End the Michael Vick Era. It’s Time to Build Around Nick Foles.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) spikes the football after scoring on a four-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Even if Michael Vick has a bionic hamstring transplanted into his cranky leg before next weekend, it’s time for Chip Kelly to stop equivocating and name Nick Foles the team’s starting quarterback.

Further, even though the second-year passer isn’t perfect for the coach’s scheme, Kelly should give serious thought to making Foles the man heading into 2014, the better to use the draft to address other issues on the team. Foles has proven capable of running an NFL offense during his season and a half in the league, and just because he looks like a giraffe on ice skates when he takes off from the pocket doesn’t mean the Eagles should jettison someone who has thrown 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.

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Can Nick Foles Play Even Better Next Week?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Throughout his largely forgettable seven-year career with Baltimore and the Eagles, Adrian Burk threw 28 more interceptions than TD passes. In 1951, his first year with the Birds, the Mexia, Texas (hometown of former Philadelphia head coach Ray Rhodes), product led the league with 23 picks, in just 12 games.

But on Oct. 17, 1954, Burk had it all cooking. He blasted Washington for seven TD passes in a 49-21 victory, the signature moment of a Pro Bowl season in which he tossed an NFL-leading 23 scoring strikes. His lucky seven tied the league mark that had been set 11 years earlier by Bears legend Sid Luckman.

Fifty-nine years later, Nick Foles joined Burk atop the NFL single-game list with seven TD throws against the Raiders.

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Penn State Did the Right Thing. Now It Must Keep Doing It.

Penn State's Beaver Stadium

The news that Penn State has reached a financial settlement with 26 victims of monstrous abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will come as closure to some. That’s a natural reaction.

But Marci Hamilton wants more. An attorney for two men waiting to finalize their deals believes that the money, while appreciated, isn’t the most important part of the school’s responsibility. She’s right.

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For This Year’s Sixers, How Bad Will Be Bad Enough?

Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4), small forward Evan Turner (12) and point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during a media day photo shoot at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

There may be a tougher job in Philadelphia than selling Sixers tickets, but it would be awfully hard to find. I suppose the guy who has to clean the mess off the top of William Penn’s hat isn’t too happy. Or the person who has to clean up after City Council, for that matter.

The Sixers have had some bad seasons before, with the historic 1972-73 debacle atop the list, but there has never been a year in which it was trying to be so obviously rotten. We are at a point in the franchise’s history where fans may actually boo the team’s successes, however few they may be.

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Playoffs Still a Possibility for Eagles… With Michael Vick Under Center

Michael Vick and Nick Foles

When Nick Foles was led off the Lincoln Financial Field to have his head injury examined, it would have been perfect if Michael Vick had risen from the bench and begun running sprints, just to show everybody that he will be ready for action next Sunday against the Giants.

Perhaps he was doing that in his mind. It was hard to tell, because he maintained a bored expression throughout most of the game. While his knucklehead brother tweeted profanities and other typically immature missives, Vick appeared nonplussed by Sunday’s disappointing proceedings.

After the game, coach Chip Kelly refused to anoint either Vick or Foles as his starting quarterback, since each is dealing with an injury. The only certain thing is that if Matt Barkley is the first-stringer, the New York secondary could have more catches than the team’s wideouts.

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Penn State Should Pay Bill O’Brien Before Somebody Else Does

Penn State's Beaver Stadium

(FULL DISCLOSURE: The author is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, and he wasn’t very happy Saturday night.)

Let’s face it; any time a team loses to Indiana by 20, it’s not a good thing. But a Vegas sharpie knew something in advance of Penn State’s remarkable, four-OT marathon victory over Michigan Saturday in Delirious Valley. The betting line opened at Michigan minus one, an extremely small number for an unbeaten team–albeit a squad that almost lost to Akron–against a rival that had dropped two of three, including the aforementioned double-sawbuck debacle against the Hoosiers.

But when the “White Out” had lifted, and the Wolverines’ kicker had stopped missing field goals, PSU had earned the kind of victory that can catapult a maturing program into the national discussion. Or, in Penn State’s case, into the national discussion again.

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Vick (Gulp) Remains the Obvious Choice at QB for Eagles

vick_940.jpg

The Eagles’ rose into a tie for the top spot of the NFC’s Island of Misfit Toys Division with a win over the hapless Giants, established some life for the previously floundering team and started their stretch of five games against the league’s soft underbelly in fine fashion.

But their gift-wrapped win courtesy of Little Eli’s suddenly wayward right arm did not come without a price. Michael Vick’s hamstring injury may not be serious (an MRI will determine that Monday), but Nick Foles’ play in relief of the hobbled starter will no doubt increase the cries of his supporters, who will say his 16-of-25 passing and two touchdowns demonstrate his fitness for the position.

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Six Pain Points the Phillies Must Address in the Off-Season

Phillies-offseason-discontent

If the Phillies had their way, each person in the Philadelphia area would have the ring tone on his or her phone changed to a sales pitch from broadcaster Tom McCarthy promising that things will be a lot better in 2014. That way, the team’s relentlessly positive message would have six months to sledgehammer its way into the collective consciousness, and average attendance next season wouldn’t dip below 30,000 a game.

About the only way the Phillies can possibly convince anybody that the 73-89 disaster that ended mercifully Sunday in Atlanta with–what else?–a loss is not a harbinger of worse things to come next year is with a full-on, all-out Soviet-style propaganda blitz designed to obscure this team’s substantial shortcomings.

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What’s Wrong With the 2013 Eagles? It’s the Talent, Stupid.

At halftime of the Eagles’ opener against Washington, it wouldn’t have been surprising if someone scaled City Hall and replaced the statue of Billy Penn with one of Chip Kelly. That’s the kind of restraint and objectivity this town shows regarding its professional football franchise.

It’s a good thing nobody affected that transfer, because when Mr. Time’s Your’s came in to the Linc last Thursday and sent the Birds to their second straight defeat, somebody might have climbed back up and chopped off Kelly’s head.
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Show Some Class, Philly: Don’t Boo McNabb

If a single Philadelphia fan boos Donovan McNabb Thursday when the Eagles retire his number at halftime, the offender ought to lose his or her ticket privileges for life.

Some knuckleheads are going to be tempted to vent their frustrations at McNabb when he walks onto the field, but they need to show restraint. More than