The Michael Vick era ended last month, after two and a half seasons, when the 32-year-old quarterback suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. Starting in his place for the last six games has been rookie Nick Foles, a third-round draft pick this past year.
Foles has had plenty of ups and downs during his tenure as the team's starter.
For the negatives, he's lost five of his six starts. He has committed more turnovers than touchdowns. He has a tendency to fumble when he is hit and he can't scramble. He appears to lack the arm strength necessary to make some throws. And like most rookie quarterbacks, he's been wildly inconsistent in his starts.
But despite the negatives, Foles has had plenty of positives. His lone victory was a dramatic 11-point comeback on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were fighting for a playoff spot. The victory was capped off by a walkoff touchdown to Jeremy Maclin, a play after Foles literally created the play for a 4th-and-5 conversion to Jason Avant.
Foles is accurate, more so than both Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick were (in terms of completion percentage). He also had a streak of 169 consecutive passes without an interception, a stretch of four games. He is poised, confident and doesn't appear easily rattled in pressure situations.
Oh, and he's tough too. He played the entire second half against the Redskins with a bone fracture in his throwing hand, perhaps the reason why he failed to hit Maclin on what could have been a game-tying touchdown in the final seconds.
In reality, though, Philadelphia really hasn't seen enough of Foles to know whether he can be the quarterback of the future. He has played well enough, however, that he deserves a full season as the starting quarterback.
Let's see how Foles does with Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Luke Joeckel (I'm hoping), LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Stanley Havili as starters instead of Dennis Kelly, Dallas Reynolds, Jake Scott, King Dunlap, Bryce Brown, Riley Cooper, Clay Harbor and Emil Igwenagu. Eagles fans could be in for a pleasant surprise.
Now, the new head coach will ultimately decide on the quarterback, but it's not likely that the Eagles will reach the playoffs in 2013, regardless of who the quarterback is. There's no can't-miss prospect in this April's draft, and trading for a veteran like Alex Smith or Matt Flynn may not be a smart move since the Eagles still don't know if Foles is a franchise quarterback.
Foles deserves a minimum of one full season as a starter. The Eagles' new head coach should spend the offseason filling the many holes on the defense and adding to the talent on offense so Foles can be put in a better position to make plays.