With his coaching staff squared away, Chip Kelly’s first
order of business has been addressing the quarterback position. Now that Michael
Vick’s contract is renegotiated, it was on to part two: acquiring Dennis Dixon. Per
reports, the 2008 fifth-round pick and member of the Baltimore Ravens practice
squad agreed to a two-year deal with the Eagles on Thursday.
Geoff Mosher initially reported Kelly’s interest in Dixon
several weeks ago, and the addition always seemed inevitable. Kelly was the
offensive coordinator during Dixon’s senior season at Oregon, so he should be
familiar with some of the concepts the Eagles’ new head coach is bringing to
the NFL. It is by far the 28-year-old quarterback’s last, best chance of making
it in the league.
Dixon was having a season worthy of Heisman Trophy
consideration and perhaps playing himself into a high first-round pick before
he was derailed by a torn ACL. Drafted by the Steelers, Dixon appeared in four
games over four seasons with Pittsburgh, posting a 2-1 record in three starts and
71.4 passer rating, but again suffered a serious knee injury in 2010. He spent
the past year on the Ravens’ practice squad.
The addition of Dixon to the roster will almost certainly
usher out Trent Edwards, who spent one season as the Eagles’ third-string
quarterback -- although that remains to be seen.
We’re not reading too much into this signing, meaning Dixon
should be considered a darkhorse to ascend to starter. It’s completely
normal for new coaching staffs to bring in veteran players who know their
schemes, especially at the quarterback position, as Andy Reid did with Doug
Pederson many moons ago. It’s not even a given Dixon makes the final roster.
If Dixon is recovered from knee injuries though, he
certainly does possess the mobility many believe Kelly is looking for. He'll have a head start of sorts as well in terms of knowledge of Kelly's system. That said, four-time Pro Bowler Michael Vick and developing third-rounder Nick Foles aren't just going to lay down for Dixon.
Overall, it looks like Kelly has resorted to stockpiling
quarterbacks in the absence of a definite franchise quarterback. We wouldn’t
rule out a mid-to-late-round draft pick winding up in the mix with Dixon, Foles, and Vick as well. It looks like a good signing though, as Dixon can assist his teammates in learning Kelly’s offense, and could serve as a capable backup at least.
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