Why the Nick Foles Era Needs to Start Sooner Rather Than Later

Kevin McLaughlinContributor ISeptember 15, 2012

Nick Foles, the Eagles' rookie backup QB, is a Vick rib injury away from being thrust into the starting role. Is he up for the challenge?
Nick Foles, the Eagles' rookie backup QB, is a Vick rib injury away from being thrust into the starting role. Is he up for the challenge?Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

As Philadelphia sports fans begin their annual collective descent into the madness known as Eagles season, they should be asking themselves the following:

Are we ready for the Nick Foles era to begin?

Ready or not, there’s a chance Foles will take some snaps Sunday when the Eagles take on the Baltimore Ravens in their 2012 home opener. And it’s not going to be because the Eagles are cruising in a blowout.

The Ravens’ defense, even without Terrell Suggs, is fast and relentless. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are going to be eying Vick like a cocktail hors d'oeuvre when he starts his usual scrambling and gunslinging. So Vick going out with an injury would be roughly as surprising as the sun rising in the east.

So what about Foles? Is he ready to be the guy? Many Eagles fans believe he could be. Or at least, they want to believe.

Andy Reid’s latest QB project might end up being the next Tom Brady. Foles had a nice preseason, impressing fans and coaches with his quick release and good decision making, and popping up quickly after getting hit. But let’s keep in mind that he was facing vanilla defenses filled with scrubs. Against real NFL defenses, Foles could get devoured.

If Foles doesn’t get thrust into the starting QB role due to injury, he could get the call if Vick continues his recent putrid play. By throwing four interceptions last week against the Browns, Vick made himself look very much like a rookie. And Vick seems to think that he is not being given a fair shake by local sports media, which suggests we’ll see more dumb decisions as he tries to shut everyone up with highlight film plays.

No matter how much Foles ends up struggling this year, his emergence as the starting quarterback is the best thing that could happen to the Eagles. One, it would enable the team to part ways with Vick after this year, instead of being stuck with him contractually for another three. Second, we’d get to see if Foles is, in fact, the real deal.

Of course, Foles as a starter will probably mean the Eagles don’t sniff the playoffs this year. But that might not be the worst thing. The Eagles, since Donovan McNabb was traded in 2010, have fallen into the trap of not being willing to suck for a few years while they develop a young quarterback.

They were willing to take their chances with Kevin Kolb, who earned himself the nickname “Babyarm” with Eagles fans for his inability to throw the deep ball, but he got injured in his first game as a starter in 2010, opening the door for Vick. Now they have another chance.

As the 16-week torture sessions of the past few years have displayed, Vick is clearly not going to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl. A playoff berth with Vick at the helm would be disastrous to the team’s long-term future. It’s time to see what Foles is capable of.

So, keep scrambling Michael—please.