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Chip Kelly: Michael Vick struggled because of poor pass protection

When the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly to be their next head coach, one of the first thoughts that popped into peoples’ minds was that Michael Vick’s career could be saved. Kelly turned Oregon into a national contender by running an up-tempo spread offense, and Vick is arguably the most athletic quarterback in the NFL. If anyone is going to resurrect his career, it could be Kelly.

As of now, it sounds like Kelly intends to go with Vick as his starting quarterback. He’s pinning a lot of what happened last season on poor offensive line play.

“The one thing I think with a quarterback is they get too much blame when things don’t go well and they get too much praise when things do go well,” Kelly told WIP’s Angelo Cataldi on Tuesday. “But which Michael Vick do you have? The guy in 2010 who is the comeback player of the year and is running all over the field making great decisions? A lot of that because he’s clean in protection, he’s not getting hit immediately after he’s getting the snap.

“The one thing, when I watched the film and I saw Michael last year, you just kind of almost felt bad for him, is you lost four lineman to season ending injuries. There is a comfort level when you are playing quarterback when Jason Peters is your left tackle. There is not as much of a comfort level if I’m playing left tackle. So when you’re worried about a guy coming off the edge before you can get to the top of your drop and make a throw, then that’s a tough thing to do.”

There is a lot of truth to that. Vick has taken a beating over the past couple of seasons. That being said, his decision making has also been horrendous. Some of his poor throws were the result of pressure, but others were forced into triple-coverage. If Vick is going to succeed again as the Eagles’ starter, there will have to be a balance. His protection needs to be better and his decisions need to be more sound. Otherwise, Nick Foles could be the man for the job.

Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the interview
Photo credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Chip Kelly drops ‘Wedding Crashers’ reference in denying reports that he was close to deal with Browns

Chip-Kelly-EaglesWhen it was first rumored that Chip Kelly would be leaving Oregon to coach at the NFL level, a number of conflicting reports surfaced that may have been caused by bad reporting, a smokescreen from Kelly’s camp, or both. First, he was supposed to interview with the Cleveland Browns. Then it became obvious that the Philadelphia Eagles were making a run at Kelly, but word surfaced that he was returning to Oregon. And now here we are.

Kelly may have planned to interview with the Browns at some point, but the former Ducks coach insists any reports about him ever having been close to a deal with Cleveland are bogus. When asked about those reports on Thursday, he made a fantastic movie reference.

Dude just went up 10 pegs in my eyes. Anyone who drops a Jeremy Grey reference in the middle of talking to reporters is a winner in my book. I don’t care if that offense Michael Vick is excited about works or not. Chip’s the man.

H/T The Big Lead

Michael Vick excited about Chip Kelly; thinks he can rush for 1,000 yards

Michael Vick recently restructured his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles to make it more cap-friendly, and early indications are that he will have yet another chance to resurrect his career now that Chip Kelly is running the show. As we know, Kelly’s spread offense at Oregon relied on having a mobile quarterback. If he is looking to recreate that approach at the NFL level, Vick could be a valuable asset in Philly.

How valuable? In an appearance on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on Tuesday, Vick said he will be looking to regain his status as one of the “elite” quarterbacks in the league when the 2013 season begins. And he’s setting his sights high.

“In 2006, I ran for 1,000 yards — and it wasn’t hard,” Vick said, via Pro Football Talk. “I feel like I still can do that … Once you start trying not to get hurt, that’s when you get hurt. I think I have to go out, play lights-out football, and not worry about getting hurt.”

Health will obviously be the biggest concern, as usual. Kelly insists that Vick and second-year quarterback Nick Foles will have an open competition for the starting job during training camp, but Vick is owed a base salary of $7 million in 2013 with his new deal. That’s the type of money a starter earns — not a backup. Assuming he does win the job, Vick feels as though he and Kelly will be effective together.

“I could tell that he was innovative, and that’s what it’s all about in this league,” Vick said of Kelly. “You have to be able to change up from week to week and I think Chip will be able to do that. I think I can handle that.”

The question is can his body handle it. That 2006 season with the Atlanta Falcons that Vick referenced is the only time in his career he has played in all 16 games. However, you could argue that Kelly’s run-and-gun offense will help protect Vick from taking some of the hits he took last year while standing in the pocket. Spread offenses can mask poor offensive line play and leave quarterbacks less susceptible to big hits. The prospect of Kelly and Vick paired together is exciting, even if history isn’t on Vick’s side.

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Eagles C Jason Kelce: We thought Michael Vick was done until Chip Kelly hiring

With Chip Kelly having agreed to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, one of the questions on everyone’s mind is what his hiring will mean for the future of Michael Vick. Before Kelly’s arrival, it was widely assumed that Vick had played his last game in Philadelphia. The Eagles can release Vick prior to Feb. 6 without having to pay him any money, but has he become a valuable piece of Kelly’s future plan?

