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.”