When Chip Kelly decided to leave the University of Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles he knew he'd have a quarterback situation brewing once he arrived. He had veteran Michael Vick and second-year player Nick Foles on the roster, both of whom had started games for the Eagles in 2012. But Kelly has already announced that Vick will be his starting quarterback this season, and it's absolutely the right decision.
Nick Foles showed flashes of raw ability during his seven-game stint as the starter last season, but also several indications that he was still a rookie quarterback that needs time to develop.
The good news for Kelly is that both of these players didn't make that decision easy by the way they picked up his offense and have played during the 2013 preseason. Through three games, both of these quarterbacks are completing more than 73 percent of their passes.
Here are some more numbers from these two quarterbacks through three preseason games.
|Player||COM-ATT||PER||YDS||YPA||TD||INT||RUSH ATT||RUSH YDS||RUSH AVG|
|Nick Foles||21-25||84%||208||8.32||1 (rush)||1||6||19||3.1|
The two things that really jump out at you in looking at these numbers are the completion percentages combined with the yards per attempt. It's not just the two Eagles quarterbacks completing a high number of their passes, they're doing it while picking up big chunks of yardage.
Obviously the sample sizes are different, but just for comparisons sake. The highest YPA for any quarterback in the NFL last season with significant time as a starter was 8.14, and that was Robert Griffin III, and he completed "just" 65.6 percent of his passes.
Those are fantastic numbers from Griffin. But in the small time that Vick and Foles have played under Kelly, they're on a ridiculously impressive pace that would have surpassed Griffin's historic rookie year.
Foles has completed an astounding 84 percent of his passes with a 8.32 yards per attempt, while Vick has completed a still-impressive 73 percent of his passes with a 10.07 yards per attempt. Those are video game-like numbers.
Granted it's just the preseason and all that, but it's all we have to go off of with Kelly's offense at the NFL level.
One of the main reasons Kelly made the right decision can be explained by a simple chart. It's one that possesses some obvious information but when the information from it starts to sink in, you can see why Kelly made the decision he did.
Here are the career numbers between the two quarterbacks.
|COM-ATT||PER||YDS||YPA||TD||INT||RUSH ATT||RUSH YDS||RUSH AVG|
Vick has played in this league for 10 years, and there's no substitute for experience. He's obviously picked up Kelly's offense by the way he's played this preseason, and has even looked like vintage Michael Vick in the process.
In the Eagles last preseason game against the Jaguars, Vick finished the game with seven rushes for 53 yards, good for a 7.6 yards per carry average. That's the kind of guy Kelly wants to introduce his offense to the NFL with.
In this first play below you'll see Vick in shotgun, play-fake it to the running back and calmly stand in the pocket and find the open man.
This is the kind of play the Eagles are going to have a lot of success with this season. It also looks to be a staple of the Eagles offense. They're running predominantly shotgun and are really putting a lot of pressure on the opposing defense's linebackers to play disciplined football.
The problem when you get vintage Michael Vick is that you also get passes that look like the one below.
These are the kinds of plays that will get Vick sent to the bench.
Well, these plays combined with losses would do that. A lot of things can be overlooked as long as you're winning football games, anywhere but San Francisco apparently.
The other side of this coin is that Michael Vick has had his troubles staying healthy, we all know that. He's played an entire 16-game regular season just one time in his 10-year NFL career, and that was back in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons.
So it's not out of the question that Foles will start several games for the Eagles this season, despite Kelly naming Vick the starter to start off the year.
Based on the way Foles has played this preseason, that wouldn't be a bad thing for Eagles fans to get to see. How Foles could potentially develop in Chip Kelly's system. While Kelly may not have been part of the regime that drafted Foles, that doesn't mean he couldn't still flourish in his system.
He's already shown, albeit in a very small sample size this preseason, to be able to run the offense and move the ball.
So while Vick is getting the mic now as the Eagles starter to begin the season, Foles should be prepared each and every week as if he's going to play a big part in the Eagles season starting that day.
Because history has told us, he probably will.