Nick Foles' numbers among the NFL elite

November, 18, 2013
11/18/13
3:45
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles said Sunday he wanted to play quarterback at the level established by the likes of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

No one gets into that club without a Super Bowl ring, but the numbers say Foles is playing at that level.

Passer rating? Foles is tops in the NFL at 128.0.

QBR, which measures overall quarterback performance? Foles’ 78.2 is second only to Manning’s 82.8.

[+] EnlargeNick Foles
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesNick Foles has thrown 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.
Yards per attempt? Touchdown/interception ratio? Foles is right there at the top.

The question becomes, then, what do the numbers mean to Chip Kelly?

The Eagles' coach is the one who will decide whether Foles or Michael Vick is his quarterback for the rest of the season (spoiler alert: barring injury or prolonged slump, it has to be Foles) and then whether Foles or someone else is his quarterback for 2014 and beyond.

“The big thing for me with our quarterbacks is wins, No. 1, and then interceptions, No. 2,” Kelly said Monday. “(Foles) has been really good at both things. A lot of that, attempts and all that, a lot of times it depends on who’s calling plays. He can’t throw where you’re not calling it.

“Anything that gets over 100, it skews me. I don’t know how you get like a 132. I know the higher the better, but the biggest thing for is us is, are we winning? We’ve won with Nick, and he’s not turning the ball over.”

Foles has thrown 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. He has led the Eagles on the three-game winning streak that has taken them from 3-5 and reeling to 6-5 and first place in the NFC East.

All that, and he is still not officially the Eagles’ No. 1 quarterback. Kelly has deferred making any pronouncements until Vick is healthy enough to play. Kelly said Vick “could have played” if necessary against Washington on Sunday. He was inactive, though, because there was no reason to force the issue with his twice-injured hamstring.

But that means the day of reckoning is coming. Barring a setback, Vick should be healthy when the Eagles return to practice next week, after their bye.

“(Foles) is going to start for the bye week,” Kelly said, teasing reporters who have been asking who's-the-starter questions since Vick got hurt.

More seriously, he said he would sit down with Foles and Vick and explain his plan “whenever we get two healthy guys that we need to talk to.”

The only reason to go back to Vick would be if Kelly believed the veteran was better at running his offense. And it’s pretty hard to make the case for that when Foles is running Kelly’s offense as well as any quarterback is running any coach’s offense. Foles is even running the ball off the read-option pretty well.

“When Nick takes off, it’s not 60 yards, it’s six,” Kelly said. “In critical situations, he can still do that. There’s flexibility in what we do. It’s all based on personnel. Anybody who’s smart is going to cater their offense to what (the quarterbacks) do.

“The best example in this league is (Denver’s) John Fox. When he had Tim Tebow, he ran one offense and they went to the playoffs. When he had Peyton Manning, the offense changed. He didn’t ask Peyton Manning to do what Tim Tebow was doing. He also didn’t ask Tim Tebow to do what Peyton Manning is doing.”

It’s safe to say Foles is closer to Manning’s style than Tebow’s. Foles might not be at Manning’s elite level yet, but he’s the closest thing Chip Kelly has.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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