Is Chip Kelly a fit for the Eagles?

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
3:00
PM ET
After his Oregon Ducks took apart Kansas State on Thursday night in the Fiesta Bowl, Chip Kelly's next project is a series of interviews with NFL teams looking for a head coach. One of the teams interested in Kelly is the Philadelphia Eagles, who are also talking to several other candidates. As Kelly's name continues to be kicked around, Chris Sprow offers this Insider analysisInsider of which teams would be the best fits for the hottest college coaching candidate on the NFL market. Chris does not list the Eagles among his top three fits for Kelly, but he does address them as a possibility down below:
Michael Vick won't be back -- or could he be? That's at issue if Kelly is a target, because for all of his faults -- and for all of the questions of whether he could even hold up in a system that required him to take the occasional hit -- Vick would be a fascinating QB in a Kelly-coached offense. Nick Foles on the other hand -- not so much.

As I have written a few times, I think this is an oversimplification. Not only does it assume a level of speed and effective mobility Vick hasn't shown since 2010, it assumes that Kelly would want to transplant the same kind of speed-based option offense he's using at Oregon into his NFL job. I think any team that assumes this is hiring Kelly for the wrong reasons. If you like Kelly, you like him because he's a nimble, innovative offensive mind who would, upon arrival, assess his new roster and determine the best way to design an offense to fit its strengths. The Eagles, for example, have a ton of speed on offense even if Foles is the quarterback, and surely there's a way for a smart offensive coach to take advantage of that without having to roll the quarterback out of the pocket all the time.

It also ignores the significant financial reasons the Eagles have for cutting ties with Vick, but that's neither here nor there. This is about Kelly as a coach.

If you watched the Fiesta Bowl, you could clearly see what Kelly's done at Oregon -- recruit the fastest athletes he could find and install a system designed to take advantage of the fact that his opponents can't match him for speed. Kelly's surely smart enough to know he can't do that in the NFL, where the talent level is completely different and everyone has speed on offense and defense.

For that reason, I don't think any of us is qualified to speculate on whether Kelly could (or would want to) make something out of Foles. There are a number of reasons Kelly might like Foles and a number of reasons he might dislike him. But I highly doubt that he'd turn down the Eagles job -- or be unsuccessful in it -- just because Foles can't run like Vick.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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