Dixon: Eagles’ QB Job Is Up For Grabs

It’s clear that one of Chip Kelly’s goals is to create a competitive environment where every player on the Eagles’ roster feels like he has a chance to win a spot and make an impact.

So it should come as no surprise that newly-signed quarterback Dennis Dixon believes he’s very much in the mix to be the Birds’ starting quarterback.

“From my understanding, the job is open,” Dixon said Monday afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “It’s going to be a very competitive nature around here. It’s pretty much open. May the best man win.”

Of course, from an outside perspective, we know that’s not exactly true. Michael Vick recently re-structured his deal, and he’ll make a reported $7 million just for being on the team next season.

Nick Foles is also on the roster, although it’s possible he could be traded in the coming months.

As for Dixon, he spent last year on the Ravens’ practice squad. That means none of the 32 NFL teams felt he was worthy of a roster spot, even as a third-string quarterback. Dixon was originally a fifth-round pick, he turned 28 in January, and he’s attempted a total of 59 passes in five seasons.

Barring something completely unexpected, his best-case scenario is probably earning the backup job in the event that Foles is dealt.

We’ll get into the pros and cons of trading Foles in a later post, but one of the primary arguments for shipping him off is that Foles doesn’t have the mobility Kelly wants out of his QB. I asked Dixon how important that mobility was to Kelly when he played for him at Oregon.

“I wouldn’t say that it was a big thing,” Dixon said. “I think that Chip Kelly… he can tailor his offense to whoever is presented at that given time.”

Going forward, Dixon’s not sure what kind of system Kelly is going to run in the NFL. For that reason, he’s not sold on the idea that the Eagles brought him here partially to help school the team’s other QBs.

“I expect something totally different from Chip Kelly than the past five years,” Dixon said. “That was Oregon. Moving forward, he might see something totally different in the span of five years. I’m wide open just like Nick Foles and Michael Vick.”

Dixon spent part of last season simulating the Ravens’ upcoming opponent. Baltimore’s offense revolved around a classic drop-back passer in Joe Flacco, but Dixon was asked to play Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III during practice.

“It was something that I was accustomed to in the Oregon days,” he said. “Colin Kaepernick can run, but he can also throw the ball still. I tried to do that for my defense [the Ravens].”

The one aspect of Kelly’s Oregon program that Dixon is pretty sure will make its way to the Eagles is the tempo.

“It gives us an advantage to see what the defense gives, regardless if they want to blitz or if they want to go into zone,” Dixon said. “It opens everything up as far as substitutions… they won’t have time. One thing that was ingrained in my head when Chip Kelly was at the helm was you have to move at a fast pace.”

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  • Brent E. Sulecki

    I say Foles shines far and above the others

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    This could be a Russell Wilson situation…Only Mike is the ultimate competitor and a born leader. He aint gonna lay down like Matt Flynn and at 7 mil the teams obligated. Though I believe he will win it regardless.

    • MAC

      Mike is no Russell Wilson either though. Wilson did an amazing job of not turning ball over and not forcing passes. He also was excellent at not taking sacks or negative plays. Vick has done these things throughout his entire career (not only last 2 years).

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    This kid is waiting on lighting to strike the Team Bus. That’s the only chance he has to displace one of the three Quarterbacks on the Eagles roster.

  • Tyler Phillips

    Dixon might not be a starter, but if he is adequate he could easily bump Edwards.

  • Bob A

    I get that the guy with the biggest contract is usually on firm ground with winning the QB job, but i wouldn’t be surprised if Chip is the kind of guy to really make it an open competition and then let Howie do what he wants with the losers after the competition is over. It’s not like any of the 3 are Johnny Unitas, if they ended up trading any of the 3 , I won’t be heartbroken. CK seems to value discipline and precision, so I’m guessing bad mistakes in training camp and preseason games are probably fatal to the candidate that makes them.

  • PaoliBulldog

    Well, Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat will be open next year, but that doesn’t mean Dennis Dixon will fill the opening.

  • Damien

    Anyone else here that Romo just broke both his legs in a car crash? Why is this not a bigger deal?

  • Rick H

    ACCURACY Foles leads by a wide margin

    WILLING TO THROW IT AWAY (INSTEAD OF SACKS) Foles by a wide margin

    MOST QB INTELLIGENT/FIELD AWARENESS Foles by a wide margin.

    KNOWS HOW TO MOVE AROUND THE POCKET Foles by a wide margin

    BEST LEADER Foles because he leads by example not by talk (Vick)

    SEES THE FIELD THE BEST Foles by a wide margin (always keeps his eyes downfield & he is 6’6″

    Foles needs better footwork to go along with his quick release & get a little lighter then 240lbs

    I want to see Foles with our real starting line. He will be five times the player.

    • Joe Jones

      If Nick Foles is that superior of a player, why did Chip Kelly endorse the Eagles paying Michael Vick 7.5 million to compete for a job he has no chance of winning? Makes no sense does it? If Nick is that superior a player, there is no way he could possibly not win the starting job, right? I don’t understand why an offensive coach like Chip Kelly cant recognize the greatness that is Nick Foles? Hopefully he will soon.

      • http://twitter.com/rebyers rebyers

        because you need more than one or two quarterbacks to really have a “competition” and a good veteran backup during a rebuilding period.

