Dennis Dixon Update & The DC Timeline

Posted: February 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 57 Comments »

Geoff Mosher reported on Twitter that the Eagles are talking to QB Dennis Dixon about joining the team.  Dixon was on the Ravens practice squad.  As soon as the Super Bowl was over, he was free to sign a “futures contract” with any team.  Here is Mosher’s full column on the negotiations.

So what’s the deal with Dixon?

Don’t over-read this.  Dixon would come here to be part of the QB depth chart, but not anything more than that.  Is it possible that he could come here and magically thrive in Chip Kelly’s offense and prove to be a great find?  Possible, but very, very unlikely.  Check out his game logs to see just how little he’s played in the NFL.  He’s been in the league for 5 years and has thrown a total of 59 passes.  Chances are…that’s for a reason.

The argument for his success is that some QBs have sat for a while before blossoming.  Tony Romo didn’t play for 2 years.  In his first year on the active roster, he was just a holder.  It wasn’t until his fourth season in the league that he got on the field as a QB.  Romo had played well in the preseason so it isn’t as if he came out of the blue.  Dallas was developing him slowly.  Brad Johnson was drafted in 1992.  He didn’t get on the field until 1994 and didn’t start a game until 1996, when he was age 28.

Dixon just turned 28 last month, which means he’s almost as old as guys like Mike Patterson and Danny Watkins.  Crazy, huh.  Dixon should have a lot of tread left on the tire.  Dixon has spent time in Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  Those are good organizations.  The fact that Dixon is still spending time on a practice squad at age 28 tells you he is willing to work hard to make it.

Here are some quick pre-draft notes I had on Dixon:

Tall, mobile guy. Elusive on the run or in the pocket. Has pretty good downfield vision. Can be accurate downfield. Executes fakes very well. Accurate on intermediate throws. Sort of flicks the ball, but is on time and on target. Poor man’s Vince Young. Must get his feet set to have any power. Tore his ACL late in the season. Was arguably the front runner for the Heisman at the time.

I didn’t spend a lot of time writing about him due to the ACL tear.  I figured that would kill his value.  Prior to the injury, I thought he had a shot to go in the 3rd round or possibly even the late 2nd.

I haven’t studied Dixon’s NFL career super-closely so I don’t know why he’s struggled to find a spot.  We can talk about a crowded roster or how he’s not been a good fit, but the most basic possibility is that he just wasn’t good enough.  NFL teams normally find a way to work in a QB that flashes big time talent.

If Dixon does get signed, most likely he’s coming here to simply challenge for a backup role.  There is no guarantee he even makes the roster.  He does know Chip Kelly and he does have the skill set that Kelly loves in a QB.  Dixon only played one season for Kelly at Oregon and that was when Chip was just the Offensive Coordinator.  However, Dixon goes back to Oregon on a regular basis and he and Kelly are friendly.  Dixon has remained somewhat close to the Oregon program.

It isn’t a lock that Dixon comes to Philly.  Bruce Arians is now the HC in Arizona.  Arians coached Dixon in Pittsburgh and oversaw Dixon’s only NFL start.  Dixon might actually be closer to Arians than he is Kelly.  The fact that Dixon is talking to the Eagles already makes me think he has genuine interest in coming here and trying to get back to the glorious form he had in his final season at Oregon, no matter how great a long shot that truly is.

Here’s a good video to show you just how good he was back then.  He completed 68 percent of his passes.  20 TDs, 4 INTs.  Averaged 5.6 yards per carry and ran for 9 TDs in just 9 games.  Oregon averaged 43 points per game and went 8-1 in those games.

* * * * *

So what’s up with the DC timeline?  No rumors yet?

The Ravens just held their Super Bowl parade today.  You’d want the coach to spend the day celebrating with his team and clearing his head to come give you his best interview in the next couple of days.

The Niners didn’t get home from New Orleans until sometime early Monday.  Flying west to east is not fun and you’d want the coach to have a day or so to relax, clear his head, and then head back east for the interview.

The fact we’ve heard nothing isn’t a surprise.  I think Wednesday we should hear some rumors about guys coming in for a visit or something like that.  If we don’t, then maybe we are in fact waiting for a college coach.  There is a report on Twitter tonight that the Saints will interview Georgia’s Todd Grantham on Thursday.

