Chip Kelly once was in awe of Nick Foles

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Chip Kelly once was in awe of Nick Foles

What does new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly think of the young quarterback he inherited?

He wont meet the Philly media until Thursday afternoon, but we already have a pretty good idea how much he likes Nick Foles.

On Sept. 24, 2011, it was Kellys job to stop Foles when his Oregon Ducks met the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, and all Foles did was complete 34 of 57 passes for 398 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against the No. 10 team in the country.

Oregon won 56-31, but Foles led Arizona to three straight touchdowns after Oregon took a 35-3 lead, making it a 35-24 game. He was sacked six times, absorbed numerous punishing hits according to game accounts, and at one point, under extreme pressure and flushed out of the pocket, he threw left-handed to running back Keola Antolin for 11 yards and a first down.

Foles, who started the last six games of 2012 for the Eagles, is big and accurate but slow and lumbering and certainly doesnt fit the model of a sleek, fast, mobile Kelly-style quarterback.

But Kelly sure raved about Foles after that game in 2011.

Ill tell you what -- Im glad Nick Foles is graduating, Kelly told reporters covering the game, according to the Tucson Citizen newspaper. I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. ...

Nick is a hell of a football player. That kids a warrior. Hes as good as anyone in the country.

Against Nick Foles, we knew this game wasnt in hand.

What does that mean for the Eagles moving forward?

Who knows. The Eagles still have Michael Vick under contract, and obviously a healthy, young, speedy Michael Vick would have been a perfect match for Kellys warp-drive offense.

But Vick will be 33 before next year begins, hes missed 11 games because of injuries the last two years, and its clear hes lost a step or two as a runner since he arrived in Philly in 2009.

Vick did actually put up fairly good numbers last season after throwing six interceptions the first two weeks of the season against the Browns and Ravens.

The rest of the season, before his concussion against the Cowboys on Nov. 11, he completed 59 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions and an 83.2 passer rating, and averaged 5.9 yards per run.

The Eagles can release the 2010 Pro Bowler for three days immediately after the Super Bowl without owing him a dime and costing only a 3 million cap hit.

Because this years draft is weak at quarterback and there arent any top free agents likely to hit the market, Kelly might not have a lot of options at quarterback in his first year as an NFL head coach beyond a QB who would have been perfect for him 10 years ago and another who lit up his college team two years ago.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Report: Isaiah Canaan becomes free agent as Sixers don't extend qualifying offer

Report: Isaiah Canaan becomes free agent as Sixers don't extend qualifying offer

It appears the Sixers are letting guard Isaiah Canaan walk.

Canaan, who was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason, is now unrestricted as the Sixers did not extend him a qualifying offer, according to a report Wednesday night by Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The qualifying offer would have been worth $1,215,696. Canaan made $947,276 last season.

Canaan, 25, has played parts of two seasons with the Sixers after coming over from the Rockets in 2014-15 as part of the K.J. McDaniels trade.

The 6-foot, 201-pound guard averaged 11 points per game in 77 contests (39 starts) last season, while shooting 36.3 percent from three-point range.

Canaan has not fit with the Sixers as a shoot-first point guard, averaging just 1.8 assists per game in 2015-16, a season in which he essentially turned into an undersized, volume-shooting two-guard.

The backcourt — specifically point guard — remains the biggest priority for the Sixers this offseason.

On Wednesday, the Sixers decided to retain Hollis Thompson for next season by exercising his team option.

Best of MLB: Daniel Murphy homers twice to help Nationals sweep Mets

Best of MLB: Daniel Murphy homers twice to help Nationals sweep Mets

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy homered twice, tormenting his former team yet again, and the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the New York Mets with 4-2 victory Wednesday night.

Max Scherzer (9-5) cruised against New York's sputtering offense, allowing two hits with 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. He retired 18 in a row before Brandon Nimmo's single in the eighth and finished with at least 10 strikeouts for the fourth straight game.

Murphy homered off Logan Verrett (3-5) in the second for a 1-0 lead and golfed a two-run drive in the eighth. He matched his career high with 14 homers and helped Washington win its fourth in a row.

The Mets went 23 innings without scoring before James Loney's two-run homer in the ninth off Shawn Kelley (see full recap).

Yankees score 6 runs in 9th inning to stun Rangers
NEW YORK -- Brian McCann hit a tying, three-run homer off Sam Dyson, Didi Gregorius capped a six-run ninth inning with his two-run shot and the New York Yankees woke up late to beat the Texas Rangers 9-7 Wednesday night.

Down 7-2 and in danger of falling 10 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, the Yankees began their comeback when McCann homered off Cesar Ramos in the eighth.

