A Good Look at Chip Kelly’s Offense

Posted: July 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 58 Comments »

Dan Gonzalez isn’t an Oregon fan or an Eagles fan. He is a good football writer and loves to break down the X’s and O’s of the game, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Luckily for us, he decided to take a look at the Oregon offense.

Make sure to go read the post. He’s got pictures of plays that will illustrate what he’s seeing and why he likes certain elements.  Here are a couple of excerpts.

Few systems have captured the imagination of a fan base the way Coach Kelly did at Oregon; it is no understatement to say that Oregon’s attack has influenced football at every level.  My study shed light on some findings that contradict common opinions of his system.   I also made observations that lead me to believe his system can succeed at the NFL level, as well as some areas where I believe it is imperative to revamp the current structure in order to be successful.

Contrary to popular belief, the system itself looks more like Noel Mazzone’s offense than it does that of Rich Rodriguez.  In other words, the QB is less of a designed runner and more of a point guard.   If I had never studied an Oregon game and simply readarticles or listened to TV commentary, I would get the impression that the Ducks majored in the zone read.  My study, however, showed that they actually run a relatively low number of GIVE/KEEP runs.  A great deal of the rushing yards accumulated by the QB in 2012 were off of scrambles; further study of their run game shows how they gained advantages without necessarily committing the QB as a runner.

One of the great points Gonzalez makes is that Kelly loves to put pressure on the defense by making them deal with options, but not just the QB/RB kind. He has the WR in motion for the possible fly sweep. That WR could also catch a  quick screen. The QB can fake the hand-off and throw if that WR is open out wide.

The “ghost reverse” hit the NFL back in 2001 or 2002. It was highly effective. The WR would loop behind the offense. The backside DE would have to play contain, in case the WR got the ball handed to him. All Eagles WR totaled 9 run plays in 2001. James Thrash had 18 by himself in 2002. This is the same type of thing Chip Kelly wants to do. Andy Reid “blocked” the backside DE just by having the WR loop around. The WR didn’t need the ball. The Eagles simply needed to give it to Thrash once a game (or so) to make the defense honor him as a threat.

Kelly will use this same principle in his NFL offense. He won’t necessarily do it with the ghost reverse or a WR. He’ll be creative in coming up with ways to pressure the defense so that he can beat them with simple plays.

Later in the post Gonzalez mentions something not many have talked about.

My one reservation in watching Oregon’s offense is the depth in the pocket by the passer.   Oregon’s QBs didn’t really take a true drop, instead catching the snap and simply “hitching up” from that depth, and were at the pretty much the same spot, no matter what the pass.  In the NFL, offenses need to attack at different depths, and the apex of the drop needs to match the route.  In other words, a passer needs to be ready to throw just before that pattern comes open, rather than just holding the ball staring into that space.  Drops need to be timed with the depths of routes.   I think that this sort of refinement is a major area that Pat Shurmur will bring to the offense.

I am also interested in seeing what adjustments  will be brought about in terms of communicating the play from the sideline to the field.  Clearly, Coach Kelly is an innovator in this arena.  I am curious as to how that is adjusted as players are released or traded, and end up on opposing teams.   Every player that leaves Philadelphia will be an intelligence source for the opposition – something he did not have to deal with at Oregon.

Someone asked me the other day what Pat Shurmur’s role would be in designing the offense. I think Gonzalez is dead on the money. Shurmur will help to incorporate the WCO passing concepts. That means clearly defined landing marks for the QB and specific locations for the receivers. The WCO is a timing offense.

The QB must know that when he plants his foot on a certain drop that the receiver will be at a certain spot. Kelly has dealt with this from his UNH days, but Shurmur brings NFL experience and that will be important. There is more precision in the NFL passing game. College defenses don’t have the same kind of speed so there isn’t the same need for perfect timing.

* * * * *

The other day AC Viking asked a tough question in the comments section. He asked about the future of Jason Peters, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. His question wasn’t about their play, but rather the cost. Those guys are over 30 and slated to earn big bucks in the next few years. Will the Eagles pay them?

As I said…tough question.

The Eagles will pay top dollar for great players. That said, they don’t like to waste money. I tend to think Jason Peters is safe, but he will need to play like an elite LT. Any slippage from him, coupled with Lane Johnson playing well, and the Eagles might consider a change. We’re talking about 2014 or 2015.  No one is going anywhere right now.

