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SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

Quarterback situation is always fluid, even for a hot player

The Browns, Packers and Vikings all have major issues under center. Nick Foles has been great for the Eagles, but Coach Chip Kelly knows things can change quickly

December 02, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Philadelphia Coach Chip Kelly talks with his starting quarterback Nick Foles during the Eagles' 24-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Philadelphia Coach Chip Kelly talks with his starting quarterback Nick… (Yong Kim / McClatchy-Tribune )

The Cleveland Browns have yet to say who will start at quarterback for them Sunday. Same goes for the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.

As for the Philadelphia Eagles?

Coach Chip Kelly, tongue firmly planted in cheek, said Monday that Nick Foles will be "the starting quarterback for the next 1,000 years here."

What Kelly was really saying is Foles has played well enough to lock down the job for the moment, but the coach doesn't feel the need to designate anyone a bulletproof starter.

"I'm just telling you in the National Football League quarterback is a difficult position to play," Kelly said. "What do you think Green Bay [without injured star Aaron Rodgers] feels like right now?"

Foles is certainly deserving of the starting job, completing 68% of his passes (72 of 106) during the Eagles' four-game winning streak with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. His 144.2 passer rating during that span is the sixth-highest by any NFL quarterback during a four-game stretch since 1960.

Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East, and plays host to Detroit on Sunday in a game pivotal to the playoff picture. The Lions have a one-game lead over Chicago in the NFC North.

Detroit is the only team in its division that hasn't cycled through quarterbacks, but it is auditioning kickers because David Akers has been unreliable. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions worked out veteran kickers Olindo Mare and Justin Medlock on Monday.

Cleveland's quarterback situation has been shaky all season. Browns Coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday that all options are on the table in the wake of Brandon Weeden's concussion Sunday. He cannot play until he passes league-mandated concussion tests. Jason Campbell, who also suffered a recent concussion, has been cleared for activity but not to practice.

Chudzinski said there's a possibility Alex Tanney might start. Tanney, a free agent signed last week, was with Dallas in training camp and is best known for his trick-shot passing video that went viral two years ago.

Minnesota, which plays at Baltimore, might be without quarterback Christian Ponder, also recovering from a concussion. It was Matt Cassel who led the Vikings to a comeback overtime victory Sunday over the Bears.

"For us, it would be wise to talk things through," Minnesota Coach Leslie Frazier said of picking a starting quarterback. "There's no reason at this point on Monday that we have to make a decision. We can talk it through and do what's best."

The Packers are 0-4-1 in games Rodgers did not start and finish, and their All-Pro quarterback could be done for the season because of a cracked collarbone.

For his part, Rodgers has been coy about when he'll be able to return.

"I don't plan on playing 'til I'm 30," he told ESPN Milwaukee.

Monday was his 30th birthday.

Western showdown

The latest installment of the NFL's most-bitter new rivalry comes Sunday when Seattle plays at San Francisco.

Although the 49ers beat Seattle in four consecutive meetings between Dec. 2010-Oct. 2012, the Seahawks won the last two meetings, 42-13 and 29-3.

Asked Monday if his team is out for revenge, 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh said: "I've never taken the revenge approach to be honest with you. Validation. We want to play well. We want to win. All these games come down to that."

A super state of mind

The Carolina Panthers have won a franchise-record eight in a row … but they have yet to play New Orleans.

The Panthers will play the Saints twice in the next three weeks, beginning with Sunday's game at New Orleans.

"We know it will be a challenge," Carolina cornerback Drayton Florence told reporters after his team's 27-6 victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday. "But they're just in our way to get to that bowl."

Turbulent stretch

After alternating wins and losses through the first nine weeks of the season, the New York Jets have now lost three in a row. In those defeats, rookie quarterback Geno Smith had six interceptions and completed eight, nine and four passes.

Smith learned Monday that he, and not Matt Simms or David Garrard, will get the start Sunday against Oakland.

Smith told reporters he's still the best man for the job.

"It's hard for people to believe that with the tough stretch that we've had," he said. "But that's just the confidence that I have in myself. I know for a fact that my teammates and coaches have that same confidence in me, so that's why I believe that."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesfarmer

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