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Kelly Credits Foles For Ball Security

Posted Nov 11, 2013

There was a lot of discuss and praise, especially on offens, following the Eagles' 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers. An underrated component of the win, though, was seamless transition into the lineup of several backups on offense and defense, namely cornerback Roc Carmichael, linebacker Najee Goode and offensive lineman Allen Barbre.

"It's a credit to those guys," head coach Chip Kelly said. "Really, Najee and Roc weren't here in the offseason, they weren't here in (Training) Camp. We acquired them in September, so to kind of see those guys get put in a situation that they did and respond, I thought Roc did an outstanding job out there, Najee played really, really well and should've had a pick-six. I think it speaks to our depth a little bit, we were tested. I think Allen (Barbre) played really, really well when he was in there. To have all those guys be able to contribute and step up is kind of what this league's all about because everybody's facing injuries at this point in time. You're ten weeks in and, really, your depth is going to be tested, but when we had an opportunity to get those guys in the game, I thought they responded really well. Hopefully we'll be getting the other guys back and it will add to the overall team itself."

Carmichael started for Bradley Fletcher, who was inactive because of a pectoral injury, but Goode and Barbre were thrust into action unexpectedly due to in-game injuries to Mychal Kendricks and Jason Peters. In addition to Kendricks and Peters, who left with knee and quadriceps injuries, respectively, safety Earl Wolff missed the rest of the game after suffering a knee injury. The status of all three remains unknown, though Kelly said he talked to them after the game and did not feel the injuries were too serious. He did caution, however, that the full scope of their condition would not be known until all the tests had been done and he therefore would not make any definite statements.

"They feel like they're pretty good and they're ready to go," Kelly said. "It's the same thing (as before). We've dealt with it, that's why I'm not going to make statements because we thought (Patrick Chung's shoulder injury) was only be a week or two deal and then that lingered.  I thought (Michael Vick) was going to be a short deal and that's gone on. I'm not an expert, so I just defer to the doctors and training staff to tell us how long they're in, how long they're out. Sometimes (the injuries) look a little bit worse than they are. Mychal said he felt good and didn't think there was anything big-time wrong with him, but we'll see. Jason said he's going to play, but every time Jason's had anything, he's told me he's going to play – but the one thing about Jason is he has played, he hasn't missed any time since I've been here. I really don't have that (information), we'll (the coaches, doctors and trainers) meet Monday afternoon."

Coming off his record-tying performance against the Oakland Raiders, Nick Foles played a solid, steady game and hit on three deep passes for touchdowns. He also converted a number of key third downs, including a few with his legs when the situation called for it. Foles was poised, efficient and made smart decisions with the football, much to the delight of his head coach.

"I think Nick's really, really smart with the football," Kelly said. "Very rarely do you see Nick throw a ball where all of a sudden it's tipped or almost intercepted … He has a really good understanding of what we're doing, he doesn't really ever put the ball in harm's way. Most of the time, to his credit, he's going to the right spot where the (ball) should be. He does a good job protecting the football, especially when the pocket breaks down. A lot of times, that's where a play occurs where all of a sudden you're turning a bad play into a worse play. Sometimes the right thing to do is just pull (the ball) down and let's get the next snap off, and I think that's what he's done. He's a real, real good decision maker. Against, I've said it since day one, he's a better athlete than people think. He picked up a couple critical first downs for us in that football game because he can make good decisions. We're just really happy with how he's played the last two weeks.

"I think the thing with Nick is, he might not be fleet of foot, but he's fleet of mind. He's a really, really, really good decision maker. Part of being a guy that can distribute the football throwing the ball is the same exact situations in the run game – you have to be a good decision maker to know when to give it and know when to pull it. Not every play we call is a zone read play, but when they're called, he can be a factor and take advantage of what the defense is (doing). If they're going to all commit and try to take away the running back and no one's responsible for the quarterback, Nick has to make them pay and he's done that."

For the second straight week, the Foles-to-Riley Cooper connection devastated the opposing defense. Cooper recorded three catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns, both in the third quarter, and has emerged as a major weapon in the offense. While he was much maligned earlier in the season due to a lack of production, it was not because he consistently failed to get open. Rather, Cooper just was not getting the ball thrown his way.

"I don't think he struggled in his first five games getting open," Kelly said of Cooper. "He didn't have the ball thrown to him, but I don't think he was struggling getting open. When you watched the tape, he was open. I think we've got more time to throw, we're doing a better job with protection. I think the guy calling plays is calling better plays."

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