How Will Chip Kelly Handle the Eagles’ Latest Quarterback Controversy?


There has been much speculation about how Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly will resolve his current quarterback situation. Some believe he is under immense pressure to choose a permanent starter right now. But if we step back and look at the big picture, it appears both Kelly and the Eagles are actually in a very good position given their current circumstances. Let’s do a quick review.

Oct 13, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-20. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

First up, veteran quarterback Michael Vick. When Vick is on, he is almost unbeatable. On some of his best days, Vick simply cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, judging from the past four years, his best days may very well be behind him.

Vick’s completion ratio has decreased from 62.6% in 2010 to 54.6% so far this year. In 2011, that number was 59.8%. And in 2012, it was 58.1%. Granted, that is better than most years in his career. But the trend is moving in the wrong direction. Plus, he is 33 years old. Which isn’t too old in Quarterback years but in Vick years he is probably more like 37 or 38. He takes a lot of hits on that smallish frame of his. It isn’t a secret he has only started all games in a season one time in his career. Those hits add up.

His current hamstring injury is the most troubling of all. Hammy injuries are not overcome quickly or very easily. Given that Vick’s 33-year old body has many, many miles on it; he may not completely heal before the middle of December or later. And his performance the last two years has been just north of abysmal. With that hanging over the Eagles Offense like stale Chinese food the day after Thanksgiving, one has to wonder if this isn’t Vick’s last year as an Eagle.

Enter second-year quarterback Nick Foles. On paper, the former Wildcat looks promising. In the seven games Foles played last year, his CMP% was 60.8%. And this year, so far in six games, it is 62.7%. Granted, Foles has attempted far less passes. But he is getting more accurate. And Foles is stingy with the ball.

So far this year, Foles has yet to throw an interception, despite having 13 touchdowns. Incidentally, he has thrown for more than twice the number of touchdowns as he did last year and played in just one more game. Last Sunday’s seven touchdown performance may have been an anomaly. In fact, I am pretty sure it was. On the opposite side of that, the game Foles had against Dallas three weeks ago may have also been an anomaly. Only time will tell. And fortunately for him and Chip Kelly, that is exactly what they have: Time.

So, in the end, Kelly is in a great position. Let’s assume worse case scenario and Vick is out of the picture. If Foles doesn’t pan out this year, there is a great crop of quarterbacks headed into the 2014 NFL Draft. If Foles does work out, then Chip can develop him and turn him into the franchise quarterback the Eagles need. Kelly is a smart coach. He heard Jeffrey Lurie’s proclamation that the Eagles’ number one priority is finding that elusive franchise quarterback. Kelly should have Foles under the microscope for the rest of the season. He should be looking for chinks in the armor. If Kelly doesn’t like what he sees, he’ll simply draft a good solid QB next year. They are coming.

This article was written by contributor Todd Duvall.