Cosell: Kelly’s Offense Needs Mobile QB

The Chip Kelly quarterback debate rages on.

The question has remained the same for weeks now: Is Kelly tied to Michael Vick, or will Nick Foles get a legitimate shot at competing for the starting job?

Kelly and the Eagles re-structured Vick’s contract this offseason and decided to bring him back on a one-year deal. But the door for Foles remains at least slightly open after reports indicated the Eagles told Andy Reid and the Chiefs that they were not interested in dealing the second-year quarterback.

In a Yahoo Sports column, Greg Cosell of NFL Films weighed in with his opinion after studying Oregon’s offense:

It struck me watching Oregon’s offense that there are two critical elements to the success of Kelly’s offense, an offense whose foundation is the running game despite the spread formations: Manipulating and adding gaps by the use of personnel and formation, and the viability of the quarterback as a running threat. Those who believe otherwise do not understand the conceptual and schematic underpinnings of Kelly’s offense. It’s an option run game, with the quarterback as the initial decision maker. For those option concepts to be maximized, the quarterback must be a runner. He won’t have his quarterback run “power” 10 times a game, but any option offense requires a quarterback who can run.

That’s why the Eagles brought back Michael Vick, and signed Dennis Dixon. Both are viable running threats. Both have good arms. Many in Philadelphia may be rolling their eyes right now, but every coach has a vision of what he wants his offense, and by extension, his quarterback to look like. Vick and Dixon fit Kelly’s profile.

Any time Kelly is asked about his preference for quarterbacks who can run, he shoots the theory down and recalls his old New Hampshire QB, Ricky Santos. And there is at least some evidence that he can tweak an offense to fit a slow-footed QB.

But as Cosell points out, if Kelly plans on using any version of the fast-paced, spread-option attack he ran at Oregon, the QB has to at least be able to pose the threat of running.

Click here to read Cosell’s complete thoughts on Kelly and his transition to the NFL.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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