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Too Early To Know QB Plans

Posted Jan 18, 2013

Who plays quarterback in 2013? It is a hugely important decision to be made, and as Chip Kelly ponders the possibilities, everyone else has an opinion ...

To operate the Chip Kelly Offense to maximum efficiency, says the head coach, the most important quality to have is the ability to make good decisions. That doesn't mean Kelly is going to have his quarterback in the read-option scheme running down the line of scrimmage and reading the defensive end on every play and making the decision to pitch the ball to a running back or to keep the football and gain yards with his legs.

Kelly's offense is "equal opportunity," as he said multiple times in his day-long media barrage on Thursday. But no matter how many times Kelly reinforces that truth, there are some out there who insist that they "know" that Kelly's offense is going to be the duplicate of what he used at Oregon and put up all of those points and all of those wins.

That's just simply not true. What's true is that we don't have the answer to what Kelly is going to introduce here. What's true is that Kelly has a lot of work to do to understand the personnel he has on hand, and once he does, the X's and O's will fall into place.

There is so much to be assessed and decided, including who plays the quarterback position. The starting candidates at the moment are Nick Foles and Michael Vick, in no particular order, and each man brings strengths to the job.

Foles had his bright moments as a rookie in 2012 as a pocket quarterback with surprising mobility in and around the pocket. He had a good feel for the game as a rookie and generally made good decisions. The arm strength is fine, the accuracy is pretty good but can certainly improve, and he has a chance to develop into a good quarterback in this league.

Vick engineered three fourth-quarter victories in the first month of the season, and then his game fell off. There were too many turnovers, he absorbed too many hits and ultimately was KO'd from the starting lineup by a concussion.

Vick's strengths are his mobility and the way the ball spins out his left hand and his improvisational skills. His late-game performance last September lent credibility to his ability in the fourth quarter to lead a team to a win in the final minutes.

Kelly's options aren't limited to Foles and Vick, which makes for an even more interesting conversation for Eagles fans around the water cooler, on the Message Boards and in the social stratosphere.

Would the Eagles, in Kelly's first draft, use a high pick on a quarterback more suited to the designs the innovative head coach has for the offense? The crop of quarterbacks in this draft is said to be not nearly as talented as the group from last April, but there is still quite a bit of time to go before the evaluations are complete. When the draft rolls around, the picture might look quite different than now, and there could be a talent that Kelly feels he just can't pass up.

The point here is this: The truth is that Kelly hasn't made up his mind on the quarterback position and, while he may have some thoughts, he knows he has a lot of study work to do before he can fairly evaluate Foles and Vick from the 2012 season.

So, then, it is way premature to suggest that either Foles or Vick has the edge to start in September or to think that neither Foles nor Vick will be the guy. We just don't know yet, and neither does the new head coach.

It's on the list and yes, it's a very important decision to be made. Kelly may or may not have the ideal quarterback in house for what he wants to do offensively. He may very much like Foles' makeup and tailor the scheme to fit the young quarterback's strengths. Kelly may also see in Vick the kind of talent that is suited to an offensive attack he has in mind and keep No. 7 to run the show.

Then again Kelly could go in a completely different direction.

There are no guesses here. I'm not inside Chip Kelly's head. He's the offensive guru and it's his vision for how he wants to construct the Eagles offense. I, like you, am waiting for any news of what's next for Kelly and his coaching staff and the roster changes he intends to make.

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