Herremans was erratic last year even when healthy. Maybe moving to RG will bring out the best in him. Mathis has been rock solid in his 2 years here.

While these guys are aging, they aren’t the typical OL that have way too much weight on a frame. Mathis and Herremans are skinny OL. That should help them age well. Peters is just a freak, and I mean that in the best possible way.

We saw Tra and Runyan each decline in 2008. They both played very well in 2006 and close to that in 2007. The drop-off came quickly. We’ll see what happens with the older guys now. The simple key is to play well. Do that and the Eagles might play it safe and keep them around. Any decline and the situation changes quickly.

The other factor here is how the young guys develop. We just have to wait and see how they do.

* * * * *

Thanks to Mark for the excellent article earlier today. I think that is a subject that has flown under the radar. We see it all the time with players. Guys lose a handful of games in college and then lose that many before their rookie year is even up. It can really get to them.

I think Kelly will handle losing okay, but it will be an adjustment.

And for those who think this is somehow an acceptance of losing, you’re missing the point. You don’t want to lose, but you must be able to deal with it. Some coaches get consumed by losses and it can get to them emotionally. It can affect the way they think and act.

Andy Reid is considered a very good or maybe even great NFL coach. He won 58 percent of his games. Jimmy Johnson won 56 percent of his. Bill Walsh won 61 percent.

Each of those guys lost more games in his first NFL season than Kelly did in his career at Oregon. You will lose in the NFL. You must be able to handle it.

_


  • Neil

    You posted this just in time for me to finish and post this comment, Tommy. Appreciate it. About Foles’ arm:

    The big problem with this guy is that every offense he’s been filmed in you see very little downfield passing. But I still found some black doves.

    For the first link, watch the three consecutive plays.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olaht8aoZIM&t=12m46s

    The first one has good velocity and travels about 25 yards. The second one has just the right amount of arc, but it doesn’t really tell us about the limit of Foles’ arm. The third one travels a bit less than 25 yards and is another demonstration of good velocity.

    Then, this play.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olaht8aoZIM&t=4m40s

    Foles goes on a designed rollout to his left and throws a deep out that gains just short of 30 yards again with good velocity without planting his feet. Due to the angle that the ball travelled on the field, actual air distance would probably be closer to 40 yards. Compare it to this play by Russell Wilson.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_tAI-y1uKU&t=2m24s

    Wilson makes a pass rolling to his left for about 40 yards. The angle of the pass isn’t quite as lateral as Foles’, so the air distance is probably about 50 yards. Wilson is also running almost fully forward, whereas Foles was running to the sideline, which makes a small difference for how easy it is to throw far, not that I think Wilson necessary wouldn’t be able to make this throw running at the angle Foles was. Russell Wilson has a good arm; I don’t think anyone thinks he’s missing anything besides height to be a complete quarterback, if not quite a freak of nature.

    It bothers me that downfield throws with good velocity are so rare for Foles, so I’m not sure I would go so far as to say his arm is good, but I think it can be good enough if he sets himself apart in the other aspects of being a quarterback.

    Let’s be realistic though about the odds of that if that’s an accurate assessment. You can count the number of quarterbacks with “average” arms that play at a championship level on one hand, and you don’t need all the fingers. However, I think if any coach preferred to run an offense that deemphasised the need for a strong arm, it would be Chip Kelly.

    I don’t have plays to link to from his pro film. I rewatched the first Dallas game when he came in unprepared because it seemed like it would be him at his worst. This is the game that featured the floating touchdown to Maclin which was a pick begging to happen if not for an extremely blown coverage. That throw’s bad. I don’t understand why you’d throw it at that angle and velocity unless you physically can’t do better. I went through that game and there were no instances of good velocity like I linked to. Then again, there weren’t any in the Oregon game Ducker linked to in the original discussion about this. I tried to remember one and went back to the Tampa game. The throw to Avant that set up 1st & goal at the end was a lot like the throws I linked to, travelling a little less than 25 yards.

    Overall, he wasn’t as bad as a pro as I originally thought, but I still felt less comfortable with his arm watching that footage. Because of the really weird throws like the Dallas Maclin TD and the not TD that was five yards short of Maclin in the Redskins game (I think) that would have won it, I think a real possibility is that Andy and Marty changed something in his mechanics that he was still adjusting to during the season, like Trent Edwards during training camp. Or something like that. Who knows, maybe the college footage is what’s deceptive. We’ll know eventually.

