PHILADELPHIA — Before he reports to training camp at Lehigh University in late July, new Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will be on the way to Cape May.
Lazor, a native of Scranton, Pa., always has vacationed at the Jersey Shore.
“We usually rent a house in Cape May and we’ve had to start getting a bigger place because the family is growing,” said Lazor, who was formally introduced as a member of new coach Chip Kelly’s staff earlier this week. “We usually spend one night on the Wildwood Boardwalk and let the kids ride all the rides. We always have a great time.”
After his vacation is over, however, Lazor will be in charge of helping Michael Vick, Nick Foles and possibly one or two other quarterbacks learn the offensive system being implemented by Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. How quickly they develop will play a major role in the Eagles’ ability to rebound from last season’s 4-12 record and regain their status as a playoff contender.
This season was especially troubling. The Eagles got off to a 3-1 start before enduring an eight-game losing streak and losing 10 of their last 11 games. Injuries to key players had a role, but there also was a noticeable lack of effort on occasion, particularly late in the season.
“More effort could have been put into last season,” Vick told sports-talk radio host Jim Rome on Tuesday. “You know, I just think it was more of a matter of guys living off of what they did in previous years. You tend to do that in the NFL sometimes, and that’s why change is good, because you have a guy (Kelly) coming in that’s going to demand a lot of respect and he’s going to demand excellence, not only on Sundays but day in and day out, even in the off-season.”
Vick has the inside track on the starting job after restructuring his contract on Monday. Vick received a $3 million roster bonus, will receive $3.5 million in base salary and can earn another $3.5 million in incentives next season under his new deal. He was scheduled to receive $15.5 million as part of his original contract.
“I still feel like I’m the same player (as he was when he made the Pro Bowl in 2010),” Vick told Rome. “I think (Kelly’s read-option system) is going to allow me to play a different style of football, which I wouldn’t mind getting back to for the next couple of years. There’s been a lot of success around the league with it and I felt like I’ve done it to a certain degree early in my career.”
Vick, who turns 33 in July, is coming off back-to-back poor seasons that saw him commit 33 total turnovers and miss eight games due to injuries.
Last season was supposed to mark the end of his four-year tenure with the Eagles.
“I didn’t want to leave Philadelphia on a sour note,” Vick told Rome. “When I came in (in 2009), it was a very warm reception and I just wanted to give back, and give back through my play. I didn’t want money to be an obstacle in this situation. I didn’t want money to be the reason I didn’t return.”
Vick and the rest of the team will be getting taught and coached by assistant coaches that run the gamut in terms of experience.
Lazor and Shurmur are among seven coaches with NFL backgrounds, along with defensive coordinator Billy Davis, special-teams coordinator Dave Fipp, wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, running backs coach Duce Staley and tight ends coach Ted Williams. Staley and Williams are the only holdovers from Reid’s staff.
Five others, including offensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, were on Kelly’s staff at Oregon. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, secondary coach John Lovett and inside linebackers coach Rick Minter were among the assistant plucked from other college programs.
“I wanted a diverse group, a group that had a lot of varied experience in terms of where they were coming from, because I thought that was the best way to go about it,” Kelly said Monday. “I made a real conscious decision moving from the college level to here that I wanted to hire coordinators that had NFL experience. That was very important to me. And it was really important to me to get a bunch of guys in here that understood me and really kind of built it from the bottom up (at Oregon). Those guys understood how I wanted things done and what my vision was.
“We’ve all come from different backgrounds and our goal is to put together the best plan for the Eagles in 2013. No one has an ego. We all have the same goal and the goal is for us to win, not only win on the field next season when we start, but to win today. We put together some great minds, very sharp, tons of energy, and willing to listen. At the end of the day, it’s what we do as a group, and that collaborative effort is going to show up on the field in 2013.”
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