What Does Vick’s Return Mean For Foles?

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Within 30 seconds of his press conference Monday afternoon, Chip Kelly announced the news of the day: Michael Vick had restructured his deal and would be back with the Eagles.

Minutes later, though, he reminded everyone to use pencil, not pen, for their February depth charts.

“There is an open competition,” Kelly said. “Michael knows that. Nick [Foles] knows that. Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing.  I wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans, and I think both of them have outstanding qualities in terms of being quarterbacks in this league.  Both of them have started in this league.

“I also know in this league, you better have two, so I’m excited about the two of them.  They’re both going to compete.  And who the starting quarterback is to start the season off is going to be won on the practice field.”

The question is: Are you buying it?

Later during his media session, Kelly offered his most telling statement in terms of why the organization is hanging on to a soon-to-be-33-year-old quarterback who has 24 interceptions and 21 fumbles in his last 23 starts.

“You have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks,” Kelly said, in between explaining why he thinks Vick can still be effective.

And that’s the truth. There is no Aaron Rodgers or Robert Griffin III to go out and get right now. The options are Vick, Foles, someone like Alex Smith or the draft, which, by all accounts, is not top-heavy with QBs. What the Eagles did Monday is keep some of their options open. Vick very well could be the team’s starter in Week 1 of 2013. But that’s no given.

The story with Foles is a bit more complicated. Kelly has emphasized time and again that he can scheme around personnel. He’s said he doesn’t need a running quarterback. And that may very well be true. But by all accounts, he values a quarterback who can at least pose the threat of running.

I keep going back to the publication from the 2011 coaches’ clinic. This was Kelly in his own words:

I look for a quarterback who can run and not a running back who can throw. I want the quarterback who can beat you with his arm. If the defense forces him to run, he can do it effectively.

Kelly’s spread-option attack at Oregon required the threat of a quarterback running. If the defense had two high safeties, and you spread them out with four receivers, they can only have five defenders in the box. The offense has five blockers, a running back and the quarterback. At its core, it’s a simple numbers advantage.

But with Foles, that advantage doesn’t exist. Obviously, Kelly is not going to run the exact same offense in the NFL. And his background suggests he can be innovative enough to scheme around Foles’ strengths. But if he plans on running up-tempo practices that maximize reps, doesn’t it become somewhat detrimental to have two quarterbacks with such different skill sets?

“I don’t think it’s two different systems,” Kelly said. “Again, people try to look at what we’ve done in the past and where I’ve been and kind of paint it with one brush because everybody wants a sound byte to say your offense is this. I don’t think what we do offensively can be said in one or two words that we’re either this or we’re this.  We’re an equal opportunity scoring operation.

“There is a skill set that Nick has that really excites me about him.  And I had the opportunity to see him up close and personal for three years and I know what he can do. I’m excited to work with him.  I think we’ve got an older quarterback in Michael who is 32 now, and have a younger guy in Nick who is going into his second year. I think it’s the ideal situation for us moving forward this season.”

But again, today is Feb. 11. Free agency and the trading period begin on March 12. The draft is in late April. Training camp in late July. And Week 1 is seven months away. There’s a distinct chance that we’ll be writing about the Eagles’ quarterback situation plenty in the days ahead.

“We’re not ruling out anything right now,” Kelly said, when asked if he’d rule out a possible trade. “I think our job, and we know that from day one, is to put the best team on the field.  We open up the season on September 13th, or whatever day we open the season on.  So I don’t rule anything out, I don’t rule anything in.  But I know moving forward we, as an organization, had to make a decision what to do with Michael, and I want Michael to be part of this team.”

Fielding trade inquiries about Foles is absolutely an option for this organization. Given the lack of choices on the market (as mentioned above), he might have some suitors. Don’t get carried away. The Eagles aren’t going to get a first- or second-round pick for him. But perhaps a mid-round selection or a conditional pick? That’s possible.

Kelly and the Eagles made news with the Vick announcement on Monday. But the truth is, there are probably still plenty of chips to fall.

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  • Rick H.

    I believe Chip means 80% of what he says to the media but on so many levels i see Foles as the QB.
    First, Vick is a used up MARKETING DECISION that went horribly wrong. The NFL is entertainment and Vick’s show should have been cancelled last year forever.

