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.