Connecting Foles To Kelly’s History With QBs

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.We’ve linked to the site FishDuck.com several times in this space in the past couple months.

The site is run by Charles Fischer, a 56-year-old Oregon football fan, and his stable of writers. They provide great analysis and background on Chip Kelly and the Oregon program.

Fischer recently put up a post titled, Why Chip Kelly Will Win Super Bowls At Philadelphia. In case you can’t figure it out from the headline, Fischer thinks Eagles fans are in for a treat, and he has no reservations about Kelly’s ability to adjust to the NFL game.

He offered up one anecdote in particular that will be of interest to this group (hat tip to Bleeding Green Nation):

In 2007 Heisman candidate QB Dennis Dixon went down with a knee injury that thwarted Oregon’s National Championship hopes, but few realize the extent to which Oregon was ravaged by injuries at the position that year. Oregon was down to their fourth string QB, (Justin Roper, a redshirt freshman who later transferred to Montana) as the starter for the Sun Bowl that year and Coach Kelly devised a game plan for the statuesque Roper that utilized his talents. Roper threw for four touchdown passes in that victory while Oregon set a record for points in the Sun Bowl (56).  It was Chip’s first year as our Offensive Coordinator, and I knew then we had something special in this coach as I watched the DVR multiple times spellbound. I could not believe my eyes as we Oregon fans knew we were the ones about to get pasted going into this game, yet Coach Kelly’s game plan turned it completely around.

The story, of course, relates to the Eagles’ current QB situation. Kelly has been asked time and again about his preference for a mobile quarterback. In each instance, he says pretty much the same thing: that he’ll adjust to personnel and that he has won with classic drop-back quarterbacks before. Most often, he points to Ricky Santos, his QB at New Hampshire.

But he could have just as easily mentioned Roper’s performance in the Sun Bowl. To be fair, running back Jonathan Stewart led the way in that game, running for 253 yards on 23 carries. But Roper completed 17 of 30 attempts for 180 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

“I didn’t expect to have that many stats. I expected to do well, but not that well,” Roper said after the game, per the Associated Press.

Roper was not a running quarterback. He had 32 rushing attempts for 86 yards in 10 games with the Ducks before transferring to Montana. He was 6-5, 218 and described above as “statuesque.” The Eagles have a quarterback in Nick Foles, who is 6-5, 243. And while he showed last year that he could make some throws on the move, no one would consider him to be mobile.

Andy Reid developed a reputation for working with quarterbacks during his time as an assistant with the Packers and then during his 14-year run with the Eagles.

Kelly earned that reputation in the college ranks. In February of last year, Ted Miller of ESPN.com wrote, “I don’t want to sound fawning but I’m not sure any coach in the nation has been better with quarterbacks since 2007 than Chip Kelly.”

Miller then went on to recap how Kelly got the most out of Dennis Dixon in 2007, how he had to piece things together in 2008 after QB Nate Costa had knee issues and how he found an answer with Darron Thomas in 2010 after Jeremiah Masoli got kicked off the team.

One Oregon player pointed out to me earlier this offseason that Kelly made four BCS games with three different quarterbacks. And he was right.

The question that now hangs over Kelly’s hiring with the Eagles is: Can he make it work in the NFL? We’re all guessing on the answer, but the Roper story and Kelly’s QB history shows he’s had to adjust in the past.

Maybe that points to the Eagles’ thought process when it comes to hanging on to Foles: Evaluate the roster, identify assets, hang on to them and bank on Kelly being able to make it work, even if the skill set doesn’t always match the prototype.

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  • Andy

    You guys need to hire Fischer to write for this blog!

  • Graham

    articles like these get me so damn excited for the season… because who knows? who knows how it will all work? Nobody does. Articles like these encourage us eagles fans so much, as they all continue to point to how much of a football genius Chip is.

