When Andy Reid came to Philadelphia in 1999, he brought Doug
Pederson over from the Green Bay Packers with him, a seldom-used backup
quarterback who would be familiar with the concepts of the offensive system. 14
years later, new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is expected to be bringing in his
own Doug Pederson.
According to reports, the Eagles are currently eyeing Dennis
Dixon from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, and could sign him soon after
the Super Bowl this Sunday. Dixon of course played at the University of Oregon
when Kelly was the offensive coordinator.
Dixon played under Kelly for one year, posting by far the
best season of his collegiate career. As a senior, he completed 67.7% of his
passes for 2,136 yards, throwing 20 touchdowns to four interceptions. He also
rushed for 583 yards and nine scores. The Ducks climbed to #2 in some polls and Dixon was a Heisman candidate before
tearing his ACL toward the end of the season.
His draft stock obviously impacted by the injury, the Pittsburgh
Steelers used a fifth-round pick on Dixon in 2008. He started three games in
four seasons there, compiling a 2-1 record. For his career, Dixon has completed
35 of 59 passes (59.3%) for 402 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions
– a passer rating of 71.4. He’s carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards and one
During his last appearance in an NFL game back in 2010,
Dixon suffered another serious injury, tearing the lateral meniscus in same
knee he injured in college. After his rookie contract expired last offseason, Dixon
signed with Ravens, spending all of 2012 on their practice squad.
The size of Dixon’s role with the Eagles remains to be seen.
It’s not at all uncommon for coaches to bring in experienced players who
already have an understanding of their philosophies. That should not be taken
as an automatic that Dixon will be the starting quarterback come September, or
that he even necessarily has a leg up on the competition.
It certainly appears as though he’ll have a chance. If
Michael Vick is out of the picture, Dixon’s primary competition will be Nick
Foles, and perhaps a rookie quarterback. Dixon has good size at 6-3, 209, and
assuming he is healthy, good mobility.
Dixon is 28 though, and remains a largely unproven commodity
at this stage of his career – Foles already has more starts under his belt
after one year in the league. Should the signing come to fruition, it certainly
does not mean the Eagles will hitch their wagon to him.
Overall, not a big surprise Kelly would target a quarterback
he’s worked with before. What would be surprising however is if Dixon does
manage to outplay his competition and earn the starting quarterback job in
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