strengths to develop a winning O. Watch and see.

      • atlvickfan

        I don’t think Foles is bad, but Ryan was a LOT better than Foles from day one.

  • http://twitter.com/THEKID_ Mike Jehle

    I’m just glad that he’s already been quoted as saying he’s not a Tebow guy. I tell you, that would scare the hell out of me bringing in that mess… LOL
    And I agree…he’s not Reid. That in itself is good enough for me. But further more hopefully that means he’s not a mule like Reid and IS willing to adapt to his personel. Only time will tell, but Kelly is our coach now and i’m behind him until he proves otherwise.

    • Hurricane Dave

      Exactly! While we don’t know to what degree he’ll implement his system, I fully expect him to be better at thinking on his feet, able to make in-game and half-time adjustments, attack teams logically (no more 60 passes against OAK, the worst running def. in the league in 2009), adapt his system to personnel on hand, and acquire personnel in line with said system. All things which Reid failed at miserably.

  • PhEaglesPhan

    I am glad the Eagles took this shot, everyone can state their opinions on the guy and what they think the outcome will be but it is all assumption. All the whiners complaining that they don’t think Chip can adjust, and he has zero NFL experience does not negate the fact that NO ONE knows what the outcome will be. Best thing to do at this point is shut up and watch the development unfold.

    Side note, I really, REALLY!!! Hope he brings back Vick and Vick has a break out season. Would love to read some of the comments after that!

    • GoBirds1

      i like taking a. Shot with Kelly. I like his probability based logic and the more trials/plays the more likely probability theory applies. I find it interesting as quick as Reid got a job Moronwieg will likely not even get a look for OC job. I will lmao if Reid rolls out his overly stale playbook in KC. Reids system of racking up yards, settling for FGs and inept in the redzone and pumping up the O stats against the weak teams became obvious except to the Hunts.

    • MAC

      Keep waiting for his breakout season 10 years after he was a rookie. Players usually break out at 33 years old. Come on say what you want about 2010 but it was a 10 game stretch and teams adjusted and the rest is history. I like Vick as a warrior and person, but he is who he is man. He turns ball over at an alarming rate, misses games due to injury, & can’t read defenses or be consistently accurate. Sorry man but it’s cool to be a Vick fan, but be realistic. We are Eagles fans first and we all know that Vick is limited and due to his deficiencies I mentioned can not take a team on a serious playoff run. That is what we are hear for super bowl’s not highlights. You can hope all you want but Vick has shown throughout his career these issues. That is why in his entire career he has only won 2 total playoff games and they were in same year. None before and none since. Sorry but get mad at me all you want but I have solid reasons. No Vick supporter has anything but hope and what if’s on why they want him as our team’s QB. Also just because you think he is best we have does not mean that is good enough.
      You got so mad at me about Vick in another post, but this is not personal toward Vick. I am definitely not biased or racist. I gave Vick a fair chance and hoped after 2010 he had grown into what everyone said was his potential. Then I saw the same guy I saw since he was a rookie and teams adjusted. Sorry but it’s on tape and I would like nothing more than to win a super bowl. I know though that Vick can’t give that to me, so why spend another practice even with him on our roster?

  • Johnathan Birks

    Neither Vick nor Foles can do what Wilson, Kaepernick and RGIII did this year. Vick is too old and injury-prone (and too inaccurate besides), And Vick is too expensive for a declining QB. Foles is too slow, by his own admission, though he can move well enough in the pocket. But Kelly may not try to install the identical spread system this year, given the speed present at the RB and WR positions.

    • atlvickfan

      Vick was perfectly accurate in 2010 when he got enough time to step into his throws like RG3, Wilson, and Kaepernick got this year. Accuracy is just a matter of footwork, and Vick’s footwork his entire career has been better when he’s had time to throw.

  • xlGmanlx

    I know who they shouldn’t draft and that is Te’o. What a complete piece of garbage. Do yourself a favor and check out deadspin, I was wrong about him, and that is exactly the point about how drafting is a complete crapshoot. Because you never know when you are getting the next brady, brees or big ben, or when you are getting a leaf, Russell, Couch.

  • Run Eagles Run

    I love how everyone takes that one soundbite from kelly as endorment of foles. he was a senior. kelly said something nice about the kid. that doesnt mean he wants him running his nfl offense.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    Yeah Foles aint gonna be runnin a Kelly offense but thats a HUGE statement about the kid. He made it to the nfl that was his dream im sure hes just not good enough to be a starter. Period. Restructure role with Vick but dont run read option.

    • MAC

      If Kelly keeps Vick I loose all faith in his decision making. I do not care what anyone what if scenarios are out there. Vick is an injury prone, turnover machine. If Kelly has to think twice about it he has not watched Vick’s career. It is an absolute joke to believe this man can run an efficient potent offense. he has proven time and again that he is who he is and he can’t stop getting injured, turning ball over at alarming rate, and read a defense. I like Vick as a man and I think he is a warrior, but he is far from a guy this franchise should waste another game on. We are going to have to build a team and philosophy; anymore time on Vick is wasted time since by time turn this around he will be at youngest 35 yrs old. He is a good guy but I would basically tell anyone who believes Vick is a viable option that I have no idea what you have been watching for his entire career.
      Brian, Chris Johnson at the combine recorded a 4.3 40 which was one of fastest times in combine history at the time. Vick does not run a 4.3 anymore. He gets caught from behind by DE’s & LB’s. Not trying to be a Vick hater, I am just going by the eye test throughout his career. It says he is exciting, but the negatives like turnovers will not stop. He has fumbled more than any player in the league since been in NFL and is # 5 all time in fumbles lost and has done it in the fewest games to anyone else in the top 5. That is a fact and this is not going to change. If Chip Kelly keeps him I would loose any confidence in his ability to project players. Say whatever you want Vick supporters but the evidence is clear. You can love the guy all you want but there is no discputting his issues with protecting the ball and his body. In the NFL games especially in playoffs come down to the slightest mistakes and Vick will always make a couple throughout a game so your chances of winning deep in playoffs that way are so minimal its insane, That is why in his entire career he has only won 2 total playoff games and they were in same year. None before and none since. That is a fact!

  • 1972

    vicks salary for 2013 is 16 mil. He wont be here … who would pay 16 mil for that many redzone turnovers? So all his die hard fans can compare him to foles and argue the points til the cows come home. Wont change a thing.
    The love for him is really ridiculous when u think about it.
    Reminds me of the national media and ROmo.. Its always someone elses fault

  • atlvickfan

    Vick is the Eagles’ best option in 2013 and the Eagles are Vick’s best option in 2013. Vick would be wise to restructure.