Kelly Knows Foles Can Hold Up In Hot Water

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

Chip Kelly first unveiled the line after the Eagles selected Matt Barkley in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

“I’m going to steal a quote from [former Cleveland Browns head coach] Sam Rutigliano,” Kelly said. “He used to say, ‘With a quarterback, it’s like a tea bag. You don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water.’ ”




Kelly recycled the quote last summer when Nick Foles and Michael Vick were preparing to square off for the starting job. But now, he can probably fold that reference up and put it in a safe place because it doesn't need to be brought up again in regards to the 2014 season.

There's no predicting how Foles will perform going forward (that's not to say we won't try), but if there's one thing he's proven, it's that he can bounce back. In the middle of last season, Foles found himself in the hottest of waters. With a chance to stake claim to the starting job against the Cowboys, he turned in his worst game of the season, suffering a concussion in the process.

"After the concussion, he came by to check on me, make sure everything was OK, because that’s just how Chip is," Foles recalled. "He really cares about us as players. That’s why you see us going as hard as we do, because we have great coaches here that make it fun to play. The big thing is that he was always supportive.

"Then when I got to play against Oakland, it wasn’t anything where he had to pull me into the office and make sure, you know, it was just very simple. Went in there, he told me what was going to happen, and I was ready to go."

In every NFL player's career, there are "turning point" moments. And there's no question that Foles' seven-touchdown performance was one of them. With his future in question, he came up big, grabbed the starting job and helped the Eagles get to the playoffs.

"Going into that game, it was just one of those weeks where you’re coming off the concussion, you’re just really paying attention to every single detail, you’re trying to really focus in even more, because you remember your last play was a concussion," Foles said. " 'Alright, can I still do this? Can I still react like I need to?’ You really don’t know until the game starts. But after the first drive of the Oakland game, I knew that my reactions and everything were there."

Kelly, meanwhile, points to a different example. The Eagles were shut out for most of the first half in the playoff game against the Saints. But the offense put up 17 points in the second half to give the Birds the lead with under five minutes left.

"He’s not going to get down on himself," Kelly said. "He’s going to continue to kind of bounce back and learn from what just went on and try not to make a mistake that he made earlier. Early in the Saints game he kind of was just OK, but I think when you watched how he played in the second half, I thought he came out and played really, really well in the second half against the Saints. I think that’s an example of him kind of learning from what went on in the first half and not getting down on himself: 'Whenever the next opportunity comes I’m going to go take advantage of it.' "

Other than some post-game handshakes after Arizona-Oregon games in college, Kelly and Foles didn't really know each other well before their partnership began in Philadelphia. And the relationship is still at a relatively early stage. Kelly needs to find out whether Foles can show an even better grasp of the offense, take fewer sacks and continue his stellar decision-making in 2014.

But after last year's campaign, he has an answer to the hot water question.

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  • Alex Einhorn

    The Lancaster Barnstormers Baseball Team will be raffling off two tickets to a Philadelphia Eagles 2014-15 regular season game at Lincoln Financial Field. Get your Tickets now for Football Night on 8/26 at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster pa by visiting www dot Lancaster Barnstormers dot com

    • MediaMike

      Can I win tickets to the Eagles / Giants game, take all of the Giants fans who show up and lock them in a barn, and hope that a storm hits that barn and burns it to the ground with all of the Giants fans in it?

  • myeaglescantwin

    even back to last year’s preseason, it was clear that Foles ran this offense better.
    He had a drive, i think he went down the field 7-8. The only miss was a forced pass in the back of the endzone that was picked.

    After that, we went into the regular season and Foles was number two in line. I think that late int was the difference at the beginning of the season. I also think that Foles let that sit in his mind and decided he wasn’t going to take those types of chances again.

    for better or worse, 2014 will let us know.

    • Jason

      I remember how awful that pass decision was at the time. If that lead to him learning from that mistake, I hope he throws three more like that this preseason.

