Eagles Wake-Up Call: Wilson Vs. Kelly, Take 2
Russell Wilson and Chip Kelly were part of the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played.
Wisconsin and Oregon combined for over 1,100 yards of offense in the Ducks’ narrow 45-38 win back in January of 2012 that gave Kelly his first bowl victory. Wilson had 314 all-purpose yards and accounted for three of the Badgers’ touchdowns (two passing, one running). He had Wisconsin within striking distance late but time ran out on him.
Less than a month later, Wilson sat down with former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah at the Senior Bowl and promised big things for the franchise if they took a chance on him.
“At the end of the interview, you always ask for players’ numbers so you can get in touch with them — he asked for my number. And then I would get text messages from him periodically saying, ‘If the Eagles draft me, I will lead the Eagles to championships.’ You know he would send me these text messages,” Jeremiah said back in September.
“So leading up, even the day of the draft, the first day of the draft: ‘If the Eagles draft me I will lead them to championships.’ He was sending me these text messages. Well, we really liked him, and I thought there was a very real chance he was going to end up being a Philadelphia Eagle there. And then of course, Seattle ends up taking him.”
Wilson went 75th overall to the Seahawks, and has helped Seattle to a 32-12 record and a Super Bowl title since taking over. The Eagles drafted Nick Foles 13 picks later and set off on their own course, which included bringing Kelly on board as head coach the following year.
This coming Sunday, coach and quarterback will square off once again in a game that has significant playoff implications for their respective teams.
Kelly may have some first-hand experience going up against Wilson, but that doesn’t make preparing for him much easier.
“It’s difficult because we don’t have anybody as athletic [to simulate him in practice],” said Kelly. “But that’s no different than any quarterback you face. We didn’t have anybody that could simulate Cam Newton. We don’t have a 6’5″, 250‑pound — unless we went to the Sixers and grabbed one of their power forwards.
“We don’t have a Marshawn Lynch we can simulate, we don’t have a Richard Sherman we can simulate. You are really just getting used to what their scheme is and kind of how they run their operation. But you’re never going to be able to simulate players of that caliber no matter who you’re facing.”
The Eagles have seen their share of mobile quarterbacks, but Wilson has a style all his own. He’ll spin, scramble, shake and sprint, and that’s only accounting for what he does behind the line of scrimmage.
“He always has his eyes down the field. He’s not looking to run, but if you give him the opportunity to run, I think he makes really, really good decisions when he’s flushed from the pocket,” said Kelly. “He’s always got his eyes up. He’s always looking for open receivers. If they’re not there, he takes what the defense gives him. He never takes a big hit.”
Wilson is completing 64 percent of his passes and has thrown 15 touchdowns to five interceptions this season. He has also rushed for 679 yards (7.5 ypc) and four scores. Teamed with Lynch, Seattle has the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL.
“You’ve really got to defend the quarterback. I think they spread you out a little bit more in the run game and can do that because of the quarterback,” said Kelly.
Seattle ranks 29th as a passing offense (192 yards per game) and is not rich with playmakers on that side of the ball. Still, the Seahawks have scored at least 30 points five times this season and rank 11th in points per game (24.8). The Eagles defense will have its hands full and that’s largely because of Wilson, who faces off against the team he once courted and the coach he once made history with.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles-Cowboys Game Review gives a player-by-player breakdown for each member of the defense which was highlighted by Fletcher Cox‘s monster game.
This week’s Twitter Mailbag tackles the looming quarterback question that will arise when Foles is healthy.
Chip downplays the dust-up between Mark Sanchez and Riley Cooper which led to the burning of a timeout.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Les Bowen of the Daily News compares Foles and Sanchez, who he believes will start the rest of the way:
Nick Foles got good news from his CT scan Friday, but Foles is still at least a few weeks and continued healing away from being cleared for contact. Unless Mark Sanchez gets injured or self-destructs, Foles will not take back the reins for the final week or 2 of the regular season, even if he gets clearance.
When this season started, the biggest question we wanted answered was whether Foles is a franchise quarterback, a guy who can get you a Lombardi Trophy. He didn’t prove he was before breaking his left collarbone Nov. 2 at Houston. He seemed close to proving he wasn’t, though offensive-line instability and a flickering running game dealt Foles a tougher hand than Sanchez has been playing the past few games; the Eagles are averaging 35.3 points in Sanchez’s four starts.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz talks about the top contenders in the NFC and the woes of the Arizona offense:
Even though the Eagles played on Thursday, today was a big day for the Eagles. The team is 9-3 and in the hunt for the top spot in the NFC. The other teams in the mix are the Cardinals and Packers.
Arizona played against the Falcons and lost 29-18. That drops the Cardinals to 9-3. Their offense has been awful without Carson Palmer. They went 10 quarters without scoring a TD. They broke that drought by scoring very late today in what was essentially garbage time. Arizona plays KC and then finishes with 3 division games. I don’t see them coming out of that stretch better than 2-2. If so, they’d finish at 11-5 and the Eagles have a good chance at topping that record. It is important that the Eagles have the better record since Arizona won head-to-head.
Eagles begin training for the Seahawks game. We’ll speak to the coordinators before practice.