Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles Are Ultimately No Good for Each Other

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Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles Are Ultimately No Good for Each Other
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Foles is doing what is best for Foles, whether it serves the Eagles' long-term interests or not.

Nick Foles' consistent, winning play as quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles this season will ultimately prove to be devastating to the franchise.

Mind you, Foles would not believe that if you said it to him. He also would not care if it were eventually proven to be a fact. Nor should he, on both counts.

Foles would surely love to lead the Eagles to the playoffs this season. He would almost certainly welcome the chance to be the team's incumbent starter heading into training camp next summer.

But if one or both of those things does not happen, Foles must above all else make sure he has a job somewhere in the National Football League for as long as he can manage it.

So Foles is going to do everything he can to win as many games as he can while he is the Eagles' starting quarterback, even if that tenure only lasts five more games.

For a franchise that still needs one (or maybe two) more drafts to accumulate enough talent to fill all its holes, though, each time Foles wins a game, the Eagles see their chances of becoming a legitimate NFL powerhouse disintegrate.

As recently as three weeks ago, when Foles was battling concussion symptoms and backup quarterback Matt Barkley could not produce a single touchdown in five quarters of football, the prevailing sentiment in Philadelphia was that it was time to tank.

Phil Sheridan's blog post on ESPN.com after the Eagles dropped to 3-5 laid out the argument succinctly: "Talk of tanking is in the air for many reasons. Fans see the instant turnaround effected by teams with elite young quarterbacks like Andrew LuckRussell Wilson and Robert Griffin III."

Eagles fans were ready at that point to see the Eagles go 3-13 or 4-12 and pick from the likes of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.

To his credit, Foles had other ideas.

The Eagles have won three straight and head into their bye week with sole possession of first place in the NFC East. If the New York Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys this weekend—and the Giants are a slight favorite at home—the Eagles will see their lead expand to a full game.

In three weeks, then, the talk has turned from losing as many games as possible to secure a high draft pick to winning as many games as possible to land the Eagles' first playoff berth since the 2010 season.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
It would be fascinating to hear what Kelly really thinks of what Foles is doing.

Who has the most to gain if the Eagles make the playoffs? Foles. Who has the most to lose if the Eagles miss the playoffs, both in terms of current job security and the Eagles' draft strategy going forward? Foles again.

So Foles is playing for his job, both for now and for next season and maybe even beyond that. Which is where the trouble really lies.

Look at this list.

In the past 20 years, 14 quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl:

The only two names on that list that you can reasonably compare to Foles are Dilfer and Johnson. All the others are or were vastly superior players with at least one off-the-charts physical skill.

The Eagles hired head coach Chip Kelly to instill a revolutionary read option offense that relies on a mobile quarterback who can hold the ball for five or six seconds and make decisions with it on the move.

Foles is at his best receiving the ball in the pocket and getting rid of it as soon as he can.

Kelly's offense also operates at optimal efficiency when the quarterback can keep the ball and gash the opposing defense by running in the open field.

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Michael Vick's Week 1 performance against the Washington Redskins is long forgotten now, but the way Vick played in that game is far more indicative of what Kelly's read option should look like than anything Foles has done.

And above all else, Foles does not have a single physical tool that can be described as special or elite.

Foles does not have a cannon for an arm like half the aforementioned Super Bowl winners did, or like Manziel does.

Foles cannot move like Young once did or like Mariota or Bridgewater do now.

He is a pocket quarterback with a changeup-speed arm playing in a league that values footspeed and high-velocity throwers.

The remainder of the 2013 Eagles season is going to be exciting because neither the team nor its fans have sniffed the playoffs for some time.

Unfortunately, the unintended and regrettable consequence of Nick Foles' strong play is likely to be the inability to draft a quarterback who can actually win a Super Bowl.

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