        • Guest

          Couldn’t find anything cheaper than 7.5 mill? Seems pretty expensive for a guy who is never gonna see the field.

          • GoBirds1

            Why is everyone so hung up on Vick’s $7.5. If they keep Vick(and that is a big if), Foles and Dixon, the total number is less than $9 million, that is pretty low for the entire QB position. I think ultimately Vick will be traded for a 4th or 5th, and that is why the contract got restructured the way it did. To the team that gets him the cash and cap number is less than $4 million. If you are looking to make a splash like the Jags or Bills, that is a low risk move.

          • MAC

            I pray you are right brother. I just really think that is unlikely they trade Vick. I think he will have minimum trade value even at the $3.5 million cap # before season. Maybe get a 4th rounder at best but more likely 5th or 6th. I just think Kelly thinks he can “fix” Vick like so many other failed attempts before him.

            I hope you are right, but my guess is Kelly thinks Vick can run his system. Even though from what I have read and seen his system requires the QB to make a lot of fast and efficient decisions off of how defense lines up or reacts on the play. I am not saying Vick is dumb, but his decision making and the fact that they took away some of protection calls from him last year show that he is mistake prone. He also tries to make something out of nothing instead of throwing ball away way to often. Hey either way it’s on Chip now to make it work and he has taken away part of his grace period in rebuilding team. If he keeps Vick then he will be held more accountable year 1 bc the message in keeping a 33 yr old QB is you believe you can win now.

      • MAC

        Kelly prefers mobile QB’s for his system and also $7 million says Vick is handed the job unless traded. Be honest and look at the moves since Kelly got here. It’s all considered speculation at this time of year with new coach, but we can logically look at some moves he’s made and make a logical determination that he prefers a mobile QB. He can say all he wants about not caring if QB is mobile or not or not being set on using his Oregon system. However signing of Dixon, keeping of Vick, and many staff hiring’s point to implementing a similar offense. No he does not run the QB as often as many claim, but he does like the threat of a QB run bc he likes to make a defender deal with that so the #’s are in offense favor. Kelly can say all he wants about adapting to personnel, but he definitely has shown with these moves he is going to implement a similar system to what ran at Oregon.

      • The Guru

        Just because Foles doesn’t fit in this system, doesn’t mean he isn’t the better QB.

  • Rick H

    Joe Jones. I simply disagree with you. I agree with the assessment of Tony Dungy when he was interviewed in Sports lluastrated. Dungy believes the Eagles will use a high tempo offense much like what Buffalo did with Jim Kelly. Dungy sees Foles as the QB. I do believe the competition is open however after a certain period my personal belief is Chip Kelly will go with Foles. I am guessing here but I believe somehow / someway Vick gets traded. It is possible that Foles gets traded but i believe the asking price will be at least a 2nd round pick or KC’S 1st pick of the 3rd round .I personally would not trade Foles at all

    • Joe Jones

      Fair enough. Trust me, I’m not rooting against Nick. If Nick wins the job, great……I think Nick showed enough to earn the right to compete for the job….nothing more. Its tough to offer a fair and balanced analysis/critique of either QB because people’s emotions are usually tied to Nick or Mike. I’m in favor of the guy who gives us the best chance to win. Period. I imagine Chip is too.
      You gave Nick a clear cut advantage in accuracy. I have to question that. Nick completed 60% of his passes, with a 6.42 YPA that was good enough for 29th in the league. With the exception of the TB and Wash games where we were down by 10 or more in the 2nd half and had to throw on almost every play, the majority of Nick’s throws were slants/bubble screens/short passes(as supported by his YPA). And Nick clearly struggled with downfield passing. Maybe that wont be as big an issue in Chip’s offense built around the run game, play action and getting the ball out quick?

      I just say that if it was as clear cut as you described, its an easy decision to move on from an expensive vet and build your team around a young franchise QB…..obviously, Chip Kelly doesnt see it that way.

  • GGEagle

    hahahahahah the only thing up for grabs for Dixon is…..a clipboard!

    • borntosuffer

      That’s funny. Not sure I agree, but it was funny.

  • Rick H

    Joe i agree with your latest comments for the most part. i just think at 33 years old Vick has had so many chances to prove that he can be a true QB for the sake of a better term or phrase. Foles is only heading into his 2nd year and his 1st one was with a team in complete meltdown. My about position with Foles is he can get a lot better and won’t turn the ball over trying to make low % plays. If you look at interception to passes thrown last year Foles is at the very top of the league. I am being very specific to that one stat and not making any other insinuations as to how good he is in general or how good he can be in the future. Accuracy is one of his strengths though!

    • Joe Jones

      I hear you Rick. I trust Chip to make the right decision. We both agree Vick is not the future. Is Nick the future? I believe Chip when he said, its an open competition. Go Birds…..I’m excited about this upcoming season.

  • MAC

    I just really do not believe that this is a true QB competition. Vick is getting $7 million just to be here week 1. Also the fact they brought back Vick and signed Dixon tells me that mobility may not be an absolute requirement by Kelly, but it’s definitely preferred. All this talk about Kelly not running a similar system as he did at Oregon seems to be untrue. The QB he kept in Vick and signing of Dixon say otherwise. I am sure there will be differences but I believe overall concept will be the same. I know he does not run the QB that often, but his offense in many situations likes to use the QB as a threat or a decoy to run to make defense respect it and give favorable #’s to offense.