"It's like a writer without a pen," Reid said of the difficulty in trying to win in the National Football League without a top quarterback. "It's a problem. You've got to make sure you've got that position taken care of."
That's easy for him to say now that he has Smith, who has thrown just 10 interceptions in 663 attempts the last two seasons and had a 19-5-1 record as a starter in 2011-12.
Meanwhile, thanks to Reid's miscalculations after trading away McNabb in 2010, the Eagles still are looking for Mr. Right.
It wasn't Kevin Kolb. It almost certainly isn't Michael Vick. It probably isn't Nick Foles. And I think I'm on safe ground saying it definitely won't be Dennis Dixon, Trent Edwards or G.J. Kinne.
It could be, might be, better be one of the quarterbacks in next month's draft who the Eagles have on their radar: Geno Smith of West Virginia, EJ Manuel of Florida State or Arizona's Matt Scott.
The Eagles, who almost certainly will select a quarterback at some point in the first three rounds, sent a scouting party that included general manager Howie Roseman, head coach Chip Kelly and owner Jeff Lurie to Morgantown last week to work out Smith, who is rated as the best quarterback in the draft.
They brought Scott in to the NovaCare Complex for a look-see, and have a private workout scheduled with Manuel.
"Geno did a real nice job," Kelly said Wednesday during a 70-minute chat with reporters at the NFC coaches media breakfast at the league meetings. "I think Geno sees the game very well. He's got a great understanding. [West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen] has done a great job with him in terms of his ability to run that system. He's got a pretty good understanding of coverages, good understanding of protections.''
Would the Eagles consider taking Smith with the fourth pick?
"I don't know that," said Kelly, which means that's for him to know and us to find out, which we probably won't until draft night.
How about Manuel, who Kelly tried to recruit to Oregon? Not at No. 4, but possibly later in the first round or with their second-round pick? "He's big, tall, physical," Kelly said. "An athletic specimen. We're still in the process of evaluating everybody. But EJ's certainly somebody we're excited about."
The Eagles have a lot of needs, but if they think Smith or Manuel or Scott is a potential franchise quarterback, they've got to take him.
"That's the key position in the NFL," Kelly said.
Eight of the 12 quarterbacks in the playoffs last season had passer ratings of 90 or better. Nine of the 12 threw at least 10 more touchdowns than interceptions.
Vick has had a 90-plus passer rating just once in his career. That was in 2010 (100.2), which also was the only time he's had a double-digit touchdowns-to-interceptions differential (plus-15).
Reid said he thinks Vick, who will turn 33 in June, can flourish in Kelly's up-tempo offense.
"I think Chip's offense will be good for him," he said. "A little change there doesn't hurt him. I don't think [Kelly's no-huddle] will be a problem for him.
"Michael spits things out very easily. In an up-tempo offense, you've got to be able to do that. There can't be any hesitation. I think he can do that."
Foles is basically a pocket passer, which doesn't jive with the offense Kelly ran at Oregon.
"What we did [at Oregon] was we adapted depending on who our quarterback was," Kelly said. "If you've got a good coaching staff, that's what you do.
"The best example in the NFL is [Broncos coach] John Fox. A year ago, he had Tim Tebow and went to the playoffs. Now, he has Peyton Manning and runs an entirely different offense and went to the playoffs. When you're good, you adapt to who you have."
Kelly definitely is good. Or at least he was as a college coach. We'll find out soon enough whether he can cut it in the NFL.
At Oregon, the Ducks won 34 of 40 games between 2009 and 2011 with two QBs - Darron Thomas and Jeremiah Masoli - who never have been on an NFL regular-season roster.
Masoli was on the 49ers' training-camp roster last summer, but was released. Thomas, who threw 66 touchdown passes and just 16 interceptions in two seasons as a starter for Kelly, spent part of last year on the practice squad of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.
"We didn't have a traditional marquee quarterback at Oregon" and still were successful, Kelly said.
Kelly knew what he was getting into when he took the Eagles job. Knew what his in-house quarterback options were. Knew there were no Andrew Lucks or RGIIIs in this draft.
"We still have to play," he said. "If you don't have a franchise quarterback, you can't throw your hands up before the game and say, 'We don't have Tom Brady, so we're screwed today.'
"Every coach's job is to put their players in position to make plays. You have to adjust and you have to adapt.
"I think that's where people make mistakes. [Redskins coach] Mike Shanahan did an unbelievable job last year when RGIII got hurt. He had a certain offense with RGIII. Then when he got hurt, that offense changed drastically. Kirk Cousins didn't have a carry. You watch that tape and understand those games [with Cousins at quarterback] and hats off to what they did on offense."