Recent History Shows Philadelphia Eagles Need to Start Nick Foles
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
I feel like we've been here before.
Back then, it was Kevin Kolb that filled the "other" role, winning the starting job coming out of the preseason. Kolb struggled a bit and then got injured.
Vick started the following game, turned in an impressive performance and, although Kolb was expected to reclaim his role once healthy, Vick was named starter again.
I'd say the rest is history, but they would flip flop roles a couple more times—because of injury as well as performance—and Vick would prevail in the end, leading the Eagles to the playoffs.
Three years later, and it's deja vu all over again.
This time, it's Vick as the incumbent and Nick Foles as the upstart who may or may not be the future of the franchise. This time, it was Foles who came in and dazzled.
And this time, just like last time, it makes sense to stick with the hot hand.
Granted, this coming week is now a moot point, as Vick himself has stated he needs more time , but upon him returning to health it should not lead to a direct trip back into the huddle.
Simply enough, there are two main reasons why the Eagles need to let Foles' play play itself out:
Reason #1: It sends the right message
Loyalty has its place, especially with a young head coach looking to still establish trust and rapport among his players. However, establishing a merit-based system is equally critical.
And when you're talking about a regular season that only lasts 16 games, Janet Jackson is right: What have you done for me lately?
Foles did everything against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to not only justify another opportunity but also enough to have likely earned him the starting role in the first place had he done it in the preseason (namely, eliminate mistakes and control the tempo).
Let's be clear: Although Vick has struggled at times (though, to his credit, not nearly as much as last year), this is more about what Foles has done rather than what Vick hasn't.
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Reason #2: The timing is right
Unless the Eagles are now simply drafting quarterbacks annually for sport, at some point they need to figure out what they have on the roster. Let's see how far Foles can take this while he's riding a wave of momentum and confidence. Let's see if the future happens to take place in the present.
With sole possession of first place on the line against their most hated division rival in front of a crowd that hasn't witnessed a win on their home turf in over a year, what better litmus test can there be?
Furthermore, there is no need to attach a level of permanence to this. Vick will likely be gone after this season, whether he reinvigorates his career once again or throws his arm off trying. Regardless, you know what you have with him: An incredible athlete who is a threat to make or create a big play at any moment, yet also an inconsistent passer who struggles to make the right decisions on the fly and rarely utilizes his checkdown receivers.
If Nick Foles wins against the Cowboys, should he remain the starter?
With Foles, there is still too small of sample size to know what you have. But what we do know is that he went 2-of-3 in the red zone—an area that is often kryptonite for the Birds—against the Bucs. He also made Riley Cooper look like an actual No. 2 wide receiver, was pinpoint accurate and there seemed to be far fewer broken/extended plays (which too often lead to holding penalties at best and turnovers at worst).
Three years ago, the Eagles made a switch at quarterback and ultimately found a way to make an unlikely run to the playoffs.
Three years later, it may be deja vu all over again.
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