The Philadelphia Eagles will, without a doubt, trade Nick Foles this offseason….I think. If you want to see the latest report about the Eagles and Chiefs actually talking, scroll to the end of this article.
Maybe I’ve been tainted by the Andy Reid era, but I just don’t buy the whole “Chip Kelly loves Foles” and that there will be a true open quarterback competition or the starting job.
First, I’m sure Kelly does like Foles to a certain extent and respects what he has shown as a quarterback. He played against him in college and now he has him on his own roster so of course he’s going to talk him up.
What’s he going to say? Foles stinks and doesn’t fit in his scheme? Why would he say anything different than what he has been saying? It would be counterproductive on numerous levels.
What I’m here to say is, don’t get caught up in what Kelly, Roseman, or anyone else in the Eagles’ organization has to say about Foles’ future with the team right now.
If the right deal comes along after March 12th, you can bet your ass Foles will be gone faster than a hoagie at a Weight Watchers meeting.
However, therein is the key…if the right deal is offered. They’re not just going to give Foles away. That might be a huge “if”, but it’s certainly possible.
We can sit here and believe that Kelly will tailor his offense to whomever he has under center, and that is a good thing. However, we can also look at what he’s done at Oregon and what has happened so far in Philly to tell us that he prefers a different kind of QB than Foles.
In his four years as the head coach at Oregon, Kelly had three different quarterbacks lead his offense: Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota. All three guys were mobile quarterbacks.
His least athletic QB was Thomas, but he was still a threat to run with the football while doing the zone read option.
Masoli averaged just over 10 attempts rushing per game during his two-years as the starter. Thomas averaged just over four carries per game and then Mariota averaged just over eight attempts.
Let’s be clear on Chip Kelly’s offense though: He does not want his quarterback to run with the ball. He wants the running backs to carry the ball as much as possible. However, in order to run the offense he runs, he needs a QB who is a threat to take off with it on any given read option play.
Let’s hear Chip Kelly in his own words talk about what he calls his “signature play” in the inside zone read (IZR) portion of his offense (if you haven’t seen this full article yet, check it out at fishduck.com where Kelly gave a clinic on his offense)
“In the basic concept of the play, the center must ID what we call the point. Our offensive line is going to block five playside defenders. If the defense aligns in a five-man box, it is an easy scheme. If the defense is in a six-man box, the quarterback is responsible for the sixth man in the box. He reads the defender and controls him. The quarterback is not blocking the
defender. He cannot physically block him because that is a mismatch. What he does is run the ball if the defender attacks the running back. He makes the defender respect him as a runner and keeps him out of the play.”
This is basically what he’s calling his “bread and butter” part of his offensive scheme. Do you honestly think he can run that with Foles?
Furthermore, he talks about the fundamentals of a zone read play from a shotgun formation. Of huge importance is “the fake” by the player who doesn’t have the ball. When the QB and RB perform the handoff and decide who is going to take it, whomever doesn’t end up with the ball still has to run as if he did.
Therefore, again, in order for this to work, the defense has to respect the threat of the QB running with the ball.
The idea of running a zone read offense is to spread the defense out and make them cover the entire field. If they have to respect the QB running, they cannot cover all of the running lanes and there will almost always be an open hole to run through.
If a defense does not have to respect the QB running, they can just tee-off on the running back, clog the gaps, then rush the passer in the pocket.
Why would Kelly not want to have his full offensive package available to him? He would be limiting his offense by going with Foles as his starter. Sure he can “tailor” his offense, but with Foles it would be more than tailoring, it would be a completely different offense.
Then we have to look at what restructuring Michael Vick means. At the end of the season, Vick was adamant that he wanted to be a starter in 2013…whether it was in Philly or somewhere else.
Not even two months later, he agrees to a pay cut to stay in Philly and sounds extremely excited about Kelly’s offense.
This means that either Vick got nervous about his chances of actually being a starter somewhere else or he was told in so many words that he’d likely be the starter come opening day.
Or, he was told it would be an open competition and he is that confident that he will beat out the guys currently on the roster (or anyone they could possibly add because the QB market this offseason is bare).
My point is, Vick is most likely under the impression he will be the starter come opening day. So the question is, why? If he felt there was any real chance of him not remaining the starter or being cut in camp, he wouldn’t have agreed to the restructure.
Furthermore, with the signing of Dennis Dixon, it give the Eagles more flexibility to trade Foles. It’s debatable, but as a backup, I feel that Dixon would be just as serviceable as Foles would be.
Plus, it is extremely likely that Kelly will be looking for his prototypical quarterback in next year’s draft. There will be several prospects who would be a great fit to run his system to its fullest intent.
And if that’s the case, what is the purpose of holding on to Foles?
Kelly was asked again recently about Foles and whether or not they’ve been contacted about any trade offers. Here’s what he said (courtesy of Birds 24/7):
“I want to coach Nick, and I want to get a chance to spend time with him and see him. I’ve said it before. I was a big fan of his. The way he plays the game, his toughness, his ability to throw the ball very accurately. So I want to get a chance to hopefully get him out on the practice field and see what Nick has.”
Asked later about a report that indicated the Eagles would have to be blown away by an offer to trade Foles, Kelly said, “You’re always going to listen, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
Let’s break that statement up a little bit. First, he says he wants to coach Foles, not that he will. Then he builds him up like a sales pitch (tough, accurate) before closing by saying he wants to “get a chance” to “hopefully” get him on the practice field.
Then the obvious leaving-the-door-open-a-crack line: “You’re always going to listen”.
Lastly, a report just surfaced today that the Eagles and Chiefs have, in fact, discussed a trade for Foles. Here is what Mike Garafolo of USA Today says in his report (which is different than his other report last week about the same thing):
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles spoke this week about a possible trade involving Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, but no progress has been made toward a deal, according to a person informed of the talks between the teams.
The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the conversations weren’t to be discussed publicly, said the Eagles conveyed to the Chiefs what they’ve been saying through the media – they like Foles and plan on giving him a chance to compete with Michael Vick for the starting job.
The last part if called posturing by the Eagles. They want the Chiefs to feel as though they have to up their offer. It’s all part of the negotiating dance teams play in order to get the best leverage possible for their side.
At the end of the day, Nick Foles will be gone. If the Eagles can get a 2013 third-rounder and perhaps a conditional 2014 pick, that should get the deal done.