By Kyle Gans
Chip Kelly has arrived to the big stage. Kelly is now the 21st head coach of the Eagles. Kelly has been one of the most successful college coaches in recent memory. He was 46-7 in four years as head coach at Oregon. The Ducks went to four straight BCS bowl games, including a trip to national championship against Auburn two seasons ago; and have won three Pac-12 championships.
Now that Kelly is bringing his high-octane scheme to the NFL, the question is, who will be quarterbacking this hurry-up offense?
He has a few different options; let’s take a look at them all.
Nick Foles: Apparently, Chip Kelly has always been a fan of Nick Foles. ‘I’ll tell you what, I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Kelly said after Oregon beat Arizona 56-31, in September of 2011. “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes, Nick is a hell of a football player. The kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.” Foles ran a 5.1 40-yd dash at the 2012 NFL Combine, so he is never going to burn you with his speed. He only had 42 rushing yards, on 11 attempts last year. He is a smart quarterback though and has the ability to make the right decisions in the read-option.
Mike Vick: He’s going to be 33 next season, has been injury prone throughout his career and was a turnover machine last year. He still has one of the stronger arms in the league though, and even at 33, is one of the fastest quarterbacks in the NFL. Vick is owed $15 million next year, and the Eagles might decide he just isn’t worth that type of money. If they decide to cut him he’ll only be owed $3 million.
Other: There’s one quarterback in the NFL draft I think the Eagles will take a long look at, EJ Manuel of Florida State. At 6’5” and 240 pounds, Manuel has the body that can withstand the hits, while running Kelly’s read-option offense. According to www.nfldraftscout.com, he has been timed running a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash, so defenses would have to account for his ability to run the ball. He threw for 3,392 yards this year and passed for 23 touchdowns, with only 10 interceptions. His stats improved each year at FSU, and I think the Eagles will take a serious look at him in the 2nd round.
Prediction: Michael Vick will start the year as the Eagles starting quarterback. Vick has the ability to be unstoppable in this offense. Defenses will have to account for him, Lesean McCoy and Bryce Brown running the ball; on almost every play. With speedy wide receivers, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin keeping defenses honest, this offense with Vick at the helm could be a nightmare for opposing defenses. He would probably have to take a pay cut, but I bet he is willing to so he can have the opportunity to prove himself in Chip Kelly’s offense.