Earlier this week, Mark Eckel of NJ.com reported that some members of the Eagles organization, including general manager Howie Roseman, had “soured” on Nick Foles even before the team’s starting quarterback went down with a broken collarbone. Asked today about the story, and whether he’d considered demoting Foles in favor of Mark Sanchez, head coach Chip Kelly issued a strong denial, as Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com details.
“No, not at all,” Kelly said. “I don’t know where that stuff comes from. I know this: I know I control the roster. I think you guys can see first hand, I don’t talk to anybody. So whoever says they have a source in terms of what’s going to go on with roster maneuvers, people going up and people going down, then they never talk to the right person because that comes from me. That was never the case. I have great faith in Nick and I think he’s a hell of a quarterback.”
Kelly’s response is interesting on a number of levels. For one, it doesn’t really address the crux of Eckel’s report — the NJ.com scribe never wrote that the Eagles were considering making Sanchez the starter, or that Kelly himself was having doubts about Foles. The report instead indicated that Roseman and others were souring on Foles and were potentially considering other long-term alternatives at the position.
Of course, while Kelly may not have denied the specific details of Eckel’s report, his response seems to suggest that opinions held by Roseman and other members of the front office only matter to a certain extent. By stressing that he has the final say on the Eagles’ roster and personnel decisions, Kelly makes it clear that as long as he believes in Foles, the team believes in Foles. Based on the head coach’s comments, it’s fair to wonder if there’s some dissension within the organization about whether or not Foles is the club’s long-term answer at quarterback.
It should just be a matter of time until we find out which way the Eagles are leaning on Foles in the long term. Even if the team doesn’t reach any conclusions based on Sanchez’s run as the starter in the second half this season, Foles will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2015, and won’t have a fifth-year option for 2016. As such, if the two sides don’t agree to an extension within the next year or so, that would strongly indicate that Philadelphia may move in another direction.