Is Michael Vick the long-term answer for Chip Kelly's Eagles?

Rich Schultz

Chip Kelly believes Michael Vick can still play, but is he the ideal quarterback at the NFL level for Kelly?

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly continued to praise quarterback Michael Vick, telling the NFL Network that the former Virginia Tech quarterback "can still play."

When the Eagles hired Kelly in January, speculation ran rampant on who Philadelphia's new quarterback would be. Prior to Kelly's hire, some thought Philadelphia would release Vick and his $16 million base salary in 2013. Vick agreed to restructure his contract and will make up to $10 million in 2013 -- based on incentives.

Kelly defended Vick's poor play and after watching game film from 2012 came away impressed with Vick's skill set. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"When you evaluate a quarterback, you have to evaluate everything.

When you sit down and analyze what his skill set is and what he can still do, he can still throw the football, still accurate with his throws, he's extremely tough. There was no question in my mind that I wanted Michael to be back on this team."

Vick isn't Philadelphia's only option at quarterback. The Eagles selected Nick Foles in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and Foles remains on the roster, despite garnering trade interest earlier in the offseason.

Though inexperienced, Foles believes he is capable of running Kelly's offense. Oregon's offense was dominant under Kelly, as the Ducks went 46-7 during his time there. Kelly's up-tempo, read-option offense is innovative, and facets of it are already incorporated in the NFL.

Kelly's offense requires the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly -- and requires the quarterback to be quick. Vick, though his offensive line is partially at fault, has never been been quick with his release. Dating back to 2004, Vick has been sacked 209 times over six seasons -- 2009 not included, since Vick only attempted 13 passes that year.

Conversely, Foles, despite his belief otherwise, lacks the mobility that Kelly's offense requires from its quarterback.

Kelly could have another option at quarterback in two weeks: Geno Smith. The Chiefs, after acquiring Alex Smith, are not expecting to select Smith with the No. 1 overall pick, and it's unlikely the Raiders will draft Smith at No. 3 after trading for Carson Palmer.

That leaves the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2 standing between the Eagles and Geno Smith -- if Kelly wants him. The Eagles recently held a private workout for Smith, so at the least Kelly is doing his due diligence.

Smith could be the perfect fit for Kelly's system, however. He has the ability to extend plays with his legs and is an accurate passer. Smith's completion percentage improved each of the last three seasons, including a 71.2 completion percentage in 2012.

Despite being signed to an incentive-laden, one-year deal, the quarterback job is Vick's to lose in 2013. Vick, however, does not appear to be the long-term answer at quarterback for Philadelphia, and it shouldn't shock anybody if the Eagles invest in Geno Smith on April 25.

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