The Philadelphia Eagles made big news on Feb. 11 when Michael Vick was resigned. However, while the Eagles were busy announcing that news, they also introduced Chip Kelly’s new coaching staff in the meantime. With Vick returning, these coaches will be more important than ever, especially new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
While the Vick signing broke out, Kelly and Shurmur fielded questions about their new partnership on Feb. 11. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted on Feb. 12, Kelly “wasn’t exactly forthright” when he answered questions about play-calling duties with a joke.
But despite Kelly’s joke that he would “call all the good plays” while Shurmur would “call the bad ones,” Shurmur projected that Kelly would be the full time play-caller anyway. However they decide to handle the offense, it will be under great scrutiny with Vick back in the mix.
Kelly’s option offense is supposed to be the ideal system for Vick, as well as the biggest reason why Philadelphia kept him. Will Kelly have full reign to make Vick over, and how much input will Shurmur have in the process?
Shurmur was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2008, back when Donovan McNabb was in charge. This would seem to make the coach more than qualified to help Vick, although he is not in his prime like McNabb was when Shurmur was around. In addition, his responsibility will be much greater in his return to Philadelphia.
Kelly and Shurmur have to create an offense that tailors to Vick’s strengths, while minimizing the risks to him. Yet coaches have tried to do this for Vick for years, and have usually come up short in the end like Andy Reid did. If those veterans failed, how much better can a rookie head coach and a former Cleveland Browns head coach do?
Shurmur said on Feb. 11 that “things haven’t been totally talked about” yet in regards to play calling. But when that conversation begins, the results will be very crucial to Vick, the Eagles and Kelly’s very future in the NFL.