Rob Refsnyder singled off Matt Bush leading off the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Dyson (1-2) relieved.

Brett Gardner singled and Refsnyder came home when center fielder Ian Desmond bobbled the ball for an error. After Alex Rodriguez lined out, McCann homered into the right-field bleachers, Starlin Castro walked and Gregorius lined the ball into the right-field seats for his first career game-ending homer.

Luis Cessa (1-0) allowed one run in three innings for his first big league win (see full recap).

Indians blank Braves to extend winning streak to 12
ATLANTA -- Danny Salazar threw seven innings, Lonnie Chisenhall hit his second homer of the series and the Cleveland Indians stretched their winning streak to 12 games by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Cleveland swept its fourth straight series to extend the majors' longest winning streak this season. The Indians began the day leading second-place Kansas City by six games in the AL Central.

The Indians need one more win to match the longest winning streaks in franchise history. They won 13 straight in 1942 and 1951. They had another 12-game streak in 1922.

Jason Kipnis broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the fifth.

Salazar (10-3) was dominant, allowing five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. He lowered the AL's second-best ERA to 2.22 while winning his sixth straight start (see full recap).

Phillies finish off road trip with win in 10 innings to sweep Diamondbacks

Phillies finish off road trip with win in 10 innings to sweep Diamondbacks

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX – One element of a successful team is finding different ways to win.

That appears to be an important dimension the Phillies captured this week in the desert. After taking the opening two games of a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies found another way to claim victory.

The come-from-behind method appears to be working just fine these days, and that element of their game surfaced again Wednesday afternoon. Down 4-2 early, the Phillies rallied for single runs in the fifth and seventh. Then they put up a crooked number in the eighth inning (four runs) before tacking on one more at the finish. The end result was a satisfying 9-8 win in 10 innings over the Diamondbacks before 18,603 in Chase Field (see Instant Replay).

The win completed a three-game sweep in the desert, and that came after the Arizona swept the Phillies June 17-20 at Citizens Bank Park. The three consecutive victories are the Phils' most since they won three straight from May 12-14 as they finished their nine-game road trip with a 5-4 mark.

While the sweep itself was not terribly significant, offered manager Pete Mackanin, the way the Phillies completed the road trip is important. Through the three-city trip of Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco and Phoenix, the bats game alive and Vince Velesquez, came of the disabled list with a stellar effort Monday.

Now, the goal is the keep the momentum gained from the sweep and build on recent achievements.

“The key over the past week is guys having good at-bats,” said Peter Bourjos, who is hitting .471 in his last 17 games. “At this point, we’re not changing anything, and if we continue to do what we accomplished over the past week, we’ll be fine.”

If Velasquez’s effort electrified the pitching staff, then Bourjos' tear has rejuvenated the offense. That .471 average (24 for 51) over the last 17 games leads the majors. Bourjos also has a nine-game hitting streak over that span after going 2 for 5 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored on Wednesday.

If the Phillies proved anything during the sweep of the Diamondbacks, it's that this is a resilient group. Hitting, like good pitching, is contagious and after banging out a season-high 16 hits Tuesday night, the Phillies increased that production by one on Wednesday.

Though not around for nearly half this game, starter Zach Eflin gave the Phillies a strong effort. After giving up a three-run, first-inning homer to Jake Lamb and another run in the second, Eflin settled down and pitched effectively. From the time Arizona scored on a Jean Segura sacrifice fly in the second, Eflin retired 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced.

“I started to pitch inside and wanted to keep them guessing,” Eflin said. “It was important for me to keep them off-balance and not get set. It’s about being aggressive and keeping them off-balance.”

Similar to Jerad Eickhoff, Eflin has been a victim of little run support. When he left after six innings, the Phillies were behind 4-2. Through his initial three starts in the majors, Eflin received only two total runs of support in 14 1/3 innings. That equates to 1.26 runs per nine innings.

However, the Phillies eventually found their offense in the win. With single runs in the fifth and seventh, and that four-spot in the eight, they managed to forge an 8-7 lead. 

The Phillies appeared to have this one locked down before Andres Blanco thought about going home on a roller to third base with two outs in the eighth inning before ultimately making an errant throw to first for the team's second error of the day.

The Phillies were able to go back on top in the 10th when Bourjos singled with one out and moved to second on single from Cody Asche. Hitting for winning pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, Tyler Goeddel lifted a fly to right and that brought in Bourjos with the game-winning run. 

Lefty Brett Oberholtzer retired the Diamondbacks in the 10th and recorded his first major-league save.