In the unending speculation about who will be under center for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2013 season, several names have been tossed around. Is Mike Vick more likely to stay with the team in Chip Kelly’s spread offense? Will Coach Kelly like what he sees in Nick Foles’ progress?
Who knows, but it sounds like one thing Kelly will want to do is reunite with a familiar QB from Oregon in Philadelphia. CSNPhilly’s Geoff Mosher reports there are “strong indications” that Kelly will sign current Baltimore Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon to the Eagles after Sunday’s Super Bowl. Says Mosher,
If Kelly plans to build an offense that not only fits his vision but also can compete from the get-go, he needs a quarterback that understands his scheme and has the skill set to flourish in it.
Nobody on the current roster fits that description, but all signs point to Kelly having his man by next week. There are strong indications that Kelly won’t waste too much time after the Super Bowl before reaching out to Ravens practice squad quarterback Dennis Dixon and bringing him to Philadelphia.
Dixon, who engineered Kelly’s offense to near perfection at Oregon and had his Heisman candidacy in 2007 derailed by a knee injury, is the only NFL quarterback that knows the coach’s system inside-out and wouldn’t be starting from Square 1.
NFL rules prevent Kelly and the Eagles from reaching out to Dixon until after the Ravens’ playoff run is completed.
Dixon was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and made just four starts with the team over as many seasons standing in for Ben Roethlisberger. So, even with his familiarity with Kelly’s offense, why does the team seem so convinced that the 6’3, 209 lb, 28-year quarterback is a good fit with his lack of playing time in the NFL? Per Mosher, an AFC scout, “believes Dixon has tremendous NFL potential that can be maximized in Kelly’s offense.” Prior to experiencing a knee injury his senior year, Dixon led the Ducks to and 8-1 record and a number 2 spot in the BCS rankings so clearly Kelly has seen just what the quarterback is capable of doing (Dixon also completed almost 68 percent of his passes, rushed for 583 yards and totaled 2,719 yards in 10 games).
One thing is clear: the Eagles have to do something about their quarterback situation following the Super Bowl. The team has a 72-hour window in which they must decide if the will release Vick at no cost to them, though they will take a $4.2 million cap hit. If a decision isn’t made during that time then Vick will be owed $3 million (though the exact amount depends on if he signs with another team).
So who will the Eagles’ quarterback in 2013? It will be a while until we know for sure. But every move and comment made by Kelly will be examined closely as a decoder into his intentions regarding Vick, Foles and very possibly Dixon. Or whatever additional names come into the mix between now and then.