According to Eagles center Jason Kelce, most people on the team thought Vick would be gone before Kelly was hired. Now, they aren’t so sure.

“That is the first thing that popped into my mind because I think, obviously, the outlook after the season was everybody thought Mike would kind of be out of here,” Kelce told Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo on ESPN Radio. “But yeah, you look at Oregon’s offense and obviously Mike kind of fits that mold a little bit. Now, whether we run the exact same offense that they run at Oregon, that’s still up for debate. I mean, he said already, I guess, that the offense that he runs will be dictated based upon the personnel that he has. So I guess we’ll find that out in a few more months.”

Kelly’s offense at Oregon was fast. Say what you will about Vick and his inability to stay healthy or throw the ball with accuracy on a consistent basis, but he certainly has the gift of speed. If Kelly can somehow incorporate Vick into his spread offense without making him susceptible to the types of hits that shortened his season last year, he could make Philly’s offense a dangerous new weapon. As we know, all of that will be much easier said than done.

Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the interview
Photo credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Chip Kelly reportedly headed to Eagles

On third thought, Chip Kelly will reportedly become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles after all. In another surprising turn of events from what has been an offseason filled with a whirlwind of changing information, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Wednesday that Kelly and the Eagles have reached an agreement. Oregon University confirmed the news on Twitter.

A little over a week ago, several reports surfaced that indicated Kelly had decided to stay at Oregon after interviewing with the Eagles and the Cleveland Browns. That news came just days after NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Kelly was “very close” to a deal with the Browns.

Even before the Eagles officially fired Andy Reid, Philadelphia was fully expected to heavily pursue Kelly to become its next head coach. They were clearly persistent, and it’s possible that Chip changed his mind about coaching in the NFL over the past several days or the Eagles’ brass presented him with a better offer. As Around the League pointed out, a tweet sent out by Nico Fallah, an Oregon recruit who has since committed to USC, indicated that Kelly was still actively recruiting earlier this week.

I’ll be anxious to see how Kelly reacts to life in the NFL. Chip is 46-7 in his four years as the head coach at Oregon, and he has turned the program into a national powerhouse with a spread offense that is built around speed. As we know, players on the defensive side of the ball are much faster in the NFL than they are at the college level. They’re also a lot smarter. If Kelly tries to bring Oregon’s offense to the NFL, I’m not convinced he’ll have much success with it.

Chip Kelly reportedly returning to Oregon

For the second year in a row, Chip Kelly appears to be returning to Oregon despite seriously considering taking a head coaching job in the NFL.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that Kelly decided to return to Oregon, and several other reporters/outlets confirmed the report.

Kelly interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, according to reports. He was even said to be close to accepting the Browns’ offer, but that obviously did not happen.

Last year, Kelly accepted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job before deciding to return to Oregon.

Kelly is among the finest coaches in college football. He has gone 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon and has led the team to BCS bowl games each year.

There are few details explaining why Kelly decided to return to the Ducks despite interviewing for a few vacancies in the NFL. ESPN says Kelly “decided he wasn’t comfortable leaving the college game.” My guess is he looked at the two jobs — Philadelphia and Cleveland — and realized at best he’d probably be around .500 for the next two seasons, which would mar his reputation. If I were in his situation, I’d want jobs with more potential than those two seem to offer.

Oregon could be facing potential sanctions from the NCAA, which is another reason why Kelly may have been considering leaving the school.

I’d also like to hear an explanation from NFL Network/NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport who said on Friday that Kelly was “very close” to a deal with the Browns. What happened in 48 hours since then? Did he have bad information on Friday, or did something change with Kelly?

Chip Kelly reportedly will interview for Browns job

While Nick Saban is reportedly rebuffing NFL teams, Chip Kelly seems interested in seeing what is available.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday that Kelly is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns after his Oregon Ducks compete in the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State on Thursday. Rapoport says the interview will likely be on Friday or over the weekend. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot confirmed the report, and she says the interview is expected to be on Friday.

Rapoport also says Kelly would not require total control.

Browns CEO Joe Banner and team owner Jimmy Haslam reportedly are in Arizona, which is where the Fiesta Bowl is taking place. They reportedly interviewed Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton for their job, which also satisfies the Rooney Rule. The team fired head coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert earlier this week.

Kelly accepted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job last year before ultimately deciding to return to Oregon for a fourth season. Based on that knowledge plus his willingness to talk to teams, it seems like a strong possibility that he ultimately decides to jump to the NFL.

Kelly took over a strong program from Mike Bellotti in 2009 and led the Ducks to even more success. He has led the program to four straight BCS bowl games, including two Rose Bowl appearances and a national championship game appearance. He has pioneered an extraordinarily fast-paced offense that he would likely try to install wherever he decides to go if he leaves.

If I were in Kelly’s situation, the Browns are not a team I would be eager to coach. I would definitely want to work with a more proven, mobile quarterback. Carolina seems like it would be a great fit for him.