    Second, as much as I like Mike Vick the person who has really done a remarkable job with his life, i do not see him as the guy that will lead YOUNG PLAYERS!

    Third, Vick is a turnover machine with 24 interceptions & 23 fumbles in 2 years (I am pretty sure). That is against everything Chip Kelly stands for plus he holds the ball way too long and can not read defenses still.
    Fourth, Eagles fans by in large want him gone. This is an accident literally waiting to happen.
    Fifth, i believe he will be traded or released after Kelly gets to really know him.
    Sixth, Foles is the better QB period! He doesn’t turn the ball over. His interception to passes ratio is right there with Tom Brady. Plus Foles through the ball 265 times last year. That is significant.
    Hopefully for all involved Vick is gone before the draft but I doubt it. You do not start a new regime with the old failing regime’s General!

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Alex Smith, Jim Harbaugh.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Foles in 7 game threw 5 ints, and fumbled 8 times loosing 3, while throwing 6 tds in those starts.

      Foles doesn’t compart to well against other 2012 rookies Russell Wilson 26 touchdowns and 10 Ints, Andrew Luck 28 tds to 18 ints, and RGIII 20 tds and 5 ints.

      the decision to resign Vick was an easy decision…. Using Foles in Kellys’ scheme negates the advantage a mobile quarterback gives the offense. Foolish was a scheme using Vick to throw 40 and 50 times a game. Clearly that was evident to Coach Kelly in the game film.

    • Bdawkbdawk

      First, if Vick was a marketing decision, then the eagles management has a weird sense of humor. He was a rehabilitated criminal (who committed a heinous crime), was flat out broke, and had an absolutely toxic image both in and around the NFL. His signing immediately alienated a considerable number of people. I don’t think anyone thinks that that was a marketing decision.
      Second, Vick is an incredible leader of both young and old players. It was widely reported that the free agent signings of two years ago was precipitated by a feeling amongst veteran players that Vick had what it took to lead a franchise to a superbowl. He is tremendously respected throughout the locker room and makes one heck of an impression at the rookie symposium.
      Third, youre right. He is a turnover machine. uh, but lets talk about 1 and 2.

      • GoBirds1

        Vick, a leader?, Really! That was what all the players were saying about this team at the end of the season, we need a leader and this team lacks leadership. The QB is inherently the leader, Vick failed miserably at his role of a leader.

        • BrickSquadMonopoly

          He was benched u dumbass kinda hard to lead when ur teams quitting on you and and quitting on winning

          • Bdawkbdawk

            He wasn’t benched. Foles didn’t outplay Vick. They were equally inept. But we couldn’t make the playoffs, we couldn’t be 8-8 and Reid, in one heck of a classy move, sat Vick so the organization could evaluate its options moving forward. Vick wasn’t disruptive, or difficult. In fact, he was supportive of Reid and Foles, but forcefully reassured everyone that he wanted to play. I don’t think you can really handle it any better.

        • Bdawkbdawk

          I think my initial point about Vick has a caveat. A football team has 53 active players. Because of this, even the best leaders can only really rally their side of the ball. For a 4-12 team, the offense stuck together pretty well. It was the defense, a group of disappointing veterans, that had no voice, no continuity, and no accountability.
          When TO imploded the Eagles’ organization in 05, Dawkins was a hell of a leader. Trot too. And Hugh Douglas was around the team in an advisory role. But unless you line up alongside another man and fight on Sundays, your leadership abilities do not have much sway.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Why do people wanna compare rookies to all time greats in EXTREMELY short periods of play time…It registers with no1

  • ron

    This is promising, the spread offence is very go for Vick. but if the oline is not on board, Vick and foles Will have the same type of year. Vick will start next year. he is the better of the two; stronger arm and a far better runner. I feel a little. better now about our future.

