NEW ORLEANS -- Chip Kelly arrived at Oregon in 2007 as the offensive coordinator, and in his first season he was largely responsible for senior quarterback Dennis Dixon winning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors.
The Steelers took Dixon in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, and Kelly became Oregon's head coach in 2009. He held that job until earlier this month, when he was named Andy Reid's successor in Philadelphia.
Kelly has plenty to sort out in the coming weeks and months, and one of the biggest issues will be settling on a quarterback. The Eagles have to decide Michael Vick's future in the days following the Super Bowl. If they release him, it won't cost them anything outside the $4.2 million cap hit. Otherwise, they could owe Vick up to $3 million if he remains on the roster.
There's also second-year quarterback Nick Foles, whom Kelly has been a fan of dating back to Foles' time at the University of Arizona. But Foles is a traditional pocket passer and doesn't fit the mold of the Kelly offenses that we've seen at Oregon.
Which brings us back to Dixon. He's on the Ravens' practice squad, where he's responsible for running the scout team.
"I had to thank a number of coaches [for my success in college] because I started under center when I first got to [Oregon], and then things started to progress into Chip Kelly's [offense] towards my junior year," Dixon told CBSSports.com at Super Bowl media day. "But Chip Kelly had a lot to do with that, and I hope nothing but the best for him in the NFL and I know that whatever scheme that he brings he'll bring the best out of everybody."
We asked Dixon if he would want to play in Philadelphia, and he said, "If that time does come, but right now I'm very focused on the Super Bowl and giving my defense the best Colin Kaepernick possible."
That's the answer that he has to give, but it's reasonable to think he'd rather be fighting for a starting job instead of pretending to be the next opponent's quarterback. In fact, CSNPhilly.com's Geoff Mosher wrote Tuesday that "There are strong indications that Kelly won't waste too much time after the Super Bowl before reaching out to Dixon and bringing him to Philadelphia."
Mosher adds that "it would be stunning" if Kelly doesn't reach out to Dixon and make him the Eagles' first official signing in the days following the Super Bowl.
Much of the talk in New Orleans this week has been about the longevity of the read option, which, unlike the wildcat, many -- including Dixon -- seem to think isn't going anywhere soon.
"I agree [that the read option could be around for awhile]. The thing that brings the true zone read to life is a quarterback that can run and pass," Dixon told CBSSports.com. "You have to be able to pass -- you have to make sure the defense is on their toes. Once you have that dual-threat quarterback, it's kind of tough to stop."
For now, Dixon will continue to help the Ravens prepare for Kaepernick. But a week from now, he could be the Eagles' newest quarterback.
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