The key here is that Wednesday is national signing day, the day when recruits sign a letter of intent to say which college they’re headed to.  Reportedly multiple NFL teams are waiting to make coaching announcements until after Wednesday, so as not to hurt recruiting for the schools the coaches currently work for.  I’m not real fond of this, but that’s the ugly side of football.

I don’t have a good feel for this situation and who we’re going to hire.  The longer it goes with no new NFL rumors, the more I think it might be a college coach.

* * * * *

Gimpy posted a new MAQB column where he took a look back at the Super Bowl.  Check out his thoughts.  He has a great stat in regard to Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning.  Really blew my mind.

_


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Jason LaCanfora just now on twitter:

    “In regards to that Grantham interview wi/ Saints, I continue to hear the Georgia DC could end up with the Eagles. Chip Kelly thinks highly…

    • D-von

      Yeah but this is the same guy who said no coach wanted to coach with eagles b/c of roseman. This info is still valuable though

    • TommyLawlor

      Missed that. Very interesting.

  • Iskar36

    Did anyone else notice the play at 2:38 in the Dixon highlight video where all 5 of the Olineman just dive at the knees of the 4 defenders?

    • TommyLawlor

      That is precision cut-blocking. Impressive.

    • Ark87

      It is crazy looking as synchronized as they are. Would that even be legal in the nfl? I know defensive players with the nflpa have a seething hatred for that block.

      • Iskar36

        I think one on one, an Olineman can cut block like that. It is only illegal when someone cut blocks a guy that was already engaged. So I’m not sure about how that is actually worded in the rules, but my guess is that with 4 olineman diving at the knees of 3 defenders, somewhere there is a penalty.

        • Anders

          no, 4 OL is allowed to cut block 3 DL at the same time. As you said its illegal to cut block (or chop as the penalty is called) if he is already engaged

  • http://twitter.com/ViniEagles Vinícius Gonçalves

    Steelers drafted Dixon and they win a Super Bowl ring. Then, he goes to the Ravens and what happened? They win a Super ring.
    Sign him now!!!

    • TommyLawlor

      Brilliant.

    • Ark87

      The other thing that works: have doubters, then publicly insist you are an elite QB, followed by mass ridicule. Seems to be the most recent formula for success. So which of our lackluster QB’s has the stones to make that bold statement?

      • Cliff

        Didn’t we try that with Vick?

        Heck, we tried that with McNabb too!

      • D3FB

        Whatever you do, at all costs do not imply that your team is somehow great before the season starts. Do not mention that you are a dynasty or dream team or even a group of demigods. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

        • Ark87

          Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure Lurie installed some South Park-style V-chips in the players due to these recent years.

    • Homer Frizzell

      Perfect. (Are you FakeWIPCaller?)

    • P_P_K

      Ravens switch Juan back to offense and he gets a ring. Let’s bring him back.

  • D-von

    Im leaning toward a college coach. Monachino said that he was a 4-3 guy so idk if thats what chip wants. My dark horse candidate is Nick Allioti

    • Ark87

      I think we have all sort have accepted we are going to a 3-4, but there is no question, the best chance of the Eagles D being any good next year is with a 4-3 front, and it’s debatable which would be better in the long run. At this point I wonder if we can modify one of Tommy’s sayings to fit the situation: “Think players, not plays”—->”Hire the coach, not the scheme.”

  • D-von

    Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
    New Orleans plans to hire former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan as its new defensive coordinator, per league sources.

    • TommyLawlor

      Other reporters are saying that is not a done deal.

      • D-von

        I just hope he doesn’t sign with the eagles

        • TommyLawlor

          Not heard a word about Rob coming here. Doesn’t seem like a Chip Kelly type of guy.

  • ian_no_2

    You can overrate other coaches’ opinions. In PGH, he was stuck behind Big Ben, and Batch is a reliable fill-in. Last year no one wanted to take the risk on him which surprised me. The fact that he fell to the 5th round after the injury meant no one was under pressure to show he was a good investment.

    I saw him play the game against the Ravens and he looked ok until the pick which looked bad and was crucial to the game. He’s really played two full games – the next one was much better.