  • Rick H

    First, the NFL is enetertainment The Michael Vick Show was one of the worst shows on TV last year and the year before that. This a horrible marketing move if he stays.
    Second, I like Michael Vick the person and how he changed his life but his style of play goes against the very core of Chip Kelly’s belief system. Vick turns the ball over at an incredible rate (24 interceptions & 23 fumbles) that is insane.
    Third, Eagles fans do not want him here (Vick) by in large).
    Fourth, Vick can not read defenses still even at a basic level.
    Fifth, Foles has much more upside. Foles is the better QB period!
    Sixth, Foles threw 265 passes last year and was one of the three highest ranked QB”S in the league in terms of interceptions. Right there with Brady.
    Seventh, Vick is not the QB you want to have new & young players learn under.
    Eighth, Vick is literally an injury waiting to happen (I wish it were not true) but it is a fact!
    Nineth, You never start a NEW REGIME with the Old Regime horribly failing General!

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Here we go with the Foles-Brady comparisons lol

      • Rick H

        I was only talking about interception ratio only! Get a clue!

        Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

        —–Original message—–

  • PaoliBulldog

    Vick & Foles allow Kelly to take a chance on drafting next year’s Russell Wilson (Manuel?). I doubt any of the three Eagles’ current QBs will be on the roster on opening day 2014.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    I don’t see what incentive CK would have NOT to make this an open competition. I think Chip Kelly is keeping an open mind about the QB
    situation because he is not enamored with either of the two. Hopefully many fans will do the same.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    Re: Coach didn’t do what I want, he’s an arrogant fool!

    Instead of demanding to start over with “his guy” at QB (common procedure for a new coach), Chip Kelly is keeping both of Andy Reid’s QBs and initiating an open competition between them. The plan may be driven by less than ideal circumstances, but this decision hardly strikes me as arrogant.

    • MAC

      Yea a guy scheduled to make at minimum probably $6 million up to $10 million like Vick just got would never be favored by a coach or oragnization over a guy who makes $500k like Foles., Vick by that contract was essentially told it’s your job unless you completely blow it. Come on be serious,

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Just think of Foles like a Russell Wilson tryna beat out Matt Flynn. He was able to overcome substantial odds and PROVE he deserves to be a starter…Allow Foles to prove himself and if he doesnt win it we really dont want him anyway.

      • bless3d

        It isn’t a full 10 mil unless they win the superbowl. Stop throwing around 10 mil like he is getting it he isn’t. Go back and look at the contract amd all the bonuses that are in it. Know your facts before you spew out garbage

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    It means he doesn’t have the starting job. And if he gets it he would have earned it.

    • MAC

      $10 million means you have to really screw it up to not get it there genius.

      • bless3d

        It is not 10 mil look up contract

  • $52095436

    This is not an either/or proposition. At Oregon, Kelly has had QBs line up under center many times. He has run a one-back ace formation. He has run two tight end power. He has run some pistol and the spread in various alignments. He has run the inside zone, outside zone, traps, counters, reverses, and power. He has run zone blocking AND man. He has used WCO principles, run and shoot, and Gilman-Coryell concepts. Kelly will smashmouth or throw it 50 times a game–it just depends on what the defense gives him. Darron Thomas, Oregon’s QB from 2010 when they played Auburn was SLOW!! He was 4.8 in the 40 and ran for only 280 yards the whole year. Kelly does NOT RUN THE QB like Tebow did. His QB HANDS OFF and only runs if the defense forces him to. And then 5 or 6 yards is good enough. Michael Vick will get hit less in Kelly’s system than he did trying to stay in the pocket.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Great points.

      I think Chip’s thinking is still very much in the “possibilities” stage. Thus he wants an open competition between a pocket passer and a dual threat. But of course people want to jump directly to the “conclusions” stage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1340276463 Paul Costello

      Excellent points. My only problems with Vick at QB for Kelly are Vick’s inability to learn, and horrible decision-making. These have been in evidence since forever, and it’s naive to think they’ll change — that Vick will suddenly learn all of the myriad options in Kelly’s offense, and to make the correct decision within 2 seconds on every play. He’s just not that smart, or that good.

    • GoBirds1

      In this day and age you don’t keep playing until you are punch drunk. Of course Vick has to rebuild his financial war chest before he is ready to walk away on his own terms and may not have the flexibilty like Aikman or Young had. But the risk for concussion is high the way he plays and his inability to change to protect himself means it is not a matter if, but rather when.