    Great article, great read thanks Sheil!
    From the fans in Ontario of the Great White North, we thank you

    • theycallmerob

      Someone linked to that in the comment section this morning , and I remember reading that quote and thinking along these lines. I also watched Santos rip apart my UD teams, including two great duels with Flacco (which Santos won both times).
      Besides the Sun Bowl, look at the magic he was working back then: http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=242550164

      Sheil, you’ve done it again. [slow clap]

  • whattheDEUCE22

    another cool article about developing O-lineman for Kelly’s zone scheme: http://fishduck.com/2013/02/developing-offensive-linemen-for-the-zone-scheme/

    • Andy

      Great read. Peters and Mathis, who strikes me as a very cerebral lineman, are going to thrive in this system. Danny Watkins seems to have the physical attributes and best case with “thousands of reps” will develop the football IQ to be effective as well.

    • nicksaenz1

      thanks for the link. very informative

  • knighn

    I don’t know whether or not Chip Kelly’s genius will translate to the NFL… or if he will be hindered by Howie Roseman and the Eagles current stable of talent evaluators… or if NFL players will be able to adapt to Kelly’s methodology… or if the rest of the NFL will quickly catch up to what Chip Kelly is trying to do and send him packing back to the college ranks.

    Here’s what I do know:
    – I HOPE that the Eagles win Super Bowls in the near future.
    – I am still glad that Andy Reid is gone. I still appreciate what Andy Reid did for Philadelphia Eagles football. I still think that his offense, coaching and Press Conferences became so predictable, stale and utterly boring. Chip Kelly may fail at the NFL level, but I don’t think it will be boring!

    • Graham

      If 18-22 yr old kids can adapt to his methodology, I think professionals can
      Agreed with the idea of Howie and Co restricting him with talent evaluations, we’ll find that out soon enough.
      Definitely won’t be boring. and Andy, I despise any fans who say they hate Andy. What he’s done for us fans for the last 13 years, regardless of his offense and stale pressers, he has given us some wonderful success. ya ya ya no ring, but how many years in the last 12 years (besides the last 2) did you have a doubt about the eagles making the playoffs? Zero? Exactly

  • FMWarner

    Whatever your reservations about Chip Kelly (and like most of us, I have a few), one thing it seems this season won’t be is boring.

    • Graham

      HELL YES…

      This guy wasn’t the most coveted coaching prospect this year for nothing, definitely some merit to it. Sheil’s great analysis is now showing us that merit and it’s only March…… so exciting…..

  • stevo

    Amazing. Best info out there. Thank you.

  • dislikedisqus

    Wow, you’re getting me excited and I had really written this season off.

    • Graham

      THIS IS WHAT WE NEED… all the Chip Kelly haters to convert…. at least until and if its a giant bomb next year…… then you can say I TOAD A SO

  • PHILZY

    CHIP WILL NEED A LOT OF QB’S WITH HIS RUNNING QB OFFENSE. NOW FOUR
    OF THEM WILL HAVE TO BE CARRIED OFF THE FIELD BEFORE HE GETS TO FOLES.
    MY GUESS, IT SHOULD HAPPEN BY WEEK SIX…….

  • Mr. Magee

    I predict Foles will win the battle with Vick. I love Vick as a competitor, but what motivated Chip to hang on to him, I do not know.

    • Wilbert M.

      I think you’re right. Kelly doesn’t have a dog in the fight (pun intended) and in an even competition, I think Foles will win. His reads & accuracy will be much more valuable than running ability.

  • Warhound

    Check out why Chip Kelly will win the SUPER BOWL as head coach of the Eagles here:

    http://fishduck.com/2013/03/why-chip-kelly-will-win-super-bowls-at-philadelphia/
    — PAeags

  • Explorer51

    It’s amazing that quite a few “fans” have made their brilliant judgement on a guy that hasn’t even had one practice with his team yet! Everyone who has observed Chip Kelly, or knows him on a football field, says the same thing: he’s innovative and flexible and he lives for football. The way the NFL rules are written, he can’t even talk, let alone watch live in action, any of the players on the team…including Michael Vick. Did anyone really expect him to cut a starter at QB before he sees him personally? My prediction is, that regardless of the money being paid, Kelly will make his personnel decisions based on performance only.

    • Mr. Magee

      Yes, explorer, I expected Vick to be released. Does he really have to see him in person. Is there not enough tape on him yet?