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By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly was noncommittal Monday at his day-after press conference as to who would be the Eagles’ starting quarterback against visiting Dallas this Sunday in a NFC East battle for first place at Lincoln Financial Field.
Nick Foles is coming off his second victory as a starter (first this season) after the Eagles’ 31-20 victory over the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. In replacing the injured Michael Vick, who pulled his left hamstring in the second quarter against the New York Giants two weeks, Foles completed 22 of 31 passes for 296 yards, three touchdowns, including two long TD tosses, one for 47 to Riley Cooper and a 36-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson.
Though it seems if Vick is healthy enough to go against Dallas, he will be the starter on Sunday. Kelly refuted something LeSean McCoy said after the game, saying Kelly revealed that Vick will remain the starting quarterback.
“Until we know what [Vick’s] health is, all of my decisions are made, whether it’s James Casey with a groin, or Mike with a hamstring, all of our decisions on who is going to play is based on health,” Kelly said. “I have no idea what [McCoy] is talking about. Me and LeSean didn’t talk about anything like that after the game, so I don’t know where the reference to after the game I said that. I haven’t talked to anybody about [who the starting quarterback is going to be against Dallas]. We just have to get ready to go play the next team. All of our decisions are based on who’s going to give us the best opportunity to win.”
Kelly said he’ll look at how Vick runs and can he execute the way they need him to move.
With Foles, the Eagles are 4-for-7 for touchdowns in the red zone. He’s completed 5 of 9 passes in the red zone for 35 yards and three TD passes. He directed an offense that amassed 425 yards of total offense. Foles completed passes to eight different receivers. Cooper had a career game, hauling in four passes for a game-high 120 yards.
In the red zone, Vick is 5 of 19 for 38 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought Nick did a really nice job,” Kelly said, after evaluating the game tape. “I’m really, really happy with how he performed within our offense. He did a good job in what the defense gave us. There were a lot of times where he got us out of some bad plays and got us into some good ones with the decisions he made, so we’re real happy with how Nick played.”
When asked if anything was specially designed for Cooper on Sunday, Kelly said no. “We ran the same offense and did the same things,” Kelly said. “Riley’s been open a lot, we just haven’t thrown the ball to him. That’s the one thing when you look at the production out of a receiver, we always look at catches and drops. When the ball has been thrown to Riley, he’s had an opportunity and he’s done it. The ball was thrown to him more on Sunday and he took advantage of it. We’ve been happy with Riley when the ball has been thrown to him.”
Kelly also cited the defense. He felt the team did a good job of stopping the Tampa running attack, and said that Fletcher Cox probably played his best game under Kelly.
DeMeco Ryans had a game-high 12 tackles and was all over the field, but as Kelly noted, it does start up front. Ryans benefitted from the work defensive ends Cox and Cedric Thornton and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga did in freeing up Ryans.
“DeMeco played a really, really good game, [Sopoaga] played a really good game, but it starts with those guys up front being able to occupy blockers so that DeMeco and Mychal [Kendricks] can run and make some plays,” Kelly said. “I thought our d-line in general, the biggest concern for us going into the game was Doug Martin, and we held him to 67 yards. I thought we did a pretty good job of that overall from a team standpoint.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.