Cowboys vs. Eagles: Proof for Philadelphia That Michael Vick Isn't the Problem

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 11, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to make a pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

So now we can confirm that Juan Castillo wasn't the problem in Philadelphia, nor is Michael Vick.

Andy Reid didn't have to bench Vick in favor of rookie backup Nick Foles to make that discovery, because blitzing Dallas Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims removed Vick himself with a concussion-inducing hit in the second quarter.

Foles has for months been one of the most popular men in Philadelphia, as Eagles fans clamored for the preseason hot-shot to get a chance to revive a train wreck of an offense. He finally got his opportunity with Vick injured against the Cowboys and looked a lot like a rookie third-round pick taking his first meaningful snaps as a pro.

Foles' final stat line—22 for 32, 219 yards, a touchdown and a pick—wasn't bad, but it was inflated by a slew of screens and safe passes as well a 44-yard score to Jeremy Maclin against blown coverage. 

In somewhat twisted fashion, the less-than-inspiring performance from Foles should at least give Eagles fans some peace of mind. This team isn't good enough to succeed, regardless of who's at quarterback.

Many of us suspected that Foles' superb preseason was fool's gold, but now at least we can confirm that he's probably not an Andrew Luck- or Robert Griffin-type rookie signal-caller—the kind of player that could have put this team over the top. 

Ultimately, I don't believe there's a quarterback in the league who could save this offense. On the surface, the depleted offensive line wasn't a disaster in pass protection Sunday (allowing just two sacks), but right tackle King Dunlap was atrocious, penalties masked some ugly swings and misses and Vick and Foles were still under pressure far too often.

Throw in that they allowed Dallas to score 21 points in 150 seconds in the second half and I don't think quarterback play is the primary issue here. 

That's what has to be super frustrating for Eagles fans. They can't point a finger at one supposed villain. Not Castillo, who was fired several weeks ago despite decent outputs from the defense he ran, and not Vick, who hasn't been perfect but has battled under extremely difficult circumstances. 

And when the problem is a shared one, the majority of the blame is shifted to the head coach. Reid has plenty of talent and has had 14 years to deliver, and it looks as though he's failed again. The jury's still out on Vick and Foles and several of the veterans who have underperformed, but Sunday's game provided more evidence that Reid's time in the City of Brotherly Love should probably be on the verge of expiring.