Chip Kelly on Andrew Luck: 'He's in that Manning, Brady category'

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There’s plenty to like about Andrew Luck. Chip Kelly outlined just a few of the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s most admirable traits.

“He’s 6-4, 235 pounds. He’s the smartest guy you’re going to go against,” Kelly said Thursday as the Eagles prepared to battle the Colts on Monday night in a nationally televised game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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“He can make every throw in the book and he also runs a 4.65 (in the 40-yard dash). I think what separates Andrew from a lot of other great quarterbacks is that he has that ability to extend plays, not only staying in the pocket but he can hurt you running the football.

“You can look it up. He had a lot of 50-plus runs in college, and that’s rare for a quarterback that size. Usually, you get a smaller quarterbacks that can beat you with his feet and is really nimble. He can do all of these other things. But when you look at him the first thing that kind of strikes you is how big he is in person, and then he’s one of the most intelligent guys that we’ve faced and certainly that we’ll face in this league.”

The Eagles have never faced Luck, who was picked No. 1 overall in 2012 out of Stanford, 87 spots ahead of their own starting quarterback, Nick Foles. Since entering the NFL, Luck has led the Colts to consecutive 11-5 seasons and playoff berths, sometimes carrying the team on his back and right arm.

Of his 22 career wins, half of them were authored by a fourth-quarter comeback or a game-winning drive, an NFL record for a quarterback in his first two seasons -- two more than Jake Plummer and three more than Peyton Manning.

In January, Luck masterminded the second-largest comeback win in playoff history, leading the Colts to a 45-44 win over the Chiefs after they had fallen behind by 28 in the second half.

Luck nearly spoiled Manning’s easy win Sunday night, tossing two late touchdowns to trim Denver’s 21-point fourth-quarter lead to seven before, well, Luck ran out.

“He’s in that Peyton Manning-Drew Brees-Tom Brady [category] from a mental standpoint,” Kelly said. “He’s always on. And that’s why in every game they have a shot. Even last Sunday night, when you fall asleep at 24-7 and say, 'Broncos got a victory,' then all of a sudden they’re onside kicking and they got a shot at winning it.

“He can do it all. I don’t think there’s anything you can throw at him that he’s going to say he’s never seen it. He really has the whole package. It’ll be a real big challenge for us Monday night.”

Kelly really harped on Luck’s mobility. For a guy with a 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame, Luck can move around the pocket and extend plays with his feet at the same level as any mobile quarterback in the game.

His 10 rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2012 season are second to Cam Newton, and he already has the most and second-most single-season rushing touchdowns for a QB in Colts history, with five in 2012 and four more last year.

He’s already fourth in Colts history in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, behind Manning (12 seasons), Bert Jones (eight seasons) and Johnny Unitas (16 seasons).

Luck’s 453 career rushing yards at Stanford are the most ever by a Cardinal quarterback, along with his three runs of more than 50 yards, including a 58-yarder against rival Cal despite absorbing a crushing hit from a defensive back.

Kelly witnessed Luck’s accurate arm and fancy footwork when the two competed against each other in the Pac-12. Kelly’s Oregon squad beat Luck twice in three games.

Apparently, the admiration between the coach and quarterback is mutual.

"A lot of respect for Chip Kelly,” Luck said Wednesday in a conference call. “Going to school at Stanford obviously, what has become a very good rivalry in large part because of him and what we did at Stanford, so a lot of respect for him. What he does is very inventive and really good football. It'll be fun to play against him again."

-- Geoff Mosher, CSNPhilly.com

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