The Eagles signed former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon to a two-year deal Thursday. Dixon was most recently on the practice squad for the Super-Bowl champion Ravens.
The 28-year-old has been in the league since 2008 and has just three starts to his name — all with the Steelers. He has not thrown a pass in the bigs since 2010, and was unable to crack a 53-man roster this past season.
He is now reunited with his old college coach, however, and Chip Kelly has worked magic on Dixon once already. The year before Kelly arrived at Oregon, Dixon threw 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions and Oregon went 7-6. Kelly came aboard as the offensive coordinator for Dixon’s senior season. The quarterback tossed 20 touchdowns to four INTs that year, becoming a Heisman candidate as the Ducks finished 9-4. His season was cut short after he tore the ACL in his left knee in November of that year. He tore lateral meniscus cartilage in the same knee in 2010 while with the Steelers.
The type of turnaround that Dixon experienced in college is not as probable on the NFL level, but Kelly obviously sees value in mixing one of his former signal-callers into the equation. This marriage comes as no surprise, as Dixon’s name has been linked to the Eagles for weeks. Kelly was asked about Dixon on Monday.
“Last time I talked to Dennis Dixon was during the open date or whatever the Ravens had,” said Kelly. “He came out to Oregon to watch us play, and that is the last time I’ve talked to Dennis. Anybody that we have the ability to look at and we are doing that right now, anybody that is involved in free agency in terms of trying to upgrade our roster. Any time we can upgrade our roster, I’ll do so. I haven’t ruled anybody out of that either.”
Dixon completed 64 percent of his throws with the Ducks for over 5,000 yards with 38 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He added 1,208 yards and 12 TDs on the ground.
The 6-3 California native was selected by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He has completed 59 percent of his balls for 402 yards with a touchdown and an interception in limited action in the NFL.
Kelly has said on multiple occasions that he will adjust his scheme to fit the personnel. The decision to bring back Michael Vick and the signing of Dixon, though, seems to increase the likelihood that we’ll see some of the read-option here in Philadelphia. Kelly was asked how Nick Foles could compete for the starting job — would two different systems need to be employed?
“I don’t think it’s two different systems. Again, people try to look at what we’ve done in the past and where I’ve been and kind of paint it with one brush because everybody wants a sound bite to say your offense is this. I don’t think what we do offensively can be said in one or two words that we’re either this or we’re this. We’re an equal opportunity scoring operation,” said Kelly.
“There is a skill set that Nick has that really excites me about him. And I had the opportunity to see him up close and personal for three years and I know what he can do. So I’m excited to work with him. I think we’ve got an older quarterback in Michael who is 32 now, and have a younger guy in Nick who is going into his second year, and I think it’s the ideal situation for us moving forward this season.”
And now, Dixon is in the fold as well.