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Even after he presided over the first practice of his career as Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly still doesn’t have a first-string quarterback.
He has three.
Kelly said Tuesday that incumbents Michael Vick and Nick Foles each took turns guiding the first-string offense along with newcomer Dennis Dixon, the former Ravens and Steelers quarterback who once ran Kelly’s offense at Oregon.
Of the five main practice periods -- three full-team and two seven-on-sevens -- Kelly said Vick and Foles rotated with the first team and Dixon “got some reps in,” an indication that Vick and Foles are co-leaders in the clubhouse, duking it out for the job while Dixon is sprinkled into the mix.
“Through five different periods they rotated, so there wasn’t one set guy that just went with the [first team] the entire time,” Kelly said.
Kelly cautioned against reading into the depth chart, which he said more resembled “a seating chart” that simply told players where they’re supposed to be at certain periods of his fast-paced practice.
In general, the coach said several players took turns running with different teams as the Eagles experienced their first practice under a new head coach in 14 years. Kelly suggested that the pace of Tuesday’s practice didn’t match the speed of his normal practices at Oregon, but that he probably would practice faster than most NFL teams do.
In total, 71 of the 74 players at camp participated. Center Jason Kelce was sidelined as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired knee. Newcomer Chris McCoy, an outside linebacker/defensive end, and tight end Evan Moore, who joined the team late last season, each didn’t practice with undisclosed injuries.
As for his quarterbacks, Kelly said he would continue to switch around the first-team personnel as he makes evaluations, a process that will stretch deep into the spring camps and this summer at training camp.
He said the playbook for Day 1 was “very, very limited,” and probably 15 percent of its eventual capacity.
“It’s April 16 and we’re not playing until next September, so we’re going to use the full available time for us to make evaluations of who it is and I think it fosters competition,” he said. “I think those guys love competition, that’s why they’re in that position and they know it. Our guys really understand that. I think everybody right now knows where they stand, and that’s a big thing for us. There’s not a lot of grey area with this.”
Interestingly, Kelly said the performances of individuals during the camp would impact the team’s draft approach, which would seemingly contradict general manager Howie Roseman’s mantra of sticking to the draft board and not reaching to fill certain needs.
Once again, Kelly debunked theories that he’s looking for mobility in his quarterbacks (see story), even after Monday’s release of Trent Edwards left Foles as the only one of the team’s four arms that isn’t going to scare defenses with long scrambles or tailored for read-option schemes. Kelly said Edwards had asked to be released to find opportunity elsewhere.
He also said this year’s draft class lacked a no-brainer, at any position, not just limited to quarterback, but definitely at quarterback.
“I think the draft has depth,” he said. “There’s not an Andrew Luck or an RG3, who you say, ‘That guy is going to be a 10-year All-Pro.”