Since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, Nick Foles has turned a lot of heads. Nineteen touchdown passes and no interceptions will do that.
But most importantly, he's impressed new head coach Chip Kelly, who said on 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Show that he expects Foles will be his starter heading into next season.
Here are his comments, via CBS Philly:
Yeah you hope [Nick Foles is the quarterback of the future], but—and I don’t mean to be coy, I always say this—is that, you can say that whomever it is, is your player of the future and then next week they get hurt. You know, so, I hope Nick [Foles] is here for a long time. I’m a big supporter of him, I think he does a fantastic job, but we also know that injuries occur in this game and that’s why I always qualify what I say. I love the kid and I think he’s playing outstanding.
Kelly later addressed those comments at his press conference. From Eagles Insider:
Kelly: As long as he can stay healthy (I expect Nick Foles to be our quarterback next season).— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) December 2, 2013
Kelly: No INTs yet is a credit to Foles and him not putting the ball in harm's way ... Very rarely does he make bad decisions.— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) December 2, 2013
And tired of being pressed on the issue, he even joked about how long he'd like Foles to be the starter, via Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Chip: He's the quarterback for the next 1,000 years here.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) December 2, 2013
Foles has certainly built a strong resume to remain the starter. He's 5-1 as a starter, has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 1,791 yards and has a pristine quarterback rating of 125.2.
While pundits often maintained that Kelly's up-tempo, read-option scheme would best be run by a mobile quarterback, Foles' decision-making and ability to avoid costly mistakes—while making plays down the field in the passing game—has proven to be a far more efficient style than Michael Vick's ability to run with the ball proved to be in this system.
Injuries are always a concern—and Foles could inexplicably regress down the stretch, though that seems unlikely—but at this point the up-and-coming quarterback has the Eagles firmly in the playoff hunt.
The Eagles are currently trailing the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East by a tiebreaker and are one game behind the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card race. If Foles can lead this team to the playoffs, the reins of Kelly's offense will most certainly be his for the foreseeable future.