How Will The New Coaching Staff Impact The Quarterback Position?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, January 4th, 2013
Current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is reportedly one of the names on the Eagles short list for the head coaching vacancy left by Reid’s firing on Monday morning. Kelly, with a career record of 45-7 at Oregon, runs an offense that would be an experiment in the NFL where defenses are ten times faster than in college.
One Eagles player may be secretly hoping that Chip Kelly finds another destination or the Eagles find another candidate to fill the job. Nick Foles, who started six of the Eagles last seven games, would not fit well with the speed offense that Kelly used at Oregon. It is widely believed that Michael Vick is done in Philadelphia after starting 9-3 and finishing 9-13 as an Eagles starter, including 0-1 in the only playoff game the Eagles had with him as starter. If the Eagles decide that Chip Kelly is their guy, though, Vick’s time in Philadelphia may continue, presumably on a much cheaper contract than he is currently playing under.
While there is no deadline to find a new head coach, there is a deadline to decide on what to do with Vick. By February 6th, the Eagles must make a decision whether or not Michael Vick will be wearing midnight green in 2013. He is due for a $3 million bonus on that day. Vick is set to make $15.5 million base salary in 2013 and it is unlikely that the Eagles will be able to carry that salary and remain under the cap.
The quarterback situation is one of the deciding factors in the direction the Eagles go in looking for a head coach and is also a deciding factor in the opposite direction. Nick Foles started six games in 2012 and seemed to improve every game. He only produced a single win but with a healthy offensive line and LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, Foles could have a bright future as the Eagles starting quarterback if he continues progress.
Foles shining moment of his rookie season came in week 14 in Tampa Bay. The Eagles only real “thriller” of the 2012 season came behind a 381 yard, 3 touchdown performance by the rookie. With the running game sputtering (2 yards on 13 carries between Bryce Brown and Dion Lewis) Foles had no run support. The Eagles only victory in the last 13 weeks of the season ended with a 2-point win from a touchdown pass from Foles to Jeremy Maclin on the final play of the game – 2nd and 1 on the one yard line with two seconds left in the game, down by five. Foles connected on his two passing touchdowns in the game in the final four minutes of the game, a feat that All-Pro quarterbacks can rarely accomplish. The third round pick’s final season stat line was quite impressive considering what he was playing with: 60.8 completion percentage, 1699 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions – a 79.1 passer rating and 45.3 Total QBR. He also went 1-5 in his six starts.
Michael Vick started the season 3-1 but failed to win again in 2012. Suffering a concussion in Week 10, Vick missed six total games when Foles was named starter despite Vick’s recovery. In just 10 games, Vick turned the ball over 15 times, a troubling rate of 1.5 turnovers per game. In the first four weeks, despite ugly games, the Eagles looked like a tough team that can pull out wins in tight games despite adversity. After those first four weeks, the Eagles 2012 season was a downward spiral with the lone bright spot in Tampa Bay. Vick, a quarterback who said that this Eagles team could be a dynasty before the season finished with a 58.1 completion percentage, 2362 yards, 12 TDs, and 10 INTs – a 78.1 passer rating and 46.0 Total QBR. Vick was 3-7 in his 10 starts with six straight losses.
It is almost a done deal that Vick will not return to the Eagles in 2013 and Foles will be the Eagles starter moving forward. For an offensive minded coach, the Eagles could be an attractive destination with many offensive weapons and a 23-year-old developing QB, not to mention a fourth overall pick in April’s draft. The Eagles still have interviews to plan and go through with and owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman, and team president Don Smolenski will have the final say in who coaches the Eagles in 2013. There are many options out there from college coaches looking to experiment in the NFL to retired coaches to assistant coaches around the league. Nick Foles is just hoping that one name, Chip Kelly, does not come to the forefront. If Kelly lands in Philly, Michael Vick may be bumped back to starter and Foles will return to starting clipboard holder.
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