As everyone knows already, unless you live under a rock or haven’t been around society for the past couple of days, Chip Kelly, the offensive, all-star coach of Oregon Ducks, has left Eugene, Oregon for the brighter, NFL enriched pastures of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kelly landed in Philly last night and was introduced as Head Coach and signed his contract today. During his introduction, one question stood out, who would be the Eagles’ QB in the 2013-2014 season? Kelly had this to say about the situation, “There’s perception and reality. The perception is we run our quarterback all of the time. Reality is that’s not the case… I’m a huge fan of [Nick Foles]. He’s tough… He’s a competitor. He’s accurate and I’m excited about that… I don’t have any preconceived notions. I’m looking at film and looking at what direction we’re going to head here.” Kelly seems to be leaning towards Nick Foles as the starting QB. Kelly had this to say of Foles when his Ducks played the Arizona Wildcats in 2011, “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.” Kelly seems really sold on Foles, but let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Foles has never run anything close to a Kelly-type offense and is only a sophomore QB. Two names pop out at me when I think Chip Kelly and QB – Dennis Dixon (Baltimore Ravens Practice Squad) and Darron Thomas (CFL-Calgary Stampeders).
Dennis Dixon was a beast at Oregon in the mid 2000s. He led a rising team with Kelly at the Offensive Coordinator position. During Kelly’s first season as OC, Dixon had 2,136 passing yards, 20 TDs and only 4 INTs, he also recorded 583 rushing yards and 9 rushing TDs all in only 10 games as his season would end due to a torn ACL. Dixon is a long shot for the Eagles, anything is possible, just look how crazy this hire of Kelly was in general. Dixon mentioned he was in awe over the hire by the Eagles and seemed to hint towards maybe looking into making his way back to his old ball coach.
Like Dixon, Thomas had a successful career under Chip Kelly. Thomas spent two years as a starter for the Ducks, and he led Oregon to the team’s first-ever 12-0 regular season, first-ever BCS national championship berth, and the team’s first Rose Bowl victory since 1917. He ultimately left the Ducks after his junior season to enter the NFL, but he ended up in the CFL, where he currently plays for Calgary. Thomas holds multiple Oregon records, including the record for career touchdown passes (66). In 2011, Thomas threw for 2,761 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. It was a phenomenal season-long performance, and Thomas only ran 56 times for 206 yards. Like the chances of getting Dixon, the likelihood of Thomas coming to Philly is slim.
It will be an interesting offseason in Philly, needless to say since the Eagles haven’t had a new Head Coach in over a decade. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles pick up a new QB, go with the sophomore, or stay with the veteran. Until next time, Fly, Eagles, Fly.