Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
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There's a possibility that Eagles fans will get a clearer picture of the Eagles QB situation once Chip Kelly speaks today, but it's not likely. A coach's introductory press conference typically is not the place to make firm pronouncements on roster issues.
But going forward, figuring out the QB situation will be a top priority for Kelly. So what are his options? ESPN's Chris Sprow listed 10 possible candidates to play QB for Chip in 2013.
First and foremost, it's important to remember that Kelly's offenses don't require a running QB. He's not running Florida's offense with Tim Tebow. As Sprow points out, Duck's QB Marcus Mariotta ran about 8 times per game last year. He mostly needs his QBs to be efficient and at least a threat to run. So with that in mind, here's the list (the thoughts are mine).
Michael Vick - He's athletic enough to do it obviously and teams would respect him as a threat in a zone read situation. However, he's hardly efficient and frankly the idea of Vick carrying the ball 8 times a game is scary because his ball security is so poor. Plus, he doesn't know how to protect himself. You see Russell Wilson running this type of offense without taking big hits because he gets down and protects himself. Vick doesn't.
Alex Smith - An interesting option because he probably fits a lot of the criteria Chip might look for. He is a very efficient passer, doesn't turn the ball over, has seen the read option first hand and is a lot more athletic than he's given credit for. He played in Urban Meyer's system at Utah and ran for over 1,000 yards in his last 2 years at school. He could very well thrive in Chip's system.
Question is... what would it take to get Smith? He's set to make too much money to be the Niners backup QB and likely wouldn't be happy in that role anyone. So he'll be somewhere else next year, the question is whether he'll be cut or traded. Niners Nation had an insightful post on this last month. Cutting Smith would save the team a million dollars. If they elected to hang on to him and try to trade, they'd have to pay him that million bucks. That's a pretty big pill to swallow for what in return? Smith will be 29 in May and it's unclear whether there will be a hot market for him. A 3rd round pick maybe?
Nick Foles - He's a young QB who has shown some ability and he's here. In the NFL, that's a lot. We always hear about how adaptable Chip Kelly is... Maybe he decides to try and find some way to make Foles, who just doesn't fit in a read option offense, work.
Joe Webb, Terrelle Pryor, Dennis Dixon - I'll just group all these guys together because it's really the same idea. All running QBs who could probably be had for cheap or nothing. That said, there's really not much attractive here. Dixon did play for Chip at Oregon though.
Matt Flynn - Not a runner or a particular fit in Kelly's offense but he's a guy with potential that's expendable, so he's going to show up on lists like this.
Nick Florence - RG3's replacement at Baylor threw for over 4,000 yards and 33 TDs last season while running for 568 yards. Could be a late round guy to pick up.
Tyler Wilson - Arkansas QB. I don't know a lot about him, so I'll just excerpt Sprow's piece here.
Among quarterbacks entering the draft with solid marks as passers, Wilson might be the most underrated scrambler. As our Scouts Inc. breakdown notes, Wilson is a "very functional scrambler. Feels the rush, has a good sense of where it's coming from and shows adequate quickness and athletic ability in eluding." The guy can flat-out deliver while taking a hit. He's not the typical prototype in Kelly's system as it existed at the college level, but he's an interesting possibility.
EJ Manuel - Florida State QB. Primarily a pocket passer, but has run plenty and would athletic enough to be credible in a zone read system.