Posted January 16, 2013

Chip Kelly hire puts all QB options, including Geno Smith, on Eagles’ table

Philadelphia Eagles
Geno Smith could be an option for the Eagles with the fourth overall pick in the draft. (Icon SMI)

Geno Smith could be an option for the Eagles with the fourth overall pick in the draft. (Icon SMI)

Could Chip Kelly, now that he’s been named head coach of the Eagles in a stunning turn of events, decide that he needs to use the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft on Geno Smith?

Sure.

But in no way does Philadelphia’s coaching coup turn that scenario into a certainty. In all truth, the Eagles are just as likely to pass on Smith now as they were a couple of days ago.

The reasoning is simple: Even though Kelly’s critics may want to think of him as a one-trick pony, destined to be exposed by NFL defenses and coaching staffs, the new Eagles’ leader is more diverse than that. For as much as his up-tempo spread offense has opened eyes, it was his ability to build the Oregon program and to adjust his schemes to fit his personnel that pushed him to an elite level.

Because of that versatility, there’s no telling what might happen with the Eagles’ quarterback position now. Maybe Smith will convince Kelly that he’s worth a top pick. Or maybe Michael Vick sticks around or Kelly reworks his offense around Nick Foles or the Eagles trade for a guy like Alex Smith.

There are a number of paths for Kelly to take, even if the offensive transition may not happen overnight.

As far as a “fit” goes, Vick certainly passes the eye test — and his future with the Eagles now appears more open than at any time in the past few months. His injury issues and turnover woes would cause Kelly some concern, but he is an athletic QB with a terrific arm.

If Kelly wants to bring his exact Oregon offense to Philadelphia, he’ll be hard-pressed to find, between now and September, a more compatible fit than Vick.

Foles does not have the mobility that a Marcus Mariota or a Darron Thomas did for Kelly at Oregon, but he does have the arm to make NFL throws and the size (6-foot-6, 243 pounds) to withstand a little beating. Plus, Kelly raved about him last year when Foles played for Arizona:

“I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes,” Kelly said, according to the Tuscon Citizen. “Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

So, between Vick and Foles, Kelly has at least two QB candidates to consider before free agency and, later, the draft even come on the calendar.

How Kelly makes up his mind will depend on where he sees the other 10 pieces on offense next season. A mobile quarterback plus a sleeker offensive line could push him toward an Oregon-style attack; a better pocket passer might give the Eagles’ offense a bit of a 2012 Patriots look — a fairly balanced mix of run and pass that uses the hurry-up as a curve ball.

The Eagles already looked like a wild card at the top of the draft. A cursory glimpse at their roster shows needs at several offensive line spots, in the secondary and possibly at linebacker.

That’s in addition to the potential need for a new QB, depending on Kelly’s approach. Should he bounce Vick (and possibly Foles) and go the trade route, that fourth-overall selection could be a heck of a carrot to dangle.

If Philadelphia stays put at No. 4, you can bet the franchise will complete its due diligence on Smith.

Will he be the best option, though? Right now, it’s hard to see how he could be, given Smith is not a running quarterback in the way Vick is — and especially when a guy like Matt Scott, who ran the zone-read for Rich Rodriguez at Arizona this year, might be available, with far less risk, in the mid-rounds.

Still, Smith is on the table as a potential Eagle, and Vick is in the picture again, too, adding even more mystery to Kelly’s next move and the upcoming draft.

18 comments
RedNeckerson
RedNeckerson

Building an offense around a running QB in the NFL is foolish. Too many games and fast physical defenses make it difficult to keep him healthy for a 16 to 20 game season. If you want to win a Super Bowl you better run the pro offense. It's fun to watch some of these athletic QB's in the spread, but let's wait to see some of them playing a full season and wearing Super Bowl rings before we buy into the idea that the spread is an NFL offense.

John4
John4

No doubt that if Geno Smith is available when the Eagles are picking in the first round that he will be picked AND that Vick will be cut.

(Note that Vick will likely be cut much earlier in a salary dump move.  Vick is due $3 Mill if he is on the roster long before the draft).  

pandah462
pandah462

Why not get Darron Thomas to come from his spot in Canada?  He'd probably be a cheap 3rd-string QB that Kelly could work in on certain situations.

