Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Foles-Kelly Connection

When the 2012 regular season wraps up roughly six weeks from now, the Eagles will have to make decisions at coach and quarterback – almost certainly in that order.

Chances are, we’ll have some idea by that time of what Nick Foles might be able to do in the league.

Meanwhile, at coach, Oregon’s Chip Kelly is a name already generating quite a bit of buzz.

So it’s at least worth noting that the pair have a bit of a history. Foles’ Arizona teams went 0-3 against the Ducks from 2009-2011. But the quarterback performed quite well in those games, averaging 386.7 yards passing and tossing 10 touchdowns, compared to two interceptions. In 2011, Oregon beat Arizona, 56-31, but Kelly had high praise for Foles after the game.

“I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Kelly said at the time, per Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen. “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

This will be a big weekend for both guys. Foles will get his first NFL start roughly 17 hours after Kelly’s No. 2 Oregon squad kicks off against No. 13 Stanford Saturday night.

Hat tip to Twitter follower Wesley Norman, who provided the link to Kelly’s comments to the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.

WHAT YOU MISSED

With Danny Watkins questionable, Jake Scott could see action Sunday. Tim’s got the details.

Michael Vick was “not even close to playing” this week, as he recovers from a concussion.

In the first of two cheat sheets, here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ defense matches up with Washington’s offense.

There’s a buzz in the locker room this week, writes McManus.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter echoes a point we’ve made in this space before about the Eagles’ quarterback situation:

It’s not as if the Eagles have wavered on Vick just this season. They did it throughout the offseason as well, just much more quietly. Last March, Philadelphia inquired about the possibility of Peyton Manning, though the talks never went anywhere substantial. The Eagles also explored the idea of trading up to the No. 2 overall pick so they could draft Griffin, even though they knew it would be difficult to pull off. They arranged a private workout with Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill before using the 88th overall pick in the third round on Arizona’s Foles, who shined last summer. All along, the Eagles said they were doing their due diligence. But they were doing it knowing that Vick could struggle with his play or health and they had to be as prepared as possible. The Eagles spent last offseason trying to upgrade at quarterback. And they are expected to do the same thing this offseason as well.

The National Football Post wonders whether the Redskins might be a more a likely destination for Jon Gruden than the Eagles:

There have been plenty of rumors about former Eagles assistant coach Jon Gruden making a return to Philadelphia with the season there heading downhill quickly and the status of veteran coach Andy Reid in increasing doubt. But the Eagles don’t have a quarterback that Gruden is going to want to work with, points out one long-time personnel man. The place to keep an eye on for Gruden might be another NFC East club — the Washington Redskins. While Mike Shanahan doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy of losing his job just yet, the Redskins are once again failing to meet expectations. They do have a dynamic young quarterback in Robert Griffin III. And Gruden has a tie in Washington. He and Redskins general manager Bruce Allen are tight and previously worked together in Tampa Bay and before that Oakland. Allen doesn’t have any juice with Shanahan in the building. If Gruden were to come on board, Allen would probably be enthusiastic. Few owners have a quicker trigger with coaches than Daniel Snyder but he would have to sign a big check to send Shanahan packing. If he does, keep an eye on Gruden.

If Reid is sent packing in Philly, some believe he will head directly for the opposite coast. Front office scuttlebutt is Reid could be a candidate for the Chargers job, assuming Norv Turner is let go.

COMING UP

The Eagles’ mock game is closed to the media, but we’ll have new content to get you ready for Sunday’s matchup.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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