      In terms of Foles, he can’t run, meaning he can’t run the zone read option. Foles runs a 5.13, as exhibited by his TD scamper vs the Bucs. He just would not be able to get outside on todays DEs even if they are cheating inside to protect against the hand off. I think both QBs can coexits, I just feel having Vick around prolongs the process.

  • dislikedisqus

    I think you meant to write:

    What Does Vick’s Return Mean? 4 Fools. (Reeves, Mora, Reid and now Kelly).

  • chump kelly rides again

    lets review….Hire 21 no name coaches with bad records (check), resign a turnover machine that can’t read a defense, has lost a step, and can’t score in the red zone (check), alienate 90% of the fan base with a single signing (check), use up all your good will and be the #1 target for the Philly hate after 3 weeks on the job (check)….did I miss anything?

    • bless3d

      Did you know any of ar hires? Didn’t think so. Shut up you sound so much smarter when you are silent

  • xlGmanlx

    I’m going to wait until week 17 before I judge anything. After 10+ years of the same old same old, I’m in no rush to judgement on this new staff. Personally I’m excited with Kelly, especially knowing Lurie isn’t one to rush to judgement and hasty reactions. A culture usually takes longer than a year to grab hold, and that is what Kelly has to change first. The man says it himself, if you accept it, expect it. Lets wait until they play meaningful games before all the “geniuses” second guess every stinking move.

    Sheil – love the posts, keep em coming. Anything draft or Kelly related is welcome.

    • MAC

      Kelly off to a great start in my opinion. He is so smart he decided to go with Vick and his 45 turnovers in 23 games, He must have something up his sleeve. Seems like a great idea after 11 years and 2 playoff wins in his career. I mean do not judge anything a new coach does until after week 17 of year 1. Seems right. Can’t wait for CK to be the first to make Vick reliable and not a liability.

      • xlGmanlx

        This is what I don’t get, unless your bust is in Canton already, I’m going to go with Kelly over you 6 days a week and twice on Sundays. But clearly your years of actual NFL coaching experience leads you to believe differently. What part about Kelly running about 65% of the time don’t you dopes get? What part about spreading a defense out to make reads easier is lost? What about how Vick will either conform or ride the pine?

  • igglesfaninportland

    I heard Teddy Bruschi last night say Kelly needs to teach Mike Vick not to turn the ball over. Funny.

  • Jason Soroski

    Vick remains the starter in 2013 while newly acquired Tebow progresses, learns and fills in on occasion. Tebow starts in 2014 with a beat-up Vick as a veteran mentor.

  • 1220929917

    Foles should be the Eagles 2013 QB; if kelly doesn’t need a runner that kids is the answer not Vick!

  • Domotha1

    Vick will excel in this offense. Trust and believe.. Chip knows what he’s doing, that’s part of the reason we.brought him in. He’s an offensive genius… All you nay sayers will see in week 1 thru the superbowl… lets go EAGLES

  • daggolden

    Yeah 1-5 record with a miraculous comeback vs the worst pass defense in the NFL. He was 1 play away from being 0-6.lol , 5tds and 6ints and 5 fumbles in 6 games and a broken hand lol. Yeah Foles earned the job lol.

  • Chapat

    I and alot of people saw Foles play ALOT better then Vick with the same line and actually had more changes to the line then Vick did….he’s smart he gets rid of the ball and Vick still thinks he can out run people and gets caught by big d lineman lol….give Foles a longer look how many games did Foles play? Vick has had more turnovers than TD passes the last 2 years he sucks!

  • Joe Jones

    If its that clear cut, why cant Chip Kelly see it? Chip Kelly comes to town with no ties to either QB. In fact, he actually should be more familiar with Nick Foles than Michael Vick. Yet, despite all of Vick’s faults and flaws and the fact that “he sucks” as you so eloquently put it, Kelly wants him to compete for the starting job?
    If Nick is clearly better then he should win the competition easily, right? You should have nothing to worry about…….

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    How did Foles play better when Vick won more games than him? You play football to win. Foles aint a WINNER.

  • MAC

    BC he requires a running QB for his system. Simple as that. No coach could watch Vick for his career and think at age 33 he can help him win games. Turnovers =losses. Simple right?