Eagles offense will soar, one way or another

PHILADELPHIA

— Could Chip Kelly's Read Option have more of a Reid Option flavor to it next season?

Based on Monday's rather surprising turn of events at Philadelphia Eagles headquarters, it's possible. The new coach's decision to bring back Michael Vick, the man who started 35 games at quarterback for former coach Andy Reid from 2010 through last season, tells us that much.

But that's all it tells us. Vick is not even guaranteed a spot on the roster, much less a starting role, and Kelly's projected offense remains as mysterious as it was the day he was hired.

He says he doesn't necessarily need his quarterback to run, which is why he could make due with Nick Foles. But he's also intrigued by Vick's toughness, quick release, velocity and ability to make game-changing plays with his legs.

"If somebody misses the block up front and there is a [defensive lineman] running clean and you don't flinch and you still deliver the ball, or you throw the ball and it hits the receiver in the hands and it's tipped as an interception, that goes down on the quarterback as an interception," Kelly said, "but sometimes it's not the quarterback's fault.

"So when I was evaluating the tape and [offensive coordinator] Pat Shurmur was evaluating the tape and we were looking at his skill set. I think he still has a skill set. He can throw the football, he's got a quick release and obviously we know he can take off and run when necessary."

If Vick and Foles end up 1-2, the order shouldn't matter. Kelly would just have to make two laminated charts (that he would never have to worry about it getting wet on gamedays anyway because he calls two-point conversions by the seat of his pants) instead of one. There will be enough plays in Kelly's arsenal for any kind of competent quarterback.

He promises to adjust accordingly, based on the personnel available.

As far as that goes, look for his offense to be more like the one that set franchise scoring records for Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg four and five seasons ago

Providing they don't have major injuries, especially to key creators DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy (not to mention the guys who create their space, like Jason Peters, Todd Herremans and Jason Kelce), the Eagles will be dancing in opponents' end zones quite often in 2013.

A big reason they didn't last year is because not one of the above players made it through without missing time. McCoy, in fact, was the only one who didn't sustain a season-ending injury.

Whether opponents continue to outscore them is another issue that will be covered later, but the Eagles have an excellent chance to be an offensive juggernaut immediately.

Vick looks forward to running it.

Literally.

"In 2006 I ran for 1,000 yards," Vick said on the "Mike and Mike in the Morning" radio show Tuesday. "And it wasn't hard. The only thing you have to do is train. I feel like I can still do that. To what level, I don't know, but I feel like I can do it at a high level."

Vick will be 33 by the time the Eagles play their next game. He's already being chased down from behind by players who used to eat his dust.

Vick attributed last year's personal failures to playing too cautiously, which would indicate he broke a promise made to The Morning Call's readers last summer about playing "lights-out football."

He used that term again Tuesday on the radio.

"I think what I have to do is just go out and play lights-out football and not worry about getting hurt," he said. "I think over the last two years, I was trying to protect myself, trying to be sure that I was out on the football field with my teammates, just putting too much effort into not being injured."

With Kelly, however, the leash won't be as long, pardon the pun. If there is one certainty about how this offense will function under him, it's that Vick won't play enough snaps to turn the ball over 15 times in 10 games, like he did last season.

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