Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had the breakout campaign of the season, and he certainly did an incredible job under first-year head coach Chip Kelly after setting the league on fire following Michael Vick’s hamstring injury. Foles was simply remarkable out there, and he put up an unprecedented 27:2 TD:INT ratio and didn’t throw an interception until his eighth start. What makes that even more impressive is the fact that the Eagles passing attack threw many more deep passes than anyone else, and that should be a trademark of Chip’s offensive scheme going forward. Foles averaged a sensational 9.1 yards per attempt, and part of that is due to both his own skill with the other part of it attributed to Kelly’s downfield passing scheme that is conducive to higher Y/A totals (vertical throws inherently generated more yards per attempt than safer, shorter throws that are geared towards moving the chains).
Foles is unquestionably the Eagles franchise quarterback going forward, and it will be interesting to see how he does in his first full season as a starter in 2014.
He went on ESPN’s Mike and Mike today, and the most interesting quote from his interview came when he spoke about what a quarterback is asked of in Chip Kelly’s scheme. Foles said, via ESPN NFL Nation’s Phil Sheridan, “Chip’s offense, I believe playing quarterback, the main thing is getting the playmakers the ball. … He wants a guy who can distribute the ball, be smart, be quick in thinking, be able to react and go fast. I was a basketball player. I think that helped.”
That’s some valuable insight right there, and it isn’t surprising that getting the ball to playmakers in space (like DeSean Jackson) and making quick decisions in the fast-paced offense are two huge keys. Those are exactly the things Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota were able to do at the collegiate level when they played under Chip for the Oregon Ducks, and those are traits that help make QBs more successful in the NFL. Interestingly enough, the Carolina Panthers used the “playmakers in space” concept more often this season with Cam Newton. But what makes Chip’s scheme more difficult- and also more effective and more impressive that Foles is running it this effectively- are the downfield passes and quick decision-making.