The NFL season isn’t over. There are still four games left, that Nick Foles could very well struggle or get injured. Chip Kelly even said so Monday.
“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.”
But, it’s impossible to not notice how well Foles has played and wonder if he may be the Eagles long-term quarterback. Especially given the fact that the quarterback who appeared to be the best potential fit for Chip Kelly’s offense, Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota, has elected to stay at Oregon for his Junior season, rather than enter the NFL draft.
Chip Kelly spoke yesterday on his former quarterback’s decision to stay for another season, calling the move, “A good decision”, and speaking highly of the Mariota’s character.
In all reality, this is the perfect storm for Chip Kelly. Unless Nick Foles completely falls off in these last four games, which would involve the Eagles losing at least three of four and Foles turning the ball over, or delivering a Dallas-esque performance, he has earned the chance to be the Eagles starting quarterback next season. I’m not saying that can’t happen, because it would be so Philly for Foles and the upstart Eagles to implode after getting our hopes up, it just doesn’t seem likely given the way that not only Foles, but the Eagles as a team, are playing right now.
Let’s assume Foles does enough through the remainder of this season to start in 2014, but he comes back next season, and delivers a stat-line of 17 touchdowns-14 interceptions, and the Eagles go 6-10. At that point, Chip Kelly would have no choice but to aggressively seek a quarterback in the draft, that after already spending two seasons in the NFL, will finally give him his franchise quarterback. That doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting for a top ten quarterback, because after two seasons in the NFL, the third year needs to be the year that Chip Kelly proves that he has the Eagles heading in a direction that makes them a perennial contender. That means that Kelly would be in general manager Howie Roseman’s ear, pushing him to give up as many draft picks as it would take to get Marcus Mariota. It wouldn’t really matter to Kelly if that meant risking the future, because he would need to worry about year three, to assure that he is even involved in the future.
So Marcus Mariota returning to Oregon, actually raises his chance of being re-united with his former college coach in the NFL. How likely is the reunion? Still very unlikely, because a lot can happen in a year. Nick Foles could continue to play at a high level and prove that he is the franchise quarterback, which would end the idea of Mariota coming to Philly, once and for all. Mariota could get injured, which certainly isn’t a far-fetched concept give his history. Hell, Foles could get injured and Matt Barkley could prove the general public who believes that the Eagles wasted a draft-pick on him wrong, and become the Eagles franchise quarterback. You get the point, anything can happen.
A lot certainly can happen over the next calendar year, but the dream of some Eagles fans that involves Marcus Mariota and Chip Kelly leading the Eagles to a parade float isn’t completely dead yet.