By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Last week, it was a quarterback conversation. This week, after Nick Foles’ performance in Tampa, it’s a full-fledged quarterback controversy. This thing is still gaining speed. If Foles has another big-time game against the Cowboys, look out.
Michael Vick or Nick Foles? Over, and over, and over. Again, and again, and again.
There is one man to blame for this, and it is not Angelo Cataldi.
The man responsible for the quarterback controversy is Chip Kelly. And he’s not to be blamed, he’s to be thanked. He’s to be praised. He should inspire a sigh of relief who had Kelly running for the hills of Los Angeles and USC a couple of weeks ago.
We shouldn’t be praising Chip Kelly because he gave us something to talk about (which he did, so thanks anyway), but because Chip Kelly looks like he could be every bit the offensive mastermind he was advertised to be. As we were sitting back, wondering where the shock-and-awe offense of the first half in Washington went, Kelly was figuring out the NFL, and racking up yards and points at a record pace while doing it.
Then, when Kelly had racked up the second most yards in the NFL, and 27 points per game with Michael Vick behind center, he went and continued the trend with Nick Foles. He obliterated an above-average Tampa defense.
Michael Vick is a physical specimen, with a skill-set that has never before been brought to the quarterback position. His legs and his arm, as far as physical ability go, are unmatched, even at 33 years-old. Nick Foles does not have the cannon for an arm that Vick does, not even close. If Vick runs like the wind, Foles runs like his feet are stuck in mud. Vick is short, Foles is tall. The guys are as opposite as they can be, and the offense did not skip a beat.
The top story is the quarterback controversy, but the real story is that the quarterback doesn’t seem to matter.
Kelly has created this offensive explosion with two very talented players in LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. But the top-level talent ends there. At this point, Foles and Vick are mid-pack as far as NFL quarterbacks go, and Kelly has them performing well above what we’d expect. Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson, Bryce Brown, Brent Celek, all have had their moments, but they’re just names on a roster. Can you imagine what Kelly will do with an optimal quarterback and another receiver or two?
The scary part is this; Chip Kelly is just getting started. He’s coached six NFL games and with every quarter that passes, it’s a step closer to what Kelly will ultimately be able to create in the NFL.
Sometimes we get too close to things. Sometimes we see all of the flaws, and have trouble seeing the big picture.
The big picture is that from afar, Chip Kelly with few tools and little time has created an elite NFL offense.
It’s early, for sure. But Chip Kelly may just be everything we hoped for.