Mike Tanier's post at the Sports on Earth blog comes at the perfect time for me to unveil #7 on the Chip Wagon Top 25. Here is a comment Tanier made when discussing how the Eagles rank amongst other NFL teams in running the football:
The Eagles would rank higher if Nick Foles could run. Foles does not have to be able to run like Wilson or Cam Newton. He just has to be able to run about as well as Andy Dalton. Unfortunately, Foles runs like Joe Flacco trying to carry Philip Rivers up a flight of steep stairs. This would not be a problem in other systems, but Chip Kelly needs those 32 designed carries from his quarterbacks, plus a few more. Foles averaged 3.95 yards per carry on 21 designed keepers, which is not terrible, but it sometimes looked like 39.5 yards were available before the lumbering commenced.
Funny stuff. I do realize that Mike is exaggerating to make a point, but I must admit it still bothers me that we still need to obsess over how much the potential of Chip's offense is limited without a running QB. We heard that all last offseason as the reason why Foles wasn't a fit in Chip's offense, and after a Pro Bowl year, we are still hearing it in some circles. (Note, I am not calling out Mike here. I think Mike understands the dynamics of Chip's offense as well as anyone, based on his excellent piece in the 2013 Eagles Almanac).
I've discussed this many times before on the blog but for me, one of the main qualities Nick Foles has is "functional mobility". He's not a statue like Drew Bledsoe. Dan Marino was very slow, but he had "functional mobility" because he could work the pocket as well as anyone. Guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning are the same. I am certainly not arguing that Foles has the pocket presence that those HOFers do. It's actually one of the things he really needs to work on. However, with Foles the question should be whether he possesses the minimual athletic requirement to keep Chip's offense dynamic. My answer would be yes, provided he continues to do all the other things as well as he did in 2013.
A couple of examples. If Nick Foles really was the statue that many in the media describe him, why would Chip even consider calling the inside zone read-option in key areas when the is even a remote chance that Nick has to pull and run?