    • Mitch Mitchell

      Yeah that interception was definitely the only difference, I remember thinking that myself. I also remember thinking that if Vick went down for whatever reason that Foles would be a solid replacement so I was at a pretty good comfort level going into last season…although I didn’t think I’d be 27-2 comfortable…

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      MECW, cant say i agree with you there on PS QB performances. as i recall, thought 3 things
      1. Vick looked great
      2. Foles looked good, improved from ’12, probably .500 qb if called upon
      3. Vick was going to get hurt, so what were we all arguing over? Foles was going to get his chance.

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        I’m with MECW. Vick’s throw to Dj for the 47yd TD looked great, and one or two other plays that were likely on ESPN, but I think Foles ran the offense better, especially the tempo part.

      • southy

        seconded cliff. the reporting was all: Foles looks good. Vick looks REAL good. Vick was the incumbent starter so there was no reason to take the ball away from him. then post-the WAS awesomeness we were all reminded of why. it’s not like Foles looked like a sure-fire career backup.

        • Kev_H

          Technically, Vick wasn’t the incumbent starter. Reid named Foles the starting QB if both were healthy during the 2012 season.

          • southy

            Ah right, fair enough

      • myeaglescantwin

        i dig that “MECW”

        from what i saw at each of the practices i was at, the 7 on 7 and 11 on 11’s. Foles looked good.
        The only thing that stopped him from getting that job was how well Mike Vick played too.
        I’d say it worked out well.

    • FluxCapacitor

      Can’t agree completely with you.

      Foles looked really good in the summer last year – but Vick looked amazing. I wanted Foles to win the competition, but there was no way I could argue with the decision. Vick had earned the job.

      But, I do think it drove Foles to the performance he had once he got back in there. He just has that in him, and it’s a quality that few have to the degree Nick has. I believe the sky is the limit for that reason alone.

      • Kev_H

        I think Kelly’s the best coach out there, but I disagree with how he handled QB. It’s ridiculous to decide on a QB based on pre-season game action due to tiny sample size and widely divergent and unrealistic game situations. I think it cost them a playoff bye, but I guess you can argue that it set Foles up for maximum success, since he got to step in and save what was starting to look like a lost season. But if pre-season accomplishments meant a lot, Babe Laufenberg would have been a Pro-Bowler.

        • borntosuffer

          Kelly had the locker room to consider. Vick was an excellent leader and the players had a great deal of respect for him. To start Foles after Vick outplayed him in preseason would not have gone over big. I believe Chip did the correct thing.

          • Kev_H

            At that point I agree with you (slightly). But to me, the better move isn’t to paint yourself into a corner by being a slave to relatively arbitrary pre-season results. Foles was technically the incumbent and named by Reid the starter at the beginning of December 2012. At that point, most people had the Eagles letting Vick go and starting fresh. To me, it never made sense to even consider Vick a starter since he didn’t represent the future at his age. If Kelly would have brought Vick back in the same situation he is in currently with the Jets, I think that would have been the best. Name Foles the QB with Vick waiting in the wings if he falters. The actual pre-season outcomes would have had no influence (they shouldn’t) and teammates and fans would have been happy that both QBs looked sharp; excited by the youngster and possibilities while comforted by a veteran back up who looks great too. I speculate that going with Vick and being a slave to marginally different pre-season outcome could have cost them another win or two.

            I have a hard time buying into the locker room stuff when it comes to Foles, because from his first day in camp and first pre-season snap, he seemed to gain everybody’s respect. Remember his first pre-season game against New England? Vick went down early and Foles was thrown right in there for the whole game and did great. I seem to remember a sideline interview or two with veteran players (one with DeSean Jackson) who were very impressed with him. While they were competing and there was uncertainty, I read again and again how you couldn’t find a teammate who had a bad thing to say about either guy. And if you have a locker room that can be lost and guys that are that unprofessional, you need to get rid of them all and start from scratch anyway, because you won’t win jack with that kind of crew.

