When Dennis Dixon first learned that Chip Kelly was making the jump from college to the NFL, it should come as no surprise that he was excited. It was under Kelly's guidance as then-offensive coordinator at the University of Oregon where Dixon blossomed into the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.
Five years after that brilliant senior season, which was ultimately cut short by a knee injury, Dixon hopes to reclaim the same magic with Kelly in the NFL.
"I'm ready to attack anything that comes my way," Dixon said. "I expect a lot of things to change over the past five years. I can't wait to see what Chip Kelly has under his sleeve. I'm going to enjoy the ride."
Despite the knee injury, Dixon was still selected in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In four seasons, Dixon played in four games (three starts) and completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 402 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 56 yards and another touchdown. Last season, Dixon was on the practice squad for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. In his five NFL seasons, Dixon has been a member of three AFC title teams and two Super Bowl-winning squads. Dixon appreciated the chance to learn from the veteran quarterbacks who helped him become a better all-around pro.
"It just helped me grow in the long run, just being wise. I've been fortunate to be around a bunch of good quarterbacks," Dixon said. "When that time does come for myself, I want to be prepared."
Is the time now for Dixon? He joins an open competition which includes 2012 draft pick Nick Foles and veteran Michael Vick, who restructured his contract last week. Dixon believes that he can be a starter in the NFL.
"It's going to take a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of time," said Dixon. "I'm capable of getting that done. I'm excited to do that too."
For Dixon, the initial step is to win over his teammates and coaches. Dixon understands that he will have to learn what Kelly wants to do in the NFL, but said that his new teammates should prepare for a "mindboggling" experience if it's anything like it was at Oregon.
"Chip is a state-of-the-art coach, a players' coach. I know Chip wants to win regardless of what it takes," Dixon said. "Chip Kelly demands a lot of his players. I think if everybody buys into what he's selling, the sky's the limit. Everything is very fast paced. Everybody has to be ready at all times."
Even though he's mobile, Dixon was the most prolific running quarterback in Oregon's history with 1,208 yards on the ground, Dixon stressed that Kelly can adapt to whatever personnel he has at his disposal.
"I think he can tailor to whomever is back there. That's what Chip Kelly is all about, putting his best playmakers in the best situations possible," Dixon said. "It's going to be very exciting to see. I think Chip Kelly wants first and foremost to be balanced when it comes to throwing the ball and running. Once you have that, the defense doesn't really know what to go with. You just have to go with what the defense gives you at times."
Dixon repeated quite often the role that timing plays in life. He is hoping that his experience in the NFL coupled with Kelly's ascension to the pros that the timing is right to carve out a significant role with the Philadelphia Eagles.
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