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Chip Kelly refutes stereotypes, won't rule out Vick, Foles

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

There's a stereotype you'll hear about Chip Kelly -- before the man the Eagles just hired as their new coach ever puts the headset on for his first regular-season game -- and his quarterbacks running the football a lot. Don't believe it: He'll make his offense work dependent on the personnel he has on his roster, not the other way around.

And if you don't believe me, just listen to the man himself.

"There's perception and there's reality. The perception is we run our quarterback all the time. The reality is, that's not the case," Kelly said during his introductory press conference Thursday. "One of the best qualities in a quarterback is durability, and a lot of that has to do with play calling. Our quarterback is not going to get the direct snap like Dick Kazmaier at Princeton did in the single wing and run it 25 times, I can tell you that."

This isn't breaking news: Kelly's openly espoused such beliefs before about the way his football teams play offense. His former players agree too: ex-Oregon offensive lineman and current Vikings player Geoff Schwartz wrote about Kelly's possible success at OutKickTheCoverage.com, noting Kelly's skills at "evolving and adapting the offense to fit the personnel" on his team. Kelly confirmed as much when asked Thursday about his plans with the Eagles roster.

"Part of what we do offensively is understanding what our personnel is and how do we maximize that?" Kelly said. "And what are their best traits? If you're going to ask someone to do something they are not capable of doing, obviously that's a recipe for disaster. We're going to analyze everyone that's in our program and our scheme … is always going to be personnel driven."

And when it comes to Philadelphia, the personnel has many potential looks. Particularly at quarterback, where both Michael Vick and Nick Foles -- two entirely different quarterbacks -- are on the roster. But Kelly isn't ruling out either one of them ... or anyone, for that matter.

"I'm going to look at everybody," Kelly said before indicating he'd throw a reporter out there if that reporter could throw the ball and run. Asked specifically about Vick, Kelly said, "There's nobody ruled in" and "nobody ruled out" just yet.

"I've followed Michael's career. I know what a talent he is," Kelly said. "There is nothing that's on the board right now, there's nothing that's off the board right now. Our sole focus and goal is we're going to put an offense on the field that's going to score points. Whoever that is, I don't know that.

"There's nobody ruled in, there's nobody ruled out right now."

Kelly provided similar answers when it came to Foles, noting that he's a "huge fan" of Foles from the days when the former Arizona quarterback went head-to-head against Kelly's Ducks.

"I know him because we played against him," Kelly said. "He's tough. It's an attribute that I think a lot of people don't understand of how hard it is and what toughness means to the quarterback spot. To just be able to stand in the pocket and throw the football -- we hit him as many times as we could hit him, and he just kept getting up and making plays. He completed a 15-yard, left-handed pass against us once and I just stood on the sidelines shaking my head."

There's literally no telling what direction Kelly will go when it comes to the quarterback position. Vick makes sense from an athletic standpoint, but he doesn't make sense from a ball-protection standpoint or perhaps even a decision-making standpoint. Foles is pretty much the opposite, although he has the nice advantage of being substantially cheaper than Vick.

Whatever the differences -- and there are many -- it's not as important what we see out of them as what Kelly sees. And what he sees doesn't have to be, contrary to popular belief, one thing out of his quarterback.

Of course, he'll want to get the personnel that best fits his ideal system. But assuming that Kelly's ideal system for what succeeded at Oregon is identical to what will succeed in Philadelphia is ignoring what makes Kelly such an attractive football coach: his willingness to adapt to the personnel he has on his roster.

 
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