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Michael Vick Has LeSean McCoy in His Corner, but Will He Get Chip Kelly's Endorsement?

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COMMENTARY | Considering the money the Philadelphia Eagles are paying him this season, it would almost seem foolish if they didn't make Michael Vick the starting quarterback.

That decision will fall to Chip Kelly, of course, and having followed the Oregon Ducks closely during Kelly's time in Eugene, Ore., I can tell you with no uncertainty that the Birds' new coach won't be forthcoming with information about who his starting quarterback will be this fall.

He might already be leaning one way or another, but we won't get even a hint as to which way that is. Not for a while, at least. Maybe not even until the fall.

The Eagles' star running back, LeSean McCoy, wasn't shy about endorsing Vick as the team's starter, telling that he got an up-close view of the quarterback's determination during a recent workout.

"People forget -- this is Michael Vick," McCoy told the Star-Ledger. "He's got a lot to prove this year, but he's ready to roll. He knows people are questioning if he can get it done, and he's gonna prove this year he can."

For now, all we have is speculation, but I have some reservations about whether Vick will ultimately excel in Kelly's offense. True, we don't even know what, exactly, that offense will look like in Philadelphia, but I'm assuming it'll be a variation of the spread-option attack he ran so successfully at Oregon, with inside and outside zone reads and plenty of running plays to set up the pass.

And I assume it'll be fast, fast, fast.

Those seem like relatively safe assumptions, considering elements of Kelly's offense made their way to the NFL before he did, with the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers most notably bringing in bits and pieces of Kelly's scheme.

While Vick has often been at his best in the NFL when plays have broken down and he was forced to create, I still question whether his on-field decision-making is sharp enough to succeed in a spread-option attack, particularly if Kelly sticks with the up-tempo, no-huddle version he ran with the Ducks.

Being a quarterback for Kelly is about much more than just having the ability to run, as many analysts have suggested. Vick will have to be able to read defenses, communicate plays at the line, make the right decision after the snap, execute believable ball fakes -- without fumbling, please -- and do it all on the fly with no time for huddling, talking, thinking.

Some of those things Vick does well. Others, not so much. It'll be interesting -- and, heck, it'll probably be the storyline heading into training camp and the season -- to see whether Kelly's influence can put Vick in a position to succeed in the new coach's offense.

Kelly has repeated that he will adjust his playbook to fit the talents of his personnel. I saw him do this repeatedly and with success at Oregon, so I believe he'll do it in Philly, too. But the base elements of his offense -- the fast pace, the zone reads -- will no doubt remain.

Will Vick excel in the new system, or is it just a matter of time before Nick Foles or someone else is running the show?


Adam Sparks has followed the Philadelphia Eagles since the 1980s, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2010.

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