Eagles Offense Still Full of Questions

Will Kelly keep Vick on as his starting quarterback?

Will Kelly keep Vick on as his starting quarterback?

Today is May 28, 2013.

Is it too early to speculate what we will see from the Eagles and new head coach Chip Kelly on September 9 when they take on the Redskins in the season opener? The answer seems to depend on who you ask. There has been some grilling done regarding the defense and the apparent switch that is taking place from the 4-3 to the 3-4, but the overwhelming amount of the speculation is targeted at the offense.

The reason for that is all the uncertainty on that side of the ball. There are not many aspects of the offense that are clear at this point.

There is a classic quarterback battle being waged between second-year player Nick Foles and Michael Vick. There is also the intriguing presence of fourth-rounder Matt Barkley and also former Oregon signal caller Dennis Dixon. While Dixon is a long shot, Barkley was considered a top-10 pick a season ago and his position as the starter for the Birds could come sooner rather than later because he is 100% Kelly’s guy.

The question marks do not stop at the quarterback position. There are now four solid tight ends on the Eagles roster in Brent Celek, James Casey, Clay Harbor, and rookie second-rounder Zach Ertz. Kelly’s style of football has been likened to Bill Belichick in New England so it is safe to expect some multiple tight end sets but will the Birds feature four tight ends or will one of these guys end up on the outside looking in?

DeSean Jackson may have a slightly different role under Chip Kelly.

DeSean Jackson may have a slightly different role under Chip Kelly.

Another interesting group is at wide receiver. The Eagles currently have 12 and the only locks seem to be DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and even the way they are used may change. Despite how solid Jason Avant has been, he’s taken some snaps at cornerback in OTA’s which may mean a diminished receiving role. There is also the addition of Arrelious Benn (6’2, 220) who could look to supplant Riley Cooper as the Eagles’ big target receiver.

Then there is the offensive line. All the speculation about the quarterback could be for nothing if he is not properly protected. That was evident last year when observing the Eagles’ patchwork line put together in light of a rash of injuries.

Jason Peters appears ready to resume his role as an All-Pro left tackle. Expect him to be joined by Evan Mathis at left guard and Jason Kelce back under center. The right side is still somewhat unclear. The obvious route is to move Todd Herremans back inside to the right guard position to allow first-round pick Lane Johnson to play right tackle. However, Johnson has yet to take first-team snaps with those going to second-year man Dennis Kelly. Also still in the picture is 2011 first-rounder guard Danny Watkins who could shake things up on the right side if he finds his aggression and potential.

The only real lock on the offense seems to be at running back. LeSean McCoy will lead that group backed up by Bryce Brown and most likely veteran and former Dallas Cowboy Felix Jones.

So the picture is unclear, but what about the system?

Ron Jaworski is not confident that Chip Kelly's offense will work in the NFL.

Ron Jaworski is not confident that Chip Kelly’s offense will work in the NFL.

There is even more uncertainty there. Former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski voiced his skepticism with Chip Kelly’s offense in a recent interview with 97.5 The Fanatic. Jaws is worried about the lack of NFL passing concepts utilized by Kelly at Oregon and does not see it translating to the NFL.

Kelly and his staff have made it clear that it would be a mistake to look at Oregon’s offense and think you know what the Eagles are going to do under Kelly. Despite this, Jaws did so anyway. Perhaps Jaworski is not buying Kelly’s claims and thinks the new Eagles coach is a one-trick pony and has nothing new to show NFL teams.

Hopefully by the start of camp, the picture will be a lot clearer.

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