By Joe Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly stated from the outset that he’s always been a Nick Foles fan—and the Eagles’ coach is finding out even more about his quarterback.
It’s one of a handful of topics, along with emerging receiver Riley Cooper, spiced with some snarkiness, that Kelly spoke about in his day-after presser with the local media on Monday at the NovaCare Complex after the Eagles’ 27-13 victory over Green Bay.
After his three touchdown passes on Sunday against the Packers, Foles has now thrown 16 TDs without an interception. Foles completed 12 of 18 against the Packers for 228 yards.
“Nick’s really, really smart with the football; very rarely do you see Nick throw where all of a sudden it’s tipped or almost intercepted,” Kelly said. “I think going the other way, I think our defense probably should have made a couple of more plays defensively on the ball and didn’t. But you don’t see that out of Nick. He has a real good understanding of what we’re doing and he doesn’t really put the ball in harm’s way. Most of the time, to his credit, he goes to the right spot. He does a good job of protecting the football, especially when the pocket breaks down.
“A lot of times, that’s where plays occur, where all of a sudden it’s about turning a bad play into a worse play. Sometimes the right thing to do is just pull it down and let’s get the next snap off. I think that’s what he’s done. He’s a real, real good decision maker. Again, I’ve said it from Day One, he’s a better athlete than people think. He picked up a couple of critical first downs for us, because he can make good decisions. I’m just really happy with how he’s played in the last two weeks. Nick may not be fleet of foot, but he’s fleet of mind.”
It now seems very apparent that it’s Foles’ job. Yet, Kelly was asked about that.
“It’s my approach in terms of how we’re doing things, who’s up, who’s available, I’ve had guys go down on Friday, so why does it really matter who I say is the starter for the next Sunday’s game,” said Kelly, who pointed to a reporter and said, “Then I’m going to name you the starter. You’re starting this week, and I’m excited about it. Nick is getting all of the reps right now, because Mike [Vick] isn’t practicing right now. When [Vick is healthy], we’ll have a discussion. But that day’s not here. When we don’t have a quarterback deal, because one of our quarterbacks is all banged up. But a scoop for all of you guys, the first-team reps tomorrow, Nick is going to take them.”
Kelly also cited the work being done by the defensive front of Vinny Curry, Benny Logan, Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox.
“In the run game itself, I think Vinny is getting better and better, and [the Green Bay] game was his best game against the run,” Kelly said. “I think all of those guys on the defensive front, Fletcher Cox, Benny Logan probably played his best game. Ced [Thornton] played up to his standard, which has been pretty high, Vinny played very well. We knew shutting down their ground game was going to be extremely important, and it was going to start up front. I thought all of those guys did a really good job.”
Kelly made sure to correct what he felt was a misconception about Cooper, who over the last two weeks has caught a combined eight passes for 241 yards and five touchdowns.
“I don’t think [Cooper] struggled in his first five games getting open, I don’t think he had the ball thrown to him, but I don’t think he was struggling getting open,” Kelly said. “When you watch the tape, he was open. I think we have more time to throw, and we’re doing a better job with protection. I think the guy calling plays is calling better plays. Riley is really, really good at tracking the ball. It’s one of his qualities, he can track a ball in the air.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.