    I really have a good vibe about him. He’s likely the best QB that wasn’t on a roster last year, and has the tools to succeed in this offense, which needs him to call plays and run a little. I certainly trust Kelly’s capacity to evaluate him, with input from NFL guys.

    • TommyLawlor

      I do think Chip is the guy who can bring out the best in Dixon. We just don’t know what that is.

      • aub32

        Do you think there’s even a remote chance Kelly can do with Vick what he did with Dixon? I know Kelly says he doesn’t need a mobile QB, but I tend to think the pursuit of Dixon shows that he might prefer one.

        • ian_no_2

          My guess is that Kelly is wondering that himself, watching film thinking “that would be neat,” figuring out what he can do and how much it is worth. The down side is that he doesn’t like the small hands and playcalling a hurry up.

          • Anders

            Vick was actually at his best when the Eagles played hurry up and I think the small hands thing is overblown in regards to Kelly. I think sacks and turnovers are a bigger problem

          • aub32

            I think the turnovers can be brought down if he’s not throwing 35+ times a game, and the pass rush respects the run game.

          • Anders

            Agree. Its funny original I was on the cut Vick wagon, but the last few days Im moving towards, “hey lets see what Kelly can do with him”

  • NoDecaf

    Awesome insight as always.

  • Chris

    If we do in fact sign Grantham as the DC I don’t feel he is being devious about waiting until after Letter of Intent day simply because to me it seems like he is being loyal to Georgia as a whole before leaving for the pros. Thoughts on being loyal to the program vs college recruits? Also, how much impact do college DCs have on incoming recruits vs a college HC?

    • TommyLawlor

      Coaches tell kids to choose the school and not the coaching staff, but that’s semi-nuts. Assistant coaches do a ton of recruiting. HCs are the closers. They go in and meet the parents of top prospects and get the kid to make a verbal commitment. Assistants do the leg-work.

      I don’t think it is very ethical to sell a kid on your college, knowing that you’re getting ready to leave. If you don’t sell yourself as a big part of the pitch, that makes things better, but I think most kids would say that it’s implied that the coach will be there.

      • Iskar36

        I agree it is unethical. That being said, you have repeated a few times whether or not that is a guy you want to be your DC. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I get the sense you really prefer “likeable” guys, both coaches and players. For me though, while a likeable guy is certainly nice, I just want a good coach. So while I fully agree it is totally unethical to sell a kid on a program based on you being there with knowledge that you are leaving for another job, I don’t think it has a strong influence on whether I will be excited about the coach or not from an Eagles-fan standpoint.

        To me, if a college coach is doing that, I will view him as a jerk and an unlikeable guy, but “likeability” doesn’t seem to have a strong correlation with success as a coach in the NFL. Some of the best coaches are very likeable, and some are absolutely hated, but still get the job done.

        Maybe that makes me a bad person…. haha.

      • RC5000

        So you get a job offer that is much better for you and your family after national signing day, you would not take it because you just went through recruiting. As far as I know he did not have an interview yet or get a job offer. And what about the freshman under Chip Kelly last year ? And how about all these other reported hires like McGovern, Lazor? Just some things to think about.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Riccardi/100000855463486 Michael Riccardi

        T-Law are you saying that coaches are implicitly telling kids they recruit that they’ll be there for the next 4-5 yrs? I think that’s unrealistic, especially when it comes to coordinators and position coaches.

    • SleepingDuck

      I don’t feel he is being deceitful either. He’s going to meet with the Saints on Thursday meaning that there wasn’t already a deal in place with the Eagles implying that he didn’t already have one foot out the door at Georgia. And because of that I don’t feel he would be lying to the kids since he wouldn’t know if he would be making the leap to the NFL. I hope that made sense.

      • RC5000

        It is both good and bad…coaches could leave next year also. They should also have education as a priority though they all do not. It’s ugly and the best coaches are more secure but there are also mid to bad programs where the head coach and entire staff could get fired or move up to a better program.

      • Iskar36

        I can see your logic, but the argument against it is that there is no reason he couldn’t have started this process earlier with NFL teams. The NFL teams I am sure would have preferred to have had the interviews much earlier so that they could fill the DC position if they felt Grantham was their guy. By starting interviews on Thursday, he is locking in his recruiting class and then trying to find a job in the NFL.