Riley E. Coyote
Riley E. Coyote

They wouldn't take Smith with the 4th pick overall, they could trade down into the teens to get him. I dont think they will tho, Smith really isn't a prototypical Kelly QB. They might sit tight, build the other pieces the team needs to be competitive, and draft Teddie Bridgewater next year. He's a Kelly guy!

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

Looks to me like Kelly is going to turn out to be another "he said"  kinda coach, one that can't give an HONEST set of answers. His reputation took a BIG HIT on this decision.

eaglelifer
eaglelifer

kelly needs the kid from mizzou James Franklin he would be a good fit.

DAN B1
DAN B1

Browns are calling foul. They believe he intentionally waited for the browns to choose a coach before accepting the Philly gig. Browns claim they had an oral agreement before he visited Philly. He then went to Philly and decided he wanted that job. Instead of being honest, he told everyone that he was staying in Oregon only to "change his mind" later.

 

If so, the man is a weasal

ReginaldT
ReginaldT

Kelly doesn't need a running QB -- Darron Thomas ran for 200 yards in an entire season at Oregon. In his own words, he prefers a QB who can throw a lot and run a little, and not a RB who can throw a little. Vick will be gone -- he's not the longterm answer, and he's due FAR too much money. Geno Smith was certainly no running QB at WV, so given that you think Vick is an option, Smith would NOT be. Look for Kelly and Roseman to keep Foles, trade for (or sign) a veteran (Matt Flynn? Alex Smith?), and draft someone in the later rounds, like Collin Klein. In my opinion, of course.

John4
John4

 @Riley E. Coyote Riley - yours is the most intelligent comment about the Eagles' QB situation I have read.  Bridgewater is exactly who Kelly would want.  

John4
John4

 @Wisconsin Death Trip Wisc - I have got to disagree here.  Kelly was offered the Eagles job, turned it down, and spoke to his players.  Then (about 4-5 days later) the Eagles contacted him again, (probably offering more money), and he accepted with the condition that he could keep the decision private for a few days so he could speak to his Oregon players again.  (Before the news of the hiring was announced publicly).  

It seems as if Kelly took an NFL job after some indecision and was as professional with his players as he could be.  He did not want his players in Oregon to hear about the hiring through cnnsi com or another news source.  He told the team of his decision before it went public.  

SportPage
SportPage

 @Wisconsin Death Trip Why? Because he turned down the Eagles offer because it didn't match what he wanted, and later they decided to give him those terms? Sounds to me like he held firm to his beliefs, and they eventually agreed with him.

 

I suspect he told the teams he talked to that he required a 5 year contract and they only wanted to give him 3. After talking to the other 10 coaches, Eagles decided they still wanted Kelly and changed their offer to 5 years. 

John4
John4

 @DAN B1 Dan B1.  Again, WHY?  Kelly was under NO obligation to accept the Browns HC job.  Clearly, or at least in his mind, the Eagles HC job is better than the Browns HC job.  

 

Oral Agreements (in this case) are not binding.  Kelly was in no way obligated to take the Browns job.  

 

Also, the word is weasel.  Stop being one.   

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @DAN B1 Or a weasel.   Where are these Browns headlines?   If the accusation is true, so be it.   People are allowed to change their minds.  Or play their cards as they see fit.   By the way, he did stay in Oregon.  Just not for long.

ArthurVandelay
ArthurVandelay

 @ReginaldT "Darron Thomas ran for 200 yards in an entire season at Oregon"

 

Well yeah, but that's because he was hurt part of the season.  His backup, Bryan Bennett, added 200 yards rushing as well.

 

I don't know why any team would draft Collin Klein as a quarterback.  He's about the only QB with a more awkward throwing motion and lumbering running style than Tim Tebow.  Might as well pick up the T-man himself.

Riley E. Coyote
Riley E. Coyote

 @John4  @Riley E. Coyote Thanks John4, I'm getting tired of people thinking Vick or even more preposterous, TIM TEBOW, running Kelly's offense. That's just absurd.

John4
John4

 @Riley E. Coyote Riley - yes.  Tebow in a Kelly offense is like making Rush Limbaugh Obama's personal advisor!  

(Not a political comment, just a comparison on two things that do not go well together at all)!