    • TommyLawlor

      The missed TD in the WAS game was affected by a hand injury that forced Foles to miss the season finale.

      • GEagle

        Yup…I’m impressed that he had the Moxy to attempt that pass 3 plays after breaking his hand.
        ..
        Foles was actually quoted in today’s inquirer and daily news talking about his improved arm strength:
        “I feel like my arm is even stronger now just training, nutrition, everything” and that he believes it can get even stronger.

        Reports from OTAs were that he was throwing faster and harder then he ever has since he has been here, and that it’s obvious to see…
        ..
        We spent MONTHS entrenched in a civil war over this QB battle…now it’s finally about to unfold in front of our eyes..excited/nervous!!!

        • shah8

          Dude, I don’t fight no civil wars. It’s just football, man. I can just as easily read a good book or sip tea on the dock and watch the boaters. Football should be fun, not make you angry partisans, either for the team, or for any one player.

          • TommyLawlor

            Yeah, getting that fired up over the QB position is a bit much. The only way I’ll be upset is one player clearly outplays the others and Kelly goes against his word. I just don’t see that as a likely scenario.

          • eagleyankfan

            This is great stuff. Peoples opinions will never be the same across the board. If everyone has the same opinion, there would be 1 post after each article. Some good discussions but not wars that I remember.

          • A_T_G

            Nonsense! What a quitter mentality! If you announce you opinion repeatedly and assuredly, with a single-minded focus and disdaining any contrasting opinions, you can convince the world and will your desires into reality. The masses will declare you a savior and the FO will name the luxury box they give you in your honor.

          • eagleyankfan

            LMAO!

          • GEagle

            Ugh, it was a joke…relax. you don’t get riled up over the QB competition, but you are getting fled up over a joke? Lol

          • Neil

            Let’s be real here. That might have been intended as a joke, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate as a description of how you conduct yourself in QB discussions. Zen, my friend, is to accept what you can’t control.

          • theycallmerob

            “In Okinawa, all Miyagi know two things: fish and karate.”

    • Cafone

      nice post

    • Daniel Norman Richwine

      I think the QB Kelly really wants to run his system is Matt Barkley. Accurate, smart, ok arm, ok speed. seems the kind of versitile player Chip loves.

      • GEagle

        Yeah but to me, Foles and Barkley are similar. Foles might have a better arm, how much faster is Matt Bakley?..they are comparable QBs, so I never really understood the arguments: Barkley is Kelly’s guy because he draft him, or Foles is Chips guy because he didn’t accept valuable trade compensation for him that could have helped us…I think the truth of the matter is that when you don’t have an established, elite franchise QB, the best you can do is gather as much young talent as you can, giving yourself the best chances of finding That Guy, and that’s what I think Kelly did with this QB situation…now it’s time to see how it all shakes out

        • Daniel Norman Richwine

          I seriously disagree with the similarity of Foles.and Barkley. Forget Foles rookie season, looking at the two QBs draft scouting reports, Foles was considered tall, slow, and with only adequate accuracy but an above average arm. Barkley short, with adequate speed, high marks for accuracy but only adequate arm.

          • GEagle

            Uhhh go back and look at the scouting reports for Foles..a lot will read similar to “Deadly Accurate Intermediate passer”

          • Daniel Norman Richwine

            I did. I double checked before posting. maybe other scouts sawwh im different, but the ones I read didn’t think highly of his consistent accuracy.

        • Anders

          Foles 5.14

          Barkley 5.02

          • shah8

            Remember, that 5.17 40 yard dash was what doomed Ryan Mallet from the first round. Ain’t the drug rumors or the character issues. And teams could evaluate Mallet’s poor pocket negotiation with that slow speed in mind, and see a QB that’s basically not nimble enough to really play.

            5.14 and 5.17 are getting close to the speeds of 300 plus pounders.

          • TommyLawlor

            Uh, no…it was the drug rumors and intangibles.

          • shah8

            You should be able to spot plenty of evaluations online that said otherwise. That Mallet is only capable of being Mallet in a clean pocket. Otherwise, all of his mechanics goes to hell. Moreover, that he isn’t capable of maneuvering in the pocket very well to get himself that clean pocket. That Mallet is a liability as a statue was very much present as a criticism at the time.

