Twitter Mailbag: On Alex Smith, Dixon And the 3-4

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Colaianni: should the eagles get Alex Smith and draft a QB in the 2014 draft since its a better QB class and let him learn from veteran? I am on board with that. There seems to be a good amount of anti-Smith sentiment out there, but I don’t see a ton of downside. He is slated to make $8.5 million this season (his contract runs through 2014). That’s a good chunk of change, but if you’re swapping out Michael Vick‘s $16 million, then you’re talking about a decent savings.

We know that Nick Foles is not a read-option quarterback. Why not give Chip Kelly someone who has experience in that style of offense?  Smith was completing 70 percent of his throws and had a 104.1 quarterback rating before he suffered a concussion and lost his job to Colin Kaepernick. Including playoffs, he has thrown 35 touchdowns to 10 interceptions over the past two seasons. I view him as the best available option at the moment, so long as the 49ers are reasonable in their trade demands.

From @BonoHitMyCar:  Is there really any chance of Dennis Dixon (if the rumors are true about acquiring him) being our starter next year? Maybe I am just having Steve Spurrier flashbacks, but I would be a little nervous if Dixon went from Baltimore’s practice squad to Eagles’ starter under Kelly. I think it is logical to bring the former Duck in and give him a chance to make the team, but starter? Dixon has been in the NFL since 2008 and has started three games, going 2-1 with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The idea that he will spring to life once reunited with Kelly sounds far-fetched to me, and could be a sign that the coach is putting a little too much faith in his system. But I guess you never know.

From @justin_TPM: With Chip’s love for TEs, does Brent become a centerpiece or does he become a #2 to a yet to be added piece? I have been clamoring  for the Eagles to invest more in the tight end position. I think high-end TE’s (although not easy to come by) can be very valuable in the modern NFL. Clay Harbor just hasn’t cut it. Brent Celek brings something to the table for sure, but it is past time for a complement/eventual replacement to be brought in.

I had heard that the Eagles came away from the Senior Bowl  impressed with Rice tight end Vance McDonald. Whether it is McDonald, Jason Kelce’s brother, Travis, or someone else, I would expect the Eagles to address the position this offseason.

From @tomlindlar: Would a switch to a 3-4 front depend on who we draft? IE, go 3-4 if we draft an OLB or NT, stay with 4-3 if we get an OT or CB? I believe the Eagles will switch to some form of a 3-4 eventually under Kelly, but agree with the premise that personnel will influence whether the transition is immediate or over time. Not necessarily based on who they draft this year, as you laid out. But as the roster takes shape, I think they will evaluate the parts in place and determine whether it is in their best interest to use a 3-4 for the 2013 season. Interestingly enough, it seems like several of the reported defensive coordinator candidates have experience in both schemes.

Casey Matthews described Oregon’s defense as a “hybrid 3-4.” Especially during the transition period, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw elements of both the 4-3 and 3-4.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.