Chip Kelly: I Want To Coach Nick Foles

INDIANAPOLIS – Chip Kelly stepped up to the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium shortly after 2:30 Thursday afternoon.

“Is there a protocol?” he asked, unsure of whether he was supposed to make some kind of opening statement in front of a roomful of reporters.

Dressed in a black Eagles wind-breaker with sleeves that came down to his elbows and his (now trademark) jeans, Kelly was about four minutes in when he fielded his first Nick Foles question. He was asked whether he had received any trade offers for the second-year quarterback.

“I haven’t, no,” Kelly said, eliciting some laughter. “Me personally? No.”

“Have the Eagles? We haven’t talked about anything like that,” Kelly continued. “I want to coach Nick, and I want to get a chance to spend time with him and see him. I’ve said it before. I was a big fan of his. The way he plays the game, his toughness, his ability to throw the ball very accurately. So I want to get a chance to hopefully get him out on the practice field and see what Nick has.”

Asked later about a report that indicated the Eagles would have to be blown away by an offer to trade Foles, Kelly said, “You’re always going to listen, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

A little more than a month into his tenure as the Eagles’ head coach, Kelly has made it clear that he doesn’t want to put any restrictions on his offense. Mention how his Oregon teams ran the ball well, and he’ll talk about how he passed a lot at New Hampshire.

Bring up the tempo he used with the Ducks, and he’s quick to point out they didn’t go fast all the time.

Kelly’s hesitancy is understandable. He has yet to meet most of his players and is months away from holding his first practice.

The truth is, I’m sure he does like Foles. And as I wrote earlier, I’m sure he’s confident he can structure an offense to Foles’ skill set. But again, is that what he prefers?

“Foles is a talented guy, and we just drafted him last year,” said GM Howie Roseman. “I think this is a different situation than we’ve had the past couple of years where we had quarterbacks. We like the player. … We’re trying to accumulate good, young players. We’re not in the business of trying to get rid of good, young players.”

He probably could have finished that sentence with “unless the price is right.”

The Eagles don’t have to trade Foles. Kelly can get a look at him at OTAs and mini-camps and decide whether going with an offense that suits the second-year signal-caller makes sense. If Kelly prefers Michael Vick, Foles can be the backup. He’s young, he’s cheap and he’s competent. Those are all good assets.

But if a team comes calling with an enticing offer, the Eagles are going to listen – despite what they might say publicly.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

  • Rick H

    Sheil just come out and say it YOU CANT STAND NICK FOLES! I saw the same interview with Kelly. I would bet my house that if the Eagles were offered a 2nd round pick for Foles or a 3 round pick for Vick I gurantee Vick would be gone in a heartbeat. Even a 4th round pick for VICK AND HE WOULD BE GONE! Kelly is saying things that don’t mesh with what you think is accurate or what you want as a Monday morning QB General Manager. Give it a break! I hope Foles is so good in camp that it isn’t even a question that he is the starter but Vick does look good in practice without a real defense. Vick is a circus!

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Easy, Rick.

    • Mr. Wu

      Yeah Sheil! Give it a break.How dare you say such a……wait I totally agree with you. HAHA. Someone in this talkback needs a hug.

    • http://twitter.com/rebyers rebyers

      Take a deep breath. There’s no “Sheil opinion” about Foles in this article. What he says is right and echoes what coach K said. Just a game, man.

    • GW.Fisher

      Decaf, pal. Decaf.

    • http://www.facebook.com/luke.mrzljak Luke Ivan

      Rick H, I hope you stick around. You amuse me.

  • theycallmerob

    I think you pegged it, Sheil. All this talk of Vick vs. Foles and Foles vs. athleticism is ridiculous, Kelly hasn’t even met the man. I can’t possibly imagine a team, even Reid, blowing the Eagles away with a great pick. It just makes sense to see how this plays out, and rushing to trade him before the 2013 draft just doesn’t seem rational. With the timing of the Kelly hire with relation to the draft, I think the QBs on our roster today (-Edwards) will all be there in the fall. And there may just be a rookie with them.

  • Mr. Magee

    This situation with Foles (and Vick) is so intersting…

    How ironic that at the very time the eagles (finally?) acquire a pocket passer with an emphasis on accuracy and reading defenses, they hire a coach with expertise in running an offense that depends – in part, at least – on having a mobile QB.