          • shah8

            This is as thorough a review as you’ll ever get…

            http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/columnists/hyde/blog/2011/03/draft_winds_lies_damn_lies_and_1.html

            Keep in mind Tyler Bray, who *did* drop due to character issues. Bray’s a better athlete with just as good arm. As opposed to Mike Glennon, who’s just another guy with a strong arm and a few dreams, but is the highest drafted project QB who’s a long way from really being able to play right now.

          • Neil

            Reading that, I have to conclude he did have character issues. They repeatedly talk about him not being narcissistic, but they’re conflating narcissism with grandiosity. Narcissism is when you reduce other people to their relationship to you. Even when you’re surrounded by people you’re alone because other people aren’t entirely real to you. As well, guilt is entirely replaced by shame (what I did is bad not because I think it is bad but because other people think it is bad). Being “lonely”, skulking in a public place by yourself, isolating yourself on the sideline during a game after making a mistake, these are genuine red flags for narcissism. He avoids other people because he has reduced them to the shame they cause him to feel. And it’s not surprising when somebody who operates like that finally finds a “nonjudgemental” friend in alcohol, or whatever. If that’s an accurate reading, I’d be surprised if NFL people didn’t read that on him in a matter of seconds in every interview he did and it made them feel a little uneasy about the kid even if they couldn’t exactly explain why to themselves.

          • shah8

            It’s a very positive Mallet article, and using plenty of hindsightmentum…

          • Neil

            The authors definitely want it to be true that Mallet’s a fine kid, but the next question is why?

            “And skulking? I’ll skulk with the best of them when I want to. I don’t have (many) character issues.”

            This is just a hilariously self-serving line of reasoning. “Skulking isn’t a problem because I skulk and I don’t have problems (well, except for the problems I do have, but skulking isn’t one of them).”

          • Neil

            The sad thing is this line of reasoning isn’t even self-serving. This poor guy’s just convinced like Mallett apparently that these dumb, self-destructive behaviours are “just who he is”.

        • OregonDucker

          I really want to see if Barkley can read a disguised defense better than Foles. He did in college but the NFL is at a whole different level. He has the IQ to see it but can he execute? If he can, look out – there’s a SHARK in the water!

          • Andy124

            Nah man, we got rid of Ernie.

          • Neil

            I don’t think you were around for our original shark in the water around 2010. Our DC of the time said that about a linebacker we traded for who ended up being an amazing athlete who had no idea where to be on the vast majority of plays to an extent that was frankly embarassing. So to most eagles fans, saying that isn’t a compliment. The more you knew ;)

      • bdbd20

        This idea has really grown on me. It seems (from the reports so far) that Barkley is a workaholic, very much like Chip. I’m hoping for Foles, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see #2 (I assume he’ll get #7 before the season starts).

    • shah8

      The material utube is going to be the game against Cincinnati. That was the only time Foles played against a solid defensive backfield. Contrast what happened then, with the other games, and you see that Foles doesn’t really make very many throws into standard NFL sized windows, and of the few he does throw, they are like the clips in the first utube, almost straight ahead, about 15-20 yards.

      • Neil

        I wanted to watch that game before I replied to this, but turns out I don’t have it handy and the torrent I found is really slow. Instead I want to ask, what do you think is the minimum range a QB needs for the laser throws? Russel Wilson demonstrates about 50 yards of air travel, so somewhere around there? Do they need more or less velocity than the clips I linked to?

    • eagleyankfan

      You commented “Wilson is also running almost fully forward, whereas Foles was running to the sideline, which makes a small difference for how easy it is to throw far” Small difference? I’d like to counter your point a quote from the article above…”the apex of the drop needs to match the route.” Hmm, so the apex is important to the depth of the pass, yet you’re saying, it’s a small difference. Interesting. I enjoyed reading your post. Remember — Foles is growing(in body and mind). Give him a chance. I’ll take a SB win with a poor armed QB over a strong armed QB that doesn’t get the job done.
      Chip had a ton of success at Oregon. How many of his QB’s made it to the NFL and were successful? Were they strong armed?(I don’t know, I saw very few of their games) I won’t say a strong armed QB is not important, I just don’t think it is necessary for success(I think you did say the same thing above – so I’m just agreeing with you).

