As an athlete myself, I like the idea of a coach who has some sort of loyalty to players who have produced for them, even if they have a down season. As a reporter for and fan of the Eagles, I want whatever puts us on a parade float the quickest. I don’t care how it gets done, all that I care is that it gets done.
Chip Kelly feels that way about the execution of his offense, which keeps players clearly focused on the present, and trying to be an integral part of one of the best offenses in the league. If they don’t stay focused and have a rough season, you can really throw out whatever you’ve done in the past, because Chip really doesn’t care. Chip Kelly isn’t trying to keep players around because of past accomplishments or balance what is popular with trying to win at the same time. If he wanted that he would have become the Phillies’ manager.
Not allowing players to really get comfortable or feel like they have leeway keeps the intensity in practices at a league-high, which makes everyone better and translates to gameday.
“If I don’t play well, it’s the NFL; you’ll be gone,” he said. “The most important thing is this team being successful, and it’s a team sport, but the quarterback really has to be sharp and execute. I know that. That’s why last year’s stats don’t mean anything because there’s a lot of guys that have a good year and then it’s tough the next year and I know that.”
Chip isn’t stupid, and I think he knows that he can say stuff like this publicly about Foles because he has a quarterback that appears to be able to embrace constant competition, and shares his drive to be great. I also think that he knows that despite all the success Foles has had in his offense already, his lack of mobility changes how he can call a game. Without that ability to run, Foles will face an uphill battle to convince Chip (and the fanbase) that he is the best option to run his offense.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Foles is going to turn out to be the Eagles’ franchise quarterback (barring the idea that Chip decides that while Foles is producing extremely well he needs a player like Marcus Mariota who opens up what he can do), but I think until he wins a few playoff games and the Eagles decide to lock him up long-term, he is on notice. Put it this way, Chip Kelly may ultimately stop delivering quotes like this that aren’t normally what coaches say about their returning Pro-Bowl quarterback, but it’s only going to be because he stops getting asked questions about Foles’ future by the media. I think Nick Foles could win an MVP, and if he came back the next year and struggled, Kelly wouldn’t hesitate to voice his displeasure with Foles’ season, if he was asked.