PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he’ll check with the NFL for clarification on the rules governing hits on quarterbacks after a change of possession. Kelly was surprised by word that the league determined Chris Baker's hit on Nick Foles Sunday was legal.
“Everything we’ve talked, we know, you can’t blindside a player, no matter if it’s a quarterback or not,” Kelly said. “From my understanding, a quarterback on a change of possession is basically a defenseless player. We’ll get it clarified so we don’t get put in that situation in the future.”
Foles was hit during what appeared to be an interception return. The play was later ruled an incomplete pass after replay review. Foles said he was trying to funnel the returner toward his teammates to prevent him from cutting back and getting a clear path to the end zone.
Baker hit Foles in the rib cage from the side. The quarterback said he never saw Baker coming.
“I’m still under the impression you can’t blindside a player, whether it’s a quarterback or not a quarterback,” Kelly said. “I’ll touch base with league officials before we play again. That’s news to me that that’s a legal hit. I know the referee threw the flag pretty quickly and threw him out of the game. I don’t know if they’re going to reprimand the official for making that call.”
Kelly generally has not complained about league rules or officials’ calls. His approach has been for his players to know the rules and play within them. So it was fairly unusual for Kelly to react this way to a league ruling. That suggests legitimate confusion about the league’s interpretation here and a desire to make sure the Eagles are coached appropriately.
“We’re hands off on the quarterback,” Kelly said. “That’s the way we’ve interpreted the rule.”