In the famous 1818 English novel Frankenstein, author Mary Shelley writes about an eccentric mad scientist who creates a remarkable “creature” in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Fast forward to Philadelphia, 2014, where a new mad scientist, aka Chip Kelly is busy at work with his new creation: Sanchez 2.0.
In March Mark Sanchez was signed off of the NFL QB scrap heap by the Philadelphia Eagles. Left for dead after some early career success with the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez’ signing did not really interest many observers. Unfortunately for Mark Sanchez, since his days at USC, he has been working with, to be kind, lesser offensive geniuses, in his time with the New York Jets. A profile of Sanchez as a quarterback was developed (the NFL loves to do this) and he was put in a box as a scrappy, noodle armed game manager with enough moxie to lead his team to the AFC Championship game twice. The Eagles needed a veteran arm for backup after Michael Vick‘s departure, particularly with two young QB’s on the roster (including 2013 draft pick Matt Barkley). Kelly was already familiar with Sanchez from his days in the PAC 12 and knew how to leverage his skills effectively.
What we have seen of the new Sanchez this summer is nothing short of phenomenal. His statistics, albeit preseason, indicate maximum effectiveness in operating the Eagles offense.
But even more impressive is how it looks.
Sanchez looks like, dare I say it, a true athlete playing quarterback. The faster pace of the Eagles offense has been quite noticeable with Sanchez at the helm. He has an athletic bounce in his dropbacks, and his read decisions have been lightning fast. In the Eagles’ offense, Sanchez looks a lot like Marcus Mariota, the Oregon Ducks star quarterback, and Chip Kelly recruit.
What About Nick Foles?
Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Nick Foles had a spectacular statistical year in 2013, by most measures of quarterback effectiveness. Historically good touchdown to interception ratio, excellent accuracy for a young QB, while displaying a strong arm in making the Eagles the best big play (plays over 20 yards) team in the NFL last year. Although not fleet afoot, Foles was adequate in executing the Eagles option plays, even gaining some modest yardage himself on the ground when needed. The only issue was, what we were watching was hard to believe, even though it was really happening right before our very eyes.
Nick Foles was drafted by former Eagles Coach Andy Reid (and GM Howie Roseman) with a different vision in mind. A quarterback with excellent accuracy, and eager to learn the proper mechanics to deliver passes on time and to very specific spots. And a big enough arm to keep defenses off balance by heaving an occasional deep ball, to ensure Eagles receivers had enough room underneath to make the West Coast Offense operate at peak efficiency. That was the vision of how Nick Foles could potentially develop into one of the league’s best quarterbacks.
Of course when new Eagles coach Chip Kelly was hired, he was already familiar with Nick Foles skills and attributes from their days in the PAC 12 (sound familiar?). Kelly saw how those skills could be translated to the offense the Eagles were to run in 2013, although most observers, it is fair to say, did not. We were pleasantly surprised last year with the results of Kelly’s vision of Nick Foles, the quarterback.
What Does The Future Hold?
Training camp and preseason games have revealed an interesting dilemma that must now be swirling in the heads of Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman and Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly. They now know what they really have in Mark Sanchez. Sanchez 2.0 is better than half of the leagues’ starting quarterbacks. Recently Kelly has spoken about potential trade offers for Mark Sanchez from other quarterback needy teams. He seems to be outwardly soliciting bids for Sanchez services. Maybe this is for real, maybe not. Maybe the plan is to see if Foles is for real, and if he turns into Kevin Kolb, we will then see Kelly’s Frankenstein as the new Eagles quarterback. In truth, both quarterbacks are playing this year for new larger contracts in 2015. It will be very interesting to see what happens. Finally, just remember this, Chiefs Coach Andy Reid may also be looking for a new starting quarterback in 2015, and he’s already tried once before to acquire Foles from the Eagles. He may try again soon.