CALL THE roll: Dan Reeves, Jim Mora Jr., Andy Reid, now Chip Kelly. They all thought they could harness the diverse talents of Michael Vick for a greater football good. Now, only Kelly - surprise! - still has a chance.
Reid, especially, was seduced by the possibilities that Vick brought, only to be disappointed in the end - just as Reeves and Mora were before him in Atlanta. Kelly, by contrast, seems more of a realist. Reid had a soft spot for a man returning from incarceration, a state from which his sons had also emerged. Kelly is more blunt.
"I think in terms of Michael, we look at everything," the Eagles' new coach said. "What I look at is skill set, first and foremost. What he can do, how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet. There are a lot of different factors he has. And you have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks."
Look at the landscape.
See that it is barren.
Take a chance, then.
Renegotiate and try to advance.
"I guess the best way I can put this is, I agree there is a change of scenery going on here," Kelly said. "For Michael Vick, there is a change of scenery, but not a change of address."
That you don't necessarily get it, or that I don't necessarily get it, matters not; new sheriff, new system, clean start. And, again, some of this is clearly out of necessity - because Nick Foles is largely unproven and because the quarterback market in the NFL is largely bereft. There are no guarantees, either. One of the benefits of renegotiating a quarterback's contract is that he suddenly is much easier to trade. After all, if the open competition with Foles leaves Vick the loser, it is a lot of money to pay a backup.
So, could Vick be traded?
"We're not ruling out anything right now," Kelly said. "I think our job - and we know that from Day 1 - is to put the best team on the field . . . So I don't rule anything out, I don't rule anything in. But I know moving forward [that] we, as an organization, had to make a decision what to do with Michael, and I want Michael to be part of this team."
How he fits is the question. A recent column based on a coaching clinic presentation that Kelly made while at Oregon highlighted these notions: that Kelly thinks every sack is the quarterback's fault, and that the quarterback is supposed to get rid of the ball in his offense in 1.5 seconds or less, and how he wants his quarterback to facilitate more than do everything himself.
Vick has been the antithesis of this for pretty much his entire career. He holds the ball for longer than just about everybody in the NFL, and he takes sacks as a result, and he is always looking for the big play. Last November, Vick even swatted away a compliment from Reid after he played a patient game, saying, "It was efficient, but . . . "
He made "efficient" sound like a disease.
So, how this all fits together, and how Kelly got through the video of 2012 - all of the turnovers and such - and came to his conclusions is not obvious. But this is what comes through: that Kelly believes the change in system can be the difference.
"I think there is a lot more to Michael," Kelly said. "I think quarterbacks are a byproduct of their experience. But to sit here and say I understood the system that Michael's been in, whether he's with the Falcons under Coach Reeves or here, that depends on the system that you run. Some of the systems that they run, they don't ask him to get the ball out quick.
"Do I think he can get the ball out quick? I think he's got an unbelievable release. It's up and out and it's quick. What he's asked to do from a read progression and all those other things, I don't know what he's been asked to do in the past, but that's our job as coaches where he can get the ball out quickly, because we have some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that are going to flourish when we get the ball in their hands. So that's on us as coaches, not on the quarterback."
It is not a long-term commitment. If Vick can't hack it, the only thing Kelly has lost is, well, nothing. And in the meantime, we all get to see yet another coach try to turn Michael Vick into something more than he has been.
On Twitter: @theidlerich