          • FluxCapacitor

            But, what you are missing is this was a message out to the rest of the team from Chip…if you outplay the person in front of you then you will start, and you will lose your job if you do not play better than everybody else. If he said it was a competition, and the clear winner was not giving the gig he lost all credibility…which for a fist year coach from college would have been disaster.

            It was more than the locker room, or who started at QB. It was a mindset and creating a culture of everybody knowing they have a shot to start. I think Chip played it perfectly (even though I have a full man crush on Foles).

      • Travis Papa

        I had exactly the same impression.

        • borntosuffer

          Agreed.

    • MediaMike

      I think what we really learned from watching Vick in the pre-season and then vs. KC is that he’s really good in faux-football situations, but can’t handle real games. He totally won that job, but has to be branded as an untrustworthy player. We might have known that better from Vikings 2010, 2011 and 2012.

      • myeaglescantwin

        I’m going to go ahead and disagree with that 100%.

        to put any label on Foles this early is misguided. he’s not the franchise QB, he’s not an untrustworthy bum. . . . yet.

        He’s a 3rd round draft choice entering his 3rd year with a 17 game resume that ranks amongst the top QB performers first 17 games EVER. Jury is still out.

  • Dominik

    You know that football season is coming when Birds 24/7 puts out 4 quality articles on one day. Boooy, it’s getting started.

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      amazing how increase in 24/7 articles inversely effects my work production. back to answering emails from 8-11pm that i ignored during day

      • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

        Not sure my employer would use the word “amazing” to describe the inverse effect of more b247 articles = less production.

      • shady25

        Thought I was the only one….

  • Kev_H

    It’s funny, the one thing people unanimously lauded Foles for coming out of college was his ability to perform in hot water (see Trent Dilfer’ s analysis for example).

    • dnabrice

      It’s great for us that he’s so cool under pressure. So important for a QB. See Romo as exhibit A.

  • MediaMike
    • mosquito killer

      correction: rodriguez believes maclin sucks. and he believes that based on a very biased interpretation of his hand-selected “facts” and isolated plays. his argument is basically circular: “i didn’t’ know how much maclin sucked until i realized i didn’t like him”. a novice effort; nothing more.

      • MediaMike

        No, it’s solid work.

        • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

          I’m somewhere in the middle on this. The biggest problem I have with A-Rod’s article is that he knocks Maclin for having inflated stats for being in an offense that produces inflated stats. It just so happens to be that he’s in an offense that, according to some, does the same.

        • OldDuckMcDoc

          No, it’s dumb.

          It would take longer than I care to devote to it to highlight all of the dumb, but he started to lose me at “lets ignore playoff stats!”, continued losing me at “and ignore number of receptions too!”, then had me all the way out with his hilariously stupid ‘easy/not easy’ TD analysis during which (and ignoring the fact several of Maclin’s “easy TDs” were not IMO) he conveniently hand waves away the fact that Maclin has more “not easy” TDs than all but one of the WRs on his arbitrarily constructed list.

          It’s a hit piece by someone with an admitted pre-existing dislike of Maclin. An object lesson in confirmation bias. Waste of valuable interwebs.

        • daggolden

          3 broken tackles in one season is all you need to know. Self tacklin Jeremey Maclin. Hands very avg. Speed slightly above avg. RAC pathetic. Fumbles slightly above avg. Health way below avg. Game changing plays non-existent. Fooling fans he that he is a good receiver off the charts.

          • JofreyRice

            I thought the main point of the article is pretty much on point. Maclin’s an average receiver that people shouldn’t be too excited about.

  • Gordon Mitchell

    the tea bag quote is eleanor roosevelt talking about women but good stuff!

  • http://lifewiththefamilyo.com/ CitizenCraig

    I like Slick Nick and hope the Eagles play my Pats in the Superbowl!

  • dislikedisqus

    Better a QB struggle in the first half of a playoff game than its fourth quarter, Tony Romo