The words “quarterback controversy” should never appear in a sentence again this year when talking about the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether Michael Vick is hurt or not, Nick Foles should be the starter. His performances in the last two games have just been too good to overlook, and the fact that Foles hasn’t officially been named the starter is just stunning. In fact, Head Coach Chip Kelly actually announced that he still hasn’t named a starter for next week’s game against the Redskins even though Vick is still hurt. While Foles took the first-team snaps at practice today, it’s strange that Kelly hasn’t jumped onto the Foles Bandwagon yet.
Despite only throwing 18 passes yesterday, Foles managed to throw another 3 TD passes and no INTs, which brings him to a 10:0 TD:INT ratio in the past two games, which are Peyton Manning numbers (by no way am I saying that he’s as good as Manning though). He may have lost a fumble on the Eagles’ lone turnover, but the referees seemed to botch the call on the convoluted “fumble” that Foles had. The fact that he could be so incredibly efficient at 12/18 with 228 yards is a testament to Foles’ actual skill as a QB. While some people consider him a fluke of a QB, he has proven time and time again this season why he’s the future of the team.
And what is great is that he won’t be regularly relied on to throw 40+ passes per game because the running game has gotten so good. The Eagles rushed for another 204 yards yesterday, solidifying themselves as the number one rush offense in the league. It’s amazing how far the Eagles have come considering just a few years ago they barely ran the ball at all. LeSean McCoy, who’s also leading the league in rushing yards, had another 155 of his own on just 25 carries, which is 6.2 YPC. Even Foles is starting to run when he needs to, picking up 38 yards on 8 runs. Who needs a guy like Michael Vick anyway?
Riley Cooper seems to have been revived from the dead recently. After starting off the season with basically nonexistent stats, he scored another 2 TDs in yesterday’s game along with 102 yards on just 3 catches. It seems like Foles and Cooper have a solid connection, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that duo continuing their dominance throughout the season (assuming Foles starts). And Cooper’s targets are detracting from those of DeSean Jackson, who had 4 receptions for 80 yards and a TD. What I am disappointed with is the TE production. Brent Celek continues to be a nobody out there, grabbing just one catch for 7 yards on his only target. After being a large part of their offense last year, he hasn’t caught more than 3 passes in any game this season. And while James Casey also had one catch, Zach Ertz didn’t have any. Celek and Ertz, the Eagles’ starting to TEs, are ranked 27th and 29th respectively in receiving yards among TEs in the league. For a team that was supposed to use the TE a lot, that’s just bad.
One thing that worried me yesterday though was the injuries. Jason Peters, Mychal Kendricks, and Earl Wolff all left the game with injuries and didn’t return. In fact, Peters got hurt and returned a little later in the game, but then suffered a second, separate injury and was ruled out after that. Peters, who’s the best offensive lineman on the team, is a big reason why the Eagles have been so good at running the ball. Kendricks is a very important starter at LB and would be bad if they lost him considering Jake Knott is also hurt. And while Wolff isn’t one of their best players, the safety position is one of the Eagles’ weakest positions, so any injury is a bad one.
And one thing that all Eagles fans have to remember is that the Packers were on their 3rd string QB for 95% of the game yesterday. If Aaron Rodgers was in, it would’ve been a totally different game. That isn’t to say that the Eagles would’ve gotten blown out, but they certainly got lucky that they got to face Scott Tolzien instead of Rodgers, one of the best QBs in the league. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but the Eagles were given a lot of help in that regard.
Next week against the Redskins should be an easy game, but the problem is that they’re at home. They’ve posted an 0-4 record at home thus far which is terrible, and it would be detrimental to the team’s playoff chances (yes, I mentioned the playoffs) if they lost another divisional matchup. Believe it or not, the Eagles aren’t far out of the playoff race since Dallas lost last night putting them at 5-5 as well, but because the Cowboys have a better division record (3-0) than the Eagles (2-2), they remain atop the NFC East. While I still doubt that the Eagles will make the playoffs, they definitely still have a chance as long as the Cowboys keep losing.