Kelly: Foles the starter for 'next 1,000 years'

Kelly: Foles the starter for 'next 1,000 years'

December 2, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Nick Foles is 5-1 and leads the NFL with a 125.2 passer rating. (USA Today Images)

Chip Kelly on Monday named Nick Foles the Eagles’ quarterback through at least the 3013 season.

“He’s the starting quarterback for the next 1,000 years here,” Kelly said. “And if I’m wrong next week, then I’m wrong next week.”

Kelly may have been exaggerating just slightly, but his message was clear.

Kelly gave Foles his strongest vote of confidence yet as the Eagles’ long-term answer at quarterback on Monday, a day after Foles won his fourth consecutive start.

Speaking Monday morning on the 94 WIP Morning Show and then again Monday afternoon at his regular weekly day-after-the-game press conference, Kelly conceded in his strongest terms to date that the plan moving forward is for Foles to quarterback the Eagles beyond this year.

He quickly qualified his remarks both times with the obvious stipulation that injuries can change a team’s plans very quickly.

But the bottom line is that for the first time, the Eagles seem to be acknowledging that Foles has done enough to prove he’s capable of leading the Eagles into the future.

“As long as he can stay healthy,” Kelly said at his presser. “That’s why I’ve qualified it all the time.”

On his weekly WIP hit, Kelly answered the same question about whether Foles is the proverbial Quarterback of the Future this way:

“Yeah, you hope he is, but -- and I don’t mean to be coy, I always say this -- you can say that whomever it is is your player of the future and then next week they get hurt. ...

“I hope Nick 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.”

Foles became the first Eagles quarterback in nine years to record a passer rating of 100 or more in four consecutive starts when the Eagles beat the Cards, 24-21, at the Linc.

He’s 5-1 this year with 19 touchdowns and no interceptions and with one more touchdown pass he’ll tie Peyton Manning’s NFL record -- set earlier this year -- of 20 TD passes to open a season without an interception.

“You’re watching him develop in front of you, making better decisions, all across the board,” Kelly said on WIP. “I think he’s been outstanding.”

Foles, a third-round draft pick in 2012, is signed through the 2015 season, and the collective bargaining agreement prohibits teams from signing draft picks to contract extensions until after their third year in the league.

Foles leads the NFL with a 125.2 passer rating, and his 98.7 career passer rating is third-highest in NFL history among quarterbacks with 400 or more attempts, behind only Aaron Rodgers (105.2) and Russell Wilson (102.1).

The Eagles (7-5) are 5-1 under Foles, and his success has pretty much guaranteed that they wouldn’t be able to draft his replacement this spring even if they wanted to.

But even after acknowledging that he hopes Foles is the Eagles’ quarterback long-term, Kelly declined to expound on it.

“Right now, I’m on a one-week deal,” he said. “I don’t think we have to do anything. I don’t think Nick is going to come in tomorrow and say 'I don’t want to play anymore because I don’t think you want me here six weeks from now.' Right now isn’t long-term.

“It’s a semantics thing. Write whatever you want to write. I’m concerned with the Lions.”