July 22 is the start of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ training camp, and already head coach Chip Kelly is throwing the faithful Eagles fans into confusion. He did this by inviting a quarterback controversy into the Eagles roster. Not only do the Eagles have second stringer Nick Foles, but Kelly has added Matt Barkley and his old college favorite, Dennis Dixon. They also have a fifth QB in K.J. Ginne, but he isn’t really part of the starting QB discussion. What is Kelly going to do with all these quarterback options?
It could be argued that the Eagles offensive line has been so pathetic that the birds may need all five quarterbacks. The debate in Philly has always been, is Michael Vick not reading the defense like he should, or is the offensive line not protecting like they can? Or is it a twisted combination of both? As long as Vick starts, he will be riddled with accusations about having the most fumbles as a quarterback. Last year he had fifteen in ten games and four of them were in the red zone. Will Vick flourish under Kelly’s offense?
If he can’t, then who will lead the Eagles down the field? There is the rookie Barkley who was a consistent quarterback for the University of Southern California for four years and established himself as a good pocket passer. He is a Heisman trophy winner and threw for over 12,000 yards for the Trojans. But Kelly’s fast paced, equal opportunity offense may not be the best fit for the traditional quarterback. Only time will tell.
There is also Dixon, a longtime favorite for Kelly when he coached for the University of Oregon. The two were an unstoppable force of offense for the Ducks in 2007. Dixon spoke of the importance of speed as well as efficiency to reporters during the Eagles spring training sessions. As a backup quarterback for Ben Roethlisberger, and then for the Baltimore Ravens, at times, he has exhibited the quick decisiveness that Kelly prizes in a passer. Dixon ran Kelly’s pistol offense effectively and adds pressure to Vick and Foles in the quarterback race.
Since the Eagles had their worst season in a while last year, winning only four games, Kelly is facing the flames. Establishing the future quarterback is vital for the Eagles to get back to dominating the NFC East. In the near future, Vick, Foles, Barkley and Dixon will be competing for the top spot. It is in hopes of finding a glaring solution to the losses that have hung over the Philadelphia skyline since last season, and Kelly’s first test as a head coach.