    As Sheil has pointed out several times, how do you have Vick and Foles on the same practice field? Their styles / strengths couldn’t be more different. Kelly has just been hired and is already at a major crossroad. Is he going to release the player who losses out??

    While Kelly was at Oregon you could say that none of his personnel decisions were all that long-term – 4 yrs was the max. It will be a little different at the pro level – especially at the quarterback position. Since neither Vick nor Foles is considered “ideal” from a skill-set standpoint, the QB decision may be short-term for now. But what if one of them (hopefully) has a good deal of success next year? Could get a lot trickier after that….

  • Rick H

    Sheil knows I like him and Tim a lot! I was one very first people to tell him that and this is a great site. My original comment on this article is a culmination of the recurring underlying preference of Sheil. So I just was simply stating to Sheil just don’t hide his opinion in a passive aggresive manner. Just say it! Sheil knows I like him but he has covertly & steadily pounded his anti Foles mantra.

    • sdk152

      Rick, I can assure you I have no preference one way or another. I’ve written plenty of complimentary Foles pieces in the past. I’m simply reporting what I see/hear and reading between the lines. I could easily be wrong, but I just call it like I see it. Thanks to all for reading. -SK

      • nicksaenz1

        Sheeeiiillllll!!!!!! Keep up the good work!

        • dislikedisqus

          You commented at 4 a.m.?

          • nicksaenz1

            Had just got home from work, thanks.

          • dislikedisqus

            It is Birds 24/7!

      • Graham

        Thanks for the great reads.

  • Myke Lowery

    Sheil.. any truth to the rumor Nick is available for a 3rd rounder? http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/2/21/4015896/nick-foles-trade-rumors-eagles-chiefs

  • Rick H

    Fair enough Sheil! Maybe I accumulating my anti Foles media bias from other Eagles writers.. from newspapers and TV.. I like Foles a lot but by no means do i project or even have the savy knowledge to know if he will be really good. i will read you articles more on face value and not attempt to read so much into it. As you know i really like both you and Tim! The site is great or i wouldn’t be on it so often. i enjoy the Eagles greatly and have done so avidly since 1962.

  • GW.Fisher

    Foles won’t be here after draft day. Vick, Dixon, and one of the 2nd/3rd Rpound QB’s as 3rd string. This year is about installing the offense, Vick is the modern day Doug Peterson…

    • knighn

      Doug Pederson was the first example I thought of.

      Then I thought about it some more. Here’s the example I prefer:
      Mike Shanahan, in his first two seasons with the Redskins, had Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck. There was VERY little chance that any of those guys were going to be there long term. Shanahan still tried to compete and win with those guys while running the team his way. When the ‘skins had a chance to draft RGIII, they jumped on it (after two seasons with the other guys).

      Chip Kelly has Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Dennis Dixon. Vick, like McNabb, is on the decline at this point in his career – I can’t see him lasting here for more than 2 years – I’d be somewhat surprised if he’s here after this year. Dennis Dixon has 3 starts to his name and years on practice squads, so he must be considered a long shot even with his Chip Kelly history. Nick Foles has a bit more starting experience than Dixon, but not a lot of wins and not a lot of mobility – there is no guarantee for him either. Foles could turn it around and impress the heck out of Chip, forcing Chip to change the way he does things a bit, but he could also be trade bait while Chip Kelly keeps looking for his QB (his “RGIII”) over the next season or two.

  • Andy

    I agree with you, Sheil.

    Yes, Kelly has worked with pocket-passing QBs before, but when given the opportunity as the Ducks’ head coach to build up the program from scratch and implement the system he felt that, with no constraints, would be the most effective at scoring points (and BTW WAS), he built a read-option offense that relies heavily on the threat of the QB running. That is his best solution to how to score points on the football fields. Yes, he can adjust to personnel if required, but longer-term he is going to migrate toward the system he believes is optimal, and we have several years of evidence to observe at Oregon to see exactly what that was, as well as Kelly’s own documentation of what it is.

    It’s all built on the inside zone read and outside zone read plays that take a defender out of the equation to spy the QB and gain an extra blocker on the play side of the field. A simple numbers game but predicated on the QB being able to run the ball if the defender commits to the play side rather than covering the QB.