Eagles Coach Chip Kelly Can Name the Starting Quarterback Whenever He Wants

Nick Kostos@@thekostosContributor IJune 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 17: Chip Kelly talks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles during a news conference at the team's NovaCare Complex on January 17, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The former Oregon coach surprised many after he initially turned down NFL clubs saying he would remain at Oregon. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New Eagles coach Chip Kelly has already made an impact in his first few months on the job. Whether it's been the implementation of personalized smoothies or his novel approach to practice, Kelly has shaken things up in Philadelphia.

However, the first mini-controversy of his time in charge has materialized: The question of whether or not he should name a starting quarterback before training camp. 

Despite whatever some of the players, fans and Eagles media might say or think, Kelly is beholden to no one. He can and will name the team's starting quarterback whenever he feels is best.

The man who originally kindled the flames of doubt and curiosity was presumed starter Michael Vick, who first took to the media to complain about being forced to split reps with fellow signal-caller Nick Foles. 

Then, Vick outright said that Kelly should choose a quarterback before training camp, complaining about being forced to answer questions on the matter.

First off, Vick's job is to play the best football he possibly can. He shouldn't be preoccupied about his dealings with the media; instead, he should be solely focused on winning the starting job.

And Vick should know better than to be surprised. As a new head coach seeking to implement a new offensive system, it would behoove Kelly to give each of his quarterback candidates ample time to show whether or not they have the skills to execute his vision. 

And then there's the matter of Vick's 2012 season, which would never be confused with Dan Marino's 1984 campaign or Tom Brady in 2007. Vick only threw 12 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions and went 3-7 as the starter as the Eagles stumbled to a 4-12 record. He has absolutely no right to complain about anything.

Another player who would like a quick resolution to the quarterback competition is star receiver DeSean Jackson, who is likely annoyed about being yo-yoed back and forth between the first, second and third teams during OTAs. 

While Jackson has grumbled, one of the voices of reason in this situation resides on the offensive line: Guard Evan Mathis, who understands Kelly's approach.

Concerning this situation, Vick and Jackson are missing the point and Mathis is right on. In all likelihood, Vick will be named the starting quarterback. $3.5 million of his $7 million dollar contract this season came from a signing bonus, so half of his contract has already been paid. The Eagles can recoup the other $3.5 million by releasing Vick before camp, but that doesn't seem likely. Why pay him the original $3.5 million in the first place? That seems like an expensive risk and quite frankly, Kelly is too savvy to make such a mistake.

Plus, there's the matter of the other quarterbacks on the roster. Kelly coached Dennis Dixon at Oregon. He coached against both Foles and Matt Barkley while in the Pac-12. If he hasn't made a decision yet, it's because he might believe that one those players could potentially win the job and succeed in 2013.

Face facts: Former Eagles coach Andy Reid was fired because his team failed in both 2011 and 2012. Some of that certainly had to do with the poor quarterback play. Why should Kelly be forced to choose one of these guys now, as opposed to taking his time?

Kelly will do the right thing and evaluate his quarterbacks throughout training camp and likely name one before the all-important third preseason game, which serves as a glorified dress rehearsal for Week 1.

Kelly doesn't have to appease Vick or Jackson. He doesn't have to cater to the whims of the media. He won't listen to the fan's cries for a quarterback to be named.

Chip Kelly can name the starting quarterback whenever he wants. And he will.