Backup quarterback role gives former Wildcat Foles chance to grow
Last week, former Oregon head coach and current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly named Michael Vick the starting quarterback. Coming in second place was former Wildcats football quarterback Nick Foles.
Foles made his mark on the Arizona football team when he played as starting quarterback from 2009 to 2011. Not only was he on the list of Wildcats in the pros, he was also the first former UA quarterback to throw a pass in the NFL in 39 years.
As a Wildcat, Foles led the powerful spread offense and threw for at least 350 yards in nine of his 12 games as a senior.
The Arizona alumnus got to play last season as starting quarterback for Philadelphia after Vick suffered a concussion. He started six games and gathered six touchdowns, completing 60.8 percent of his passes.
Despite Foles’ impressive performance, it comes as no surprise that Kelly chose Vick as starting quarterback for the Sep. 9 season opener against the Redskins. In preseason play, he has completed 28-of-38 passes for 383 yards, with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
An Eagle since 2009, Vick has proven himself a threat in the running game and is more than a decent fit for Kelly’s fast-paced offense.
However, if anything should happen to Vick, Foles would step in, and right behind him is former USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Kelly has repeatedly mentioned that his team does not need a dual-threat quarterback. Vick’s athleticism will allow the Eagles to operate a strong spread offense, while Foles would allow read-option plays where the quarterback looks out for the defensive end.
If the defensive end is tackled, the quarterback slips through the open space, and if not, hands off the ball. The unpredictability of this style makes it difficult for the other team’s defense to prepare.
The spread offense is the more powerful strategy for the Eagles to employ, but having Foles as a backup is handy.
After coaching the high-profile Oregon offense for four seasons and winning three Pac-10/Pac-12 championships, it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about.
The current UA football team is facing a similar quarterback competition decision with a similar offense. Head coach Rich Rodriguez is most likely deciding between the running signal caller in senior B.J. Denker and the pro-style quarterback in junior Jesse Scroggins.
Losing this quarterback competition is certainly not the end of the world for Foles. Still pretty fresh out of college, he could use more experience on the field. He has plenty of time and room to grow, and with Vick at risk for another injury, there is a chance Foles may be blessed with more opportunities to shine.
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