Chip Kelly talks Vick/Foles, his staff and more

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Chip Kelly talks Vick/Foles, his staff and more
February 11, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Chip Kelly will let Michael Vick and Nick Foles compete for the starting quarterback spot. Kelly took a while to hire defensive coordinator Billy Davis because he wanted to do his due diligence, but he knew Davis was his guy. Kelly likes the 3-4 defense, but the scheme will depend on his personnel.

Kelly held a press conference Monday to discuss his new coaching staff, his QB situation now that Vick has signed a new deal (see story), and why he hired a "sports science coordinator."

Here are some of the highlights:

The QB situation

Will both Vick and Foles be on the roster for the season opener?

"I hope so," Kelly said. "There's open competition. Michael knows that. Nick knows that. ... I think both of them [have] outstanding qualities in terms of being quarterbacks in this league. Both of them have started in his league. I also know in this league, you better have two. I'm excited about the two of them. Who the starting QB is to start the season off will be won on the practice field."

Kelly believes Vick, who turns 33 in June, can still be a productive quarterback.

"I really do," Kelly said. "In terms of Michael, we looked at everything. But I looked at his skill set first and foremost. What he can do and how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet. There are a lot of different factors that he has."

Kelly also knows this: There isn't an abundance of talented quarterbacks available to acquire, whether it's via free agency or this year's draft.

"You also have to look at what the landscape is out there for other quarterbacks," Kelly said.

One other issue is this: Kelly presents a fresh start for the organization, but does keeping Vick preclude that?

"The best way I could put this," Kelly said, "there is a change scenery going on here, but for Michael Vick, there is a change of scenery but not a change of address."

That said, don't be shocked if something changes between now and September.

"We're not ruling out anything right now," Kelly said.

Taking his time

Kelly didn't want to rush when hiring his assistants:

"[It was] real important to me that we took our time with this. It's not something that you want to just jump at the first person you meet. I wanted to make sure that I was very thorough in the whole process. ... The biggest thing for me was, who was the right fit for this organization and for us as a group, understanding the personalities, how I work, how some of the people that I brought with me from Oregon are, and how do we fit those pieces together?

"I wanted a diverse group. I wanted a group that had a lot of varied experiences in terms of where they were coming from because I thought that was the best way to go about it. We've had some meetings so far as our staff got completed here, and it's been great. ... No one really has an ego."

Why the "sports science coordinator"?

Shaun Huls joins Kelly's staff from Navy Special Warfare.

"The game of football's evolved, and I think we as coaches have to evolve with it," Kelly said. "To always harken back to, well, we did it because that's the way it's always been done -- I've never bought into that theory. ... Obviously we've evolved from a science standpoint. I think there are a lot of other sports that have evolved faster than football has evolved faster from a science standpoint, and we want to be on the cutting edge of that."

As for Huls' military background ...

"I'm not going to have face paint on, I can tell you that," Kelly said. "It's a different experience that he brings to the table. But are we planning to attack a foreign country? No."

On naming Pat Shumur offensive coordinator, and play-calling

"First off, on the play-calling, I'll call all the good plays, Pat will call all the bad," Kelly said.

As for Shurmur, who was the Browns' head coach for the last two seasons and had spent 10 years with the Eagles under Andy Reid ...

"I made a real conscious decision moving from the college level to here that I wanted coordinators that had NFL experience, and that was extremely important to me. I was pretty thorough in my investigation."

Kelly said he met with Shurmur over two days.

"In meeting with Pat, to be honest with you, it was one of those, 'Is this too good to be true?' ... We just seemed to hit it off," Kelly said. "The fact that he was here for 10 years as quarterbacks coach was kind of icing on the cake to me. He has a great understanding of this building. I think the reputation he left when he left this building, when I mentioned to people in here that we were interviewing him, you could see their eyes light up.

"I also had thought about it -- sometimes it doesn't work out, or it does work out -- to have a guy on staff who's been a head coach in this league. Pat's office is connected to mine, and I know the door is usually open. ... There are so many bonuses aside from his football knowledge."

On defensive coordinator Billy Davis and 4-3 vs. 3-4

Why did it take a while to hire Davis as defensive coordinator?

"For me, it was just being thorough," Kelly said. "I felt after interviewing him that he was the guy I wanted to work with. But I also knew instead of jumping at the first thing to make sure we had an opportunity to look around, and I explained that to Billy. ... When I did talk to other people, it just reaffirmed that Billy was the guy."

It appears Kelly is preparing to switch the Eagles' defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but it's contingent upon his personnel.

"One of the things about Billy's background is Billy's versatility," Kelly said. "I like the 3-4 better when I first started at Oregon. Just philosophically, if you carry more linebackers than you do defensive linemen, you help your team from a special teams standpoint. But you can't just do that in a day. So it's a situation where we're evaluating all of the personnel on our team, and we'll see where we are."

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