The Philadelphia Eagles already made their decision on their starting quarterback for 2013. But although the Eagles are bringing back Michael Vick, they know they need at least a few backup plans. The one with Nick Foles had mixed results in 2012, so Philadelphia is bringing in more support in former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon.
According to ESPN on Feb. 14, the Eagles signed Dixon to a two-year deal. Dixon never took the field last season for the world champion Baltimore Ravens, and never got the chance since he was on the practice squad. Nevertheless, since Dixon was the quarterback in Chip Kelly’s first season as Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2007, this is seen as a big and potentially revealing reunion.
If Vick doesn’t reward the Eagles for their leap of faith, then it would leave them with Foles to turn to. He isn’t considered an ideal fit for Kelly’s option offense, which could make his future in Philadelphia uncertain. Therefore, it may give Dixon room to rise as Vick’s backup, and to give the Eagles another mobile quarterback as an option -- one who happens to be familiar with Kelly.
Despite their history together, Dixon and Kelly haven’t worked together in years and things have changed quite a bit since then. In 2007, Kelly was still a few years away from becoming head coach, while Dixon would go on to only play four games in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What’s more, Dixon missed the end of the 2007 season due to injury, which derailed his Heisman candidacy and the Ducks’ national title hopes.
The Eagles hope that Vick or any other quarterback won’t get hurt in Kelly’s high risk offense. Yet no matter who’s calling the plays, Vick is always a threat to get himself injured. Trusting Foles to take over for him is a risky proposition, even with all his recent experience. But if Philadelphia trusts an inexperienced quarterback from the practice squad even more, it will put the offense on a greater tight wire.
The Eagles bought into a high risk, high reward scenario when they hired Kelly and kept Vick. Yet they know that Kelly and Vick can be highly rewarding at their best, whereas Dixon hasn’t really had the chance to do so in the NFL. However, if all goes well for Philadelphia, it will never have to give him the chance.