      • Neil

        That comment about the drop is unrelated. My comment is just based on my limited knowledge of physics. If you’re moving the same direction as you throw an object, the object gets some of the momentum from the movement. The drop comment is about how you don’t want to design your pass play to have the QB stand around in the pocket if at all possible to (1) keep him safe and (2) aid him in the meticulous timing required to execute an NFL passing game. It doesn’t have to do with adding velocity to a pass I think, except in so far as the QB ideally gets to step into his pass nicely when the timing is right.

        Besides Mariota, none of Chip’s QBs were legitimate NFL talents. The arm was generally one of their problems, and might be for Mariota as well for all I’ve watched critically of him. What Chip ran at Oregon was not designed to require even a good arm by NFL standards, but that’s not going to fly on 3rd and long in the NFL. Chip realises this and knows Foles or Barkley have to have a minimum level of velocity they can put on the intermediate passes to be consistently successful QBs. I think the college footage I linked to shows that Foles is at worst in a position where he just needs some minor improvement like what happened to Brees, if I’m not mistaken about what happened to Brees. Could something happen that upsets that process, or is my estimation of his arm strength possibly wrong? Absolutely. This is an art, not a science.

        • eagleyankfan

          A QB – moving forward(in your example) IS creating motion, then velocity. The rest of your example has Foles moving to his left(less forward motion, hence harder to create the same velocity). Dropping back in the pocket at a distance is designed so the QB can step forward into his throw(this is where your comparison is similar to the article.) You’re using apples and oranges in your comparison. I was just having fun with it is all.
          The goal on 1st and 2nd down is to create 3rd and short(at a minimum). I doubt Chip is staying awake at night wondering if Foles can handle it. Your point is interesting but you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill…

          • Neil

            Plays fail even with Tom Brady at the helm. A run gets stuffed on first down for a loss of 2 and is followed by an incomplete pass. You can’t win consistently without a QB who can make the throws that will bail you out when 1st and 2nd down fail. Relative to what the best quarterbacks can do, it’s just a waste of time trying to win with an ineffective QB in this regard. I think Foles can improve slightly to be good enough in this regard though, and if I saw more passes like that sideline throw I’d begin feeling comfortable with him.

        • shah8

          Mariota’s arm does meet the minimum. That’s a good example of a guy who has “enough”, on the order of Matt Ryan and not “enough” on the order of crazy people who think Ponder or Dalton can really play.

  • brza

    About the last point on losing, Chip Kelly’s goal is to “Win the Day” Tommy. So even if they lose every game during the season its still possible that Chip comes out with a 349-16 record on the year. Thats over 95% winning percentage. I don’t even think a perfectionist can be upset about those numbers.

    • TommyLawlor

      Brilliant.

    • SteveH

      I could be upset about those numbers :(.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    I have read a lot of confusion about the Shumar hire. this is the first explanation that makes sense.

  • GEagle

    Intresting to hear Ray Didingers skepticism regarding Chipperoo. on a scale of 1-10, his faith in Chip was only at a 4

  • Jerry Pomroy

    So Tommy, do you think we’ll see the majority of snaps from under center or from shotgun? The only reason I ask is because if they go primarily from under center there is a greater chance of “tells” to the defense especially as the season progresses & teams have more tape to dissect. Whereas using primarily the shotgun doesn’t give up as many tells & allows the QB better vision to survey the field. Yes, I get that Kelly will have people lined up all over the place & tons of motion, but you only have so many players & so many places to put them. It seems like over time defenses will be able to key in on the play because they’ll have 2 pieces of info (formation & drop) on tape to use rather than one (formation).

    Am I over thinking this?

    • GEagle

      I think it’s not even a question that we will be primarily in the gun

    • shah8

      Under center is largely how you play in the NFL. Watch Chad Henne when he was the QB of the Dolphins for the first four games in ’11. Also a good example of how crippling being too slow of feet is (with the additional issue of bad pocket feel in Henne’s case). Chad Henne’s inability to function under center damaged the offense’s ability to really run the ball, and Chad Henne was not Tom Brady in ability to take advantage of spread concepts. One aspect directly relevant to the current Philly situation was that Foles did lots of roll-outs to buy time and give receivers the chance to get open enough. This year, Foles will have to be a better pocket passer and attempt more throws into smaller windows from the pocket in order to have a job (or have a job for very long).

    • TommyLawlor

      My guess is primarily shotgun.

