The third-round pick out of Arizona looked decent against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's home matchup in relief of concussed starter Michael Vick. But Foles should ride the pine for the remainder of the 2012 season—and it has nothing to do with how he played in his first significant NFL action.
The always strongly opinionated Stephen A. Smith of ESPN's First Take offered his extreme viewpoint of how Foles fared on Sunday:
So much for all that talk about the Nick Foles starting in place of Vick. What a disaster.—Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 11, 2012
I wouldn't go so far as to say Foles was a disaster. Going 22-of-32 for 219 yards and a touchdown isn't so bad against a Rob Ryan coached defense that happens to be in the top five against the pass.
After the game, Foles showed the accountability and composure of a veteran when addressing the media (h/t Philly Mag):
I didn’t get the job done tonight...I have a 24-hour rule with dealing with games and looking at film and the emotions of it. It’s an emotional game, you want to win every game and fight every game. It’s back to work.”
Expected rookie mistakes—the critical pick-six to Brandon Carr, holding on to the ball a little too long (which resulted in a strip sack) and a second Cowboys defensive TD—were present, but so was a sense of poise.
Foles stood tall in the pocket despite Dallas' front seven constantly getting pressure against a mostly hapless Eagles offensive line, and generally delivered the ball with accuracy and velocity.
That lack of protection is precisely why he shouldn't press on as the starter, though. Head coach Andy Reid is far from guaranteed of retaining his job, which puts the entire Eagles staff in jeopardy.
In fact, owner Jeffrey Lurie stated that huge changes would occur if the team didn't finish better than 8-8. That means offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg could be leaving town, meaning Foles would essentially have to start from square one in 2013.
Why put the pressure on Foles to get the team off the mat and shoulder the fates of Reid and all the coaches?
The plan was for $100-million man Vick to be the team's quarterback, and his unique elusiveness may be the only way for Philly to possibly salvage a respectable year. Foles shouldn't be thrown into the fire amidst this difficult campaign.
Such a move could actually hinder his long-term development, and any fan frustration will likely be pointed in his direction should he perform no better than Vick and the team continues to lose.
While it may be somewhat unfair to Vick, the franchise did invest a nine-figure deal in him to carry them to the Super Bowl. That's something Philly hasn't accomplished under Reid's watch, and it doesn't look as though it will happen this time around either.
In order for the Eagles to protect their new hope under center, Foles should stick to the sidelines until the Eagles' issues are settled in the offseason.
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