QB? Offensive scheme? Chip Kelly still has time

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QB? Offensive scheme? Chip Kelly still has time
January 22, 2013, 3:00 am
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MOBILE, Ala. -- Chip Kelly has already met with Mike Vick and already met Nick Foles. Kelly has also hired an offensive coordinator.

If youre thinking that these three events have helped him come closer to an offensive scheme and quarterback to lead it, think again.

Hes nowhere near that stage.

About the only admission Kelly made Monday was that he enjoyed his meetings with Vick and Foles and that the spread offense he ran in college isnt something that cant be modified to produce success at the NFL level.

It was good. First time I had a chance to meet Michael, Kelly said. And he just sat down and I said Tell me about yourself and see where hes coming from, and I really liked my meeting with Mike.

Since arriving in Philadelphia late last Wednesday night, Kelly has sporadically watched tape of Vick, Foles and the rest of the team in between interviewing assistants for openings on his staff.

He hasnt had a free minute to discuss college personnel with general manager Howie Roseman, which means Kelly couldnt tell you the difference between Geno Smith, whos likely to be the top quarterback taken in the draft, and Alex Smith, the 49ers backup quarterback who almost certainly will be moved in the offseason.

The hiring of Shurmur as his offensive coordinator -- which the team still hasnt yet announced, even with Shurmur in attendance at the Senior Bowl -- only made it more difficult for those looking for clues as to the direction Kelly might be headed in at quarterback.

Shurmur has worked with a mobile quarterback like Vick, having been Donovan McNabbs position coach under Andy Reid for seven years in Philadelphia. He has also helped develop conventional drop-back passers that fit West Coast schemes in Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden from his time as St. Louis offensive coordinator and Clevelands head coach.

At first glance, the Kelly-Shurmur tandem seemed like an odd pairing given Kellys pedigree in the spread offense and Shurmurs West Coast roots. But Kelly suggested that two different schools of thought could benefit his offense.

I think, again, people try to paint everybody with one brush, Kelly said. Theyre not all tied to just one scheme. You need to have people that have some versatility because your starting quarterback may be able to run your scheme and your backup quarterback may not.

You dont just throw your hands up in the first quarter when hes out and say, Were in trouble now. Youve got to be able to adapt. Thats what I think the fun part of coaching is, being able to identify what your personnel can do and play to their strengths.

Kelly said his spread offense at New Hampshire and Oregon borrowed and incorporated concepts from the West Coast offense in the same way that most coaches take and share philosophies that are trendy at the time.

He dismissed the idea that the pistol formation used so effectively this postseason by the 49ers, who will play in the Super Bowl, is a copycat of the strategy he used at Oregon.

Somebody ran those plays somewhere else first.

Like I said before, if you werent in the room with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne, then you stole it from somebody, he said. We didnt invent this. They were running the no-huddle along time ago. The Buffalo Bills ran this offense a long time ago. Sam Wyche did it with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Its just trying to figure out what your team does well and that was a strength of us at Oregon. Is it going to be a strength of ours at Philadelphia? I dont know our personnel well enough to say that. But we dont play until September, so Im hoping between now and September that Ive got enough prep time to figure that out.

Kelly admitted that he needs to take a long hard look at quarterbacks in this years draft for no other reason that the games most important position should always be closely monitored, not necessarily because his current roster lacks the personnel he requires for his offensive system.

Its a unique position, he said. They dont have that in any other sport, someone that has the ball in their hand on every single play. So I think youve got to spend a lot of time on it. You do have to really look at that position long and hard, and I think sometimes guys get overlooked.

Russell Wilson went in the third round. Tom Brady went in the sixth round. The problem I think people have is when they try to find the next one. Thats where youve got to catch yourself. Youve got to have a standard of what youre looking for and see if people match up to that.

E-mail Geoff Mosher at gmosher@comcastsportsnet.com.

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