Kelly on Foles: 'Exciting to see him grow here'

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Kelly on Foles: 'Exciting to see him grow here'

November 18, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Chip Kelly: "The biggest thing for us is are we winning? And we’ve won with Nick." (AP)

Chip Kelly says the two things he values most in a quarterback are wins and ball protection.

Hmmm. That seems to ring a bell.

Wins? Nick Foles is 4-1 as a starter this year.

Check.

Ball protection? Foles has thrown 199 passes this year and zero interceptions.

Check.

So while Kelly continues to pretend he hasn’t made up his mind whether Foles will continue as the starter once Mike Vick is healthy, he singled out two things Foles has done consistently well -- that Vick did not do consistently well -- when talking about quarterback play Monday.

“Big thing for me with our quarterbacks is wins No. 1 and interceptions No. 2,” Kelly said Monday, a day after the Eagles improved to 6-5 with a 24-16 win over the Redskins at the Linc (see story). “[Foles] has been really good at both of those. ...

“When you have a guy that's consistently not putting the ball up for the other team and serving it up -- we’re plus-10 in the six games we’ve won, and I think we're minus-six ... in the games we've lost. That is a direct correlation. There’s a direct correlation between the turnover game [and winning].

“But the biggest thing for us is are we winning? And we’ve won with Nick.”

The Eagles are 2-4 this year in games Vick starts, although that includes the first Giants game, when Foles engineered a late comeback with two second-half touchdown passes. Vick has thrown three interceptions in his six starts.

Since replacing an injured Vick on Oct. 6, Foles has completed 64 percent of his passes with 16 touchdown passes, two touchdown runs and no interceptions.

He leads the NFL in passer rating (128.0) and yards per attempt (9.6), and despite throwing just five passes in the Eagles’ first four games, he’s second in the NFL with 11 completions of 40 yards or more.

During the Eagles’ current three-game winning streak, Foles has completed 65 percent of his passes with no interceptions in each game.

The only other Eagles quarterbacks in the last 50 years with three consecutive games completing 65 percent of their passes without an INT were Pete Liske in December 1971, Randall Cunningham the first three weeks of 1992 and Donovan McNabb the first three games of 2004.

With five games left, Foles’ passer rating of 128.0 is higher than the NFL record for a full season -- 122.5 by Aaron Rodgers in 2011.

Kelly said Vick could have played if he had to on Sunday against the Redskins and said he hopes Vick is “up and ready to go” when the Eagles return from their bye for a Dec. 1 game against the Cards at the Linc.

That doesn’t mean he will play. It just means he probably can play.

Because right now, there’s no way Foles is coming out of the lineup.

“All the credit goes to him,” Kelly said. “He spends a lot of time. He works extremely hard at it. He's got a really good grasp on what we're doing, extremely accurate in his throws.

“[He’s] doing a great job of just making decisions and not putting the ball in harm's way ... I think he's a really good decision maker. It's exciting to see him grow here.”