Eagles' Kelly lauds play of Foles

Posted: November 13, 2013

IT MAY NOT have been another record-tying performance on Sunday by Nick Foles, but once again the second-year quarterback stepped up for the Eagles.

With Michael Vick inactive because of a hamstring injury, Foles tossed three more touchdown passes in a 27-13 victory at Green Bay, making it 10 TDs in two consecutive road wins. Foles has thrown 16 touchdowns without a turnover this season.

Still declining to commit to Foles or Vick for Sunday's home game against Washington, coach Chip Kelly said Foles would practice with the first team today while Vick remains limited.

"I think what we've done for the last 2 weeks has worked for us pretty good so we're going to stick to that format," Kelly said when asked why he was reluctant to name Foles the starting quarterback moving forward. "I mean, it's gotten us 16 touchdowns, no interceptions and two wins, so why would we change?"

Kelly was happy with what he saw from Foles Sunday and has taken notice of his ability to make good decisions in key moments, saying Foles might not be fleet of foot but he is fleet of mind.

"Again, I think Nick is really, really smart with the football," Kelly said. "Very rarely do you see Nick throw a ball where all of the sudden it's tipped and almost intercepted. Going the other way, our defense, there's a couple of times we probably should have made some more plays defensively on the ball and didn't, but you don't see that out of Nick.

"He's a real good decision maker and I've said it since Day 1, he's a better athlete than people think. He picked up some real critical first downs for us again in that football game, because he can make good decisions, so I'm just really happy with how he has played in the last 2 weeks."

The win was costly as two key defensive players and another on the offensive line were injured.

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks suffered a knee injury on a running play on Green Bay's first series. Backup Najee Goode filled in admirably. On his 94 WIP radio show last night, general manager Howie Roseman said that Kendricks does not have an ACL tear and that the injury doesn't seem too serious.

Left tackle Jason Peters went down twice, first with a head injury then a quadriceps issue. Peters, who has been fighting through a shoulder injury and broken finger all season, was coming off a pectoral injury in the 49-20 victory the week before in Oakland. Veteran tackle Allen Barbre replaced Peters and played a strong game.

Roseman said Peters' quad injury doesn't appear to be a long-term issue.

"Mychal said he felt good and didn't think there was anything big-time wrong with him, but we'll see," Kelly said. "I think Jason said he's gonna play [Sunday], but every time Jason said anything, he's told me he was gonna play. But the one thing about Jason is that he has played. He hasn't missed any time since I've been here."

The final player to be sidelined was rookie safety Earl Wolff, who also went down with a knee injury. Roseman said Wolff will miss "multiple weeks."

Veteran Patrick Chung, who has had his own injury issues this season, replaced Wolff Sunday.

Goode was a fifth-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2012; he played in three games with the Bucs last season. He signed with the Eagles before the start of the season. Goode had not seen a lot of practice reps but took advantage of the playing time he received in Green Bay. He recorded a tackle and had one pass defended that could have been an interception.

"One of the things about Najee is that he is a really smart kid," Kelly said. "He's got a really good grasp, and when he got here one of the things that struck us is that this guy is a really intelligent football player.

"He is an extremely hard worker, he prepares like a professional [and] when the opportunity came he took advantage of it. You can't rely on, well, he didn't get a lot of reps. That's what the deal is in this league is that you're not gonna get a ton of reps if you're a backup, but when you go in, you're responsible for that. Some guys gravitate toward that better and I think he's one of those guys. It's a credit for how hard he's worked."

Because Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not able to play, the Eagles knew the Packers would rely heavily on running the ball with rookie back Eddie Lacy. And then backup Seneca Wallace left with a groin injury after one series and was replaced by former practice squadder Scott Tolzien.

Kelly said he was happy with what he saw from the players up front and singled out defensive end Vinny Curry as a player who has come along in recent weeks and earned increased playing time. Lacy was held to 73 yards on 24 carries.

"I think all of those guys up front, Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, probably played his best game, Ced [Thornton] played up to his standard, which has been pretty high, Vinny [Curry] played pretty well and again, we knew going into the game with a backup quarterback and then going to a third quarterback, shutting down their run game was going to be very important for us, and it started up front," Kelly said. "I thought all of those guys did a really good job, but Vinny has really come along. Credit to him and with that, he is getting more playing time."

Following another multitouchdown performance for wide receiver Riley Cooper, Kelly noted the chemistry between Foles and Cooper, and credited the wide receiver for using his baseball skills to track down the deep ball. Cooper's first touchdown of Sunday's game was a 45-yard pass in which Cooper tracked the ball down before diving to make the catch and rolling into the end zone.

"I think it's one of his qualities that he can track a ball when it's in the air and can adjust his body and knows where to go and can adjust his angels when he's chasing it down," Kelly said of Cooper. "I think Nick understands that, and I thought it was a hell of a play by both of those guys."

Regarding the quarterback situation in general, Kelly said he will wait until late each week to name his starter.

"It's just my approach in terms of how we're doing things and who's up and who's available," Kelly said. "I've had guys go down on Friday, so why does it matter who I say is the starter for Sunday's game?"

Kelly said it would be fruitless to talk about the starter for the rest of the season until Vick is healthy and both he and Foles are available.

"When that day comes, we will have a discussion, but that day is not here," he said.

Daily News sports writer Les Bowen contributed to this report.


On Twitter: @JohnMurrow12

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