      • shah8

        If you want a real rushing attack, at best, pistol. Even NE goes under center when they want to credibly signal rush.

        • TommyLawlor

          I think Kelly will do both, but I think he’ll mostly work out of the shotgun. He’s run from that formation for years. He knows how to do it.

          • shah8

            College is much, much, much friendlier to the shotgun.

  • barneygoogle

    This sounds exciting–but I can’t see DeSean as the wideout who runs, or catches pitch-outs or screens. He’s fast, but not elusive. I wonder if Benn is fast enough to do some of this? DeSean will get walloped by a linebacker and we lose him for a month.

    • TommyLawlor

      But DeSean has been an effective runner in the past. He had a 31-yd TD vs ATL a couple of years back.

      • Anders

        and on that play (just looked it up) he broke two arm tackles and dragged another into the end zone.

  • austinfan

    I think the mythology of the Oregon offense is finally dissipating, it’s not based on the read option, and Chip ran a different variation with Santos in NH, so he’s not wed to what he did in Oregon. He had two mobile QBs in 6 years (DIxon, Mariotta) in Oregon, the others weren’t exactly running threats. I suspect even if he had RGIII, he’d have him running far less than the Redskins did last season. The point guard analogy is perfect, the QB runs the offense, instead of his running being the offense.

    Mathis is secure through his contract unless he falls off a cliff, pretty much the same with Herremans, both are paid like 2nd tier starting OGs (i.e., they’re not getting Nicks type money), and Mathis is probably outplaying his contract. With Herremans, health will probably determine his tenure, he’s paid too much to miss a half dozen games a year with nagging injuries.

    Peters is more complex, if he returns to form, he’s a top LT and will be extended at $10M a year or so. However, the real question is if he loses a step and becomes a mediocre pass defender at LT, he’d still be an elite OG if he moved inside given his power and mobility – and top OGs get $8-9M a year. So they may negotiate an extension that incorporates that move if Peters shows he’s back, with higher upfront salaries and a declining out years so he can play out his deal at OG.

  • eagleyankfan

    Wait – the Eagles aren’t going 16-0??? great article. I just wish the pics were actual videos. Not that I don’t trust Mark :), I just want to see the full play. Hopefully Chip can handle losing, I sure can’t.

    • planetx1971

      LOL :) me either brother. ME EITHER! I have a days long meltdown after EVERY loss. But I really am optimistic Chip is going to handle the growing pains that are sure to come. He just seems to intelligent/driven and solid to not. I honestly get more nervous about how and if the TEAM responds to them without losing confidence in their rookie coach.

  • Pennguino

    Great article Tommy. As a fan you can watch the game at different levels. You have the casual fan that likes the entertainment side of football where it is just enjoyable to watch. Then you have the Pro-Am side that get into the details and techniques and how every action has a reaction. Just good stuff. That is why film study is so important to players. Some just watch the film and others learn from the film. The one learning will see depending on the down and distance the CB’s first back peddle step changes. He wants his inside leg to be back by the third step because it allows his hips to be open to the inside typically when the WR breaks in on the quick slant.

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  • Weapon Y

    Each of the QBs has a different standard of success this year. Vick doesn’t need to return to 2010 level quality (although that would be great), but he does need to be significantly better than the last two years. If he isn’t good enough to help the Eagles make a playoff run, he cannot be the 2014 starter. This team is rebuilding and Vick’s time is almost up. Foles did well last year, but needs to cut down on the rookie mistakes like staring down receivers and letting balls float too long. He should only be the 2014 starter if he clearly improves from his 2012 season. I’ll be patient with Barkley because I will expect rookie mistakes from him, but he needs to at least match Foles’s 2012 rookie season to consider him as the 2014 starter. Dixon not only needs to outplay all three of these guys, but he needs to generate enough points on his own (as opposed to forcing Chip to run a conservative “don’t-screw-up” offense).

    If none of these guys steps up and proves themselves worthy, it’s time to pull the trigger on one of the 2014 rookies. They aren’t Luck or RG3, but they’re better than most QB rookie classes. Teddy Bridgewater is definitely my favorite, but Tajh Boyd, Marcus Mariota, and Johnny Manziel intrigue me too. By the end of the 2013 season, it’s important to have closure at this position. Either we have confidence in one of the QBs or we don’t. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he has to meet his respective standard of success.