What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about Nick Foles, Chip Kelly and the Eagles this week.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com weighs in on the future with Foles:

I don’t know if the Eagles, who will have to beat Dallas in Week 17 and probably need other help before then, can win the division. I do know Foles has given Kelly and GM Howie Roseman a lot to think about after the season in draft prep. Maybe Philly ignores the strong crop of quarterbacks in the 2014 draft, re-signs Vick at a reasonable, incentive-based wage, and goes with the same three passers next year: Foles, Vick, Matt Barkley. The physical toll of the position has shown this year, with Vick and Foles being out for periods after big hits. Kelly might figure he needs three he trusts to make it through a 16-game season.

In an NFL.com article, Brent Celek offers up a huge endorsement for his coach:

“Chip’s a beast,” Celek said. “Our tempo on offense is crazy. It’s such a great scheme. And it scares people who don’t want to change, but they don’t see what we’re doing.

“Talk to any coach on our staff, and they’ll be doing this system for the rest of their lives — because it makes sense. It’s genius. Someone took the time to sit down and figure out a better way to do this. Why have nine or 10 words for a play? We have one, or two or three.

The Eagles are all the way up to 10th in ESPN.com’s power rankings:

The Cardinals blitzed on 70 percent of Nick Foles’ first-half dropbacks Sunday. Foles was 10-of-14 for 138 yards and two touchdowns against the blitz before Arizona adjusted. Too little, too late.

Robert Mays of Grantland says Foles is for real:

The other side of that argument is that the defining part of Kelly’s offense is tempo above all else, and having a quarterback who’s able to control the game at that speed is the no. 1 factor in its success. Foles has done that. And if he isn’t the quarterback of the future for Kelly, there will be a quarterback-needy team willing to pay up for him. If this continues, that may never be an issue. Nick Foles is for real, and at least for this year, it might be enough to send the Eagles to the playoffs.

Don Banks of SI.com says Foles’ ascension reminds him of another QB situation:

I live in the Philly area these days, and some of the skepticism about Foles reminds me of those Patriots fans who continued to cling to the notion that Drew Bledsoe was the team’s future, even while Tom Brady’s ascension continued and New England made the 2001 playoffs and put together a Super Bowl run. I say trust your eyes on this one. Foles looks like an NFL starting quarterback to me, a very good one at that.

Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com on the Eagles’ four-game winning streak:

Philadelphia’s up-down-up season is confounding all predictions. One subtle factor for the Nesharim is that the same five offensive linemen have started every game, and now understand what Chip Kelly wants them to do. Another is that Nick Foles is studying the playbook and following it; Michael Vick, for all his talent, was prone to freelancing. The key is an improving Eagles defense, which allowed 35 points per game in the first month of the season, and has allowed 18 points per game since.

Chris Burke of SI.com has a new mock draft out. He projects Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard to the Eagles at No. 20:

Merely sliding up a cornerback here. Dennard was a Lion as of Mock 3.0, but with the Eagles’ pick in that first draft now up at No. 17, to Chicago, Philadelphia nabs the Spartan instead. He’s just what Philadelphia needs: an aggressive, physical cornerback capable of playing in man coverage.

Doug Farrar of SI.com provides a list of under-the-radar contenders that includes the Eagles:

Nick Foles is coming off one of the the single best months for any NFL quarterback … well, ever with his 152.8 passer rating in November. And his 19-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio is singularly impressive. But the thing that has Eagles fans excited about their team’s playoff hopes is a defense that has turned things around after a very rough start. Under defensive coordinator Billy Davis, Philly hasn’t given up more than 21 points in a game since Sept. 29.

Football Outsiders’ numbers point to the Eagles as the top team in the league since Week 9. They had Foles’ Week 13 performance as the seventh-best of any QB:

Foles hit Zach Ertz for a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put Philadelphia ahead 24-7. For the rest of the game, he went 1-of-7 for 9 yards with more sacks (two) than first downs (one).

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com ranks the Eagles ninth:

Nick Foles now has 19 touchdowns without throwing an interception this season and leads the NFL with a 125.2 passer rating this season.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 10th in his power rankings:

Nick Foles is on a roll, but the Eagles face a tough challenge this week against the Lions.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 11th:

The defense is improving on a weekly basis and Nick Foles is impressive the way he takes care of the ball and throws touchdowns. It’s a big game this week against the Lions with a pass rush that will challenge Foles.

Editor’s note: We initially linked to the wrong version of Kirwan’s power rankings.

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 13th:

Old St. Nick is at it again. We asked earlier in the season, in this very space, why Nick Foles couldn’t be the guy — and I was viewed as a crazy person for suggesting Foles get every opportunity to supplant Michael Vick. That said, no one, including yours truly, imagined him scoring 21 total touchdowns with just one turnover (a fumble) this season. For a second-year pro to attempt nearly 200 passes without giving up an interception is incredible.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 10th:

Maybe Chip Kelly has been talking so fast lately so no one thinks to ask him why Nick Foles wasn’t the Week One starter.

Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner has the Eagles ninth:

See that last sentence about the Lions? Well, it applies here too, if they win the East. But the takeaway from this season is that Chip Kelly’s offense should be great once it accumulates better talent.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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