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Commentary: Chip Kelly isn't dealing with exact science in quarterback search

By Bob Ford, The Philadelphia Inquirer Published: February 7, 2013

It is hard to believe, however, that Kelly won't want to use his offense eventually and, if that is the case, what's the point of coaching everyone else on the offense to a style of play that is going to be phased out? Foles is young, inexpensive, and talented enough to draw trade interest around the league.

Alex Smith. The 49ers aren't going to give away the quarterback who was replaced by Colin Kaepernick, but their bargaining position is hurt by the fact that everyone knows he has to go. On the free-agent market, if he landed there, Smith would incite a bidding war. The Eagles might get him by either means, but it would be costly, and Smith is coming off a season in which he suffered a concussion and lost his job. Among established NFL quarterbacks who might be available, he's the best option out there, though.

Draft a quarterback. Sure, and because what Kelly is looking for is not necessarily what all other teams are looking for, there are some guys who might be around well after the first round who could turn into something. There has been speculation about Florida State's E.J. Manuel, among others, including Matt Scott, who succeeded Foles at Arizona and ran the spread offense exceptionally well. The trick, as with Kelly himself, is transferring success at the college level to the pros. It's not an exact science.

Find an overlooked QB. Is that what the Eagles are doing in negotiating with Baltimore for practice team quarterback Dennis Dixon, who hasn't made a dent in the NFL in five seasons? Dixon, before tearing an anterior cruciate ligament, played part of his 2007 senior season under Kelly, who was in his first year as offensive coordinator for Oregon, so there's some familiarity there. Also on the Kelly radar is Darron Thomas, who took the Ducks to the BCS championship game and the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons, and signed last season with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.

In broad terms, those are the options. All of them present huge risks as well as potential rewards. Is that any different from what Vick brings to the table? Coaches like to believe they can be the key that unlocks the player. Vick, who will be 33 next season, is a veteran with intriguing possibilities.

Logic still says he won't be around when the season begins, but, given a chance Wednesday to make a clean break, the Eagles elected to hold on a little longer. Maybe it was more than just the fine print of the contract talking.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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