        • RC5000

          It’s only been two weeks since Spagnuolo was fired hasn’t it?

  • dropscience

    “Poor man’s Vince Young”

    I’m sold.

    • TommyLawlor

      That was a great compliment at that time. How things change, huh?

    • A_T_G

      So he is going to make damning comments to the press, but without wearing any bling?

      • Ark87

        He said a Poor man’s Vince Young, not an impoverished Vince Young (which is redundant :-D).

        • D3FB

          As long as he doesn’t take his own bottle of Patron to go hang out with Lendale White at TGI Fridays, I think we will be ok.

    • ian_no_2

      If Young had better attitude, watched more film, tried to work with coaches more and learn defenses, he would be a top NFL QB. He is/was a stubborn prima donna who could gut out games based on his talent and instincts, unable to make adjustments to the way teams strategized against him (the last trait he shares with Vick). Dixon can prove that he’s better than Young because he’s different between the ears, and his arm isn’t necessarily worse than Young’s.

  • Ark87

    Hey tommy, roob did a piece on who he thinks will be gone on offense vs who he thinks will stay. Found this interesting:

    Stanley Havili: Was effective when healthy but probably not a fit under Kelly. Goes.

    Seems to me Stan has great versatility and upside. Does Chip not use FB’s, or does he just prefer the big bruisers who only block. Or is Roob full of crap?

    • D3FB

      He also refers to Damaris as a “speedster”, said Kelly played better at guard than tackle, and thinks Watkins will be cut. There was nothing of value in that article.

      • Ark87

        I’ll place your vote squarely in the “Roob is full of crap” column, right next to mine.

  • ACViking

    Re: D-Dixon

    Watching those highlights, you’d think Oregon’s offensive scheme had the QB run only infrequently.

    (This is a strictly ironic comment)

  • Mac

    What if they’re waiting till after the Super Bowl to interview Juan Castillo?

    • Cliff

      YES.

  • ACViking

    Re: Darron Thomas, ex-Ducks QBs

    T-Law:

    If you’re C-Kelly, would you sign former Oregon QB Darron Thomas (now in Canada)?

    Thomas has some size, also knows how CK likes things done — getting Oregon to the (still-and-always mythical) National Championship game. Though I see from your SNB notes from 2012, he ran a pedestrial 4.80 at the Combine.

    Just curious.

    By the way . . . the runways in Athens are quiet.

    • TommyLawlor

      Excellent airport update. Keep your eyes out.

  • xeynon

    O/T, but I see that the Giants just released Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Canty. Don’t have much interest in Bradshaw as he’d be redundant with McCoy and Brown already on the roster, but should we consider bringing in Canty as veteran depth on the DL? He has experience as a 3-4 end from his days in Dallas and shouldn’t cost too much, and along with Jenkins could provide a stopgap guy until we get a younger player to put in opposite Fletcher Cox.

  • ACViking

    Re: 3-4 v. 4-3 / Free Agents

    Seems to me that 2013 is Chip Kelly’s best and maybe only season to tear things down and rip out the deadwood . . . so he can implement his systems on offense and defense and start collecting CHIP KELLY-type players to grow up in his system.

    That suggests the right moves are:

    (i) change over to the base 3-4, with its many hydra-headed variations (assuming that CK’s plan), and if the current roster doesn’t have the players to make Kelly’s defense work, find new players [same goes for offense]; and

    (ii) stay away from free agency except for the five-and-dime types like Dennis Dixon, i.e., very hungry players who can still be molded to fit CK’s vision.

    While the current defensive personnel may be much better suited for a 4-3, the same argument could be made that the offensive personnel are best suited — repeat, *best suited* — for a WCO.

    But I don’t think anyone doubts the Eagles will be undergoing a dramatic face-lift in terms of the their offensive scheme.

    Why not the same on defense? It just may take more time.

    And that’s where wunderkind Howie Roseman comes in . . . per Lurie.

    • Anders

      100% agree. Tho if we are switching to a 3-4. Adding cheap veterans wouldnt hurt either (like Kemoeatu to play NT)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

      I agree in large part, even though I think it’s necessary to bring in some young players that fit the new scheme. I don’t remember who it was that mentioned Desmond Bryant, and I have a huge crush on him. He seems like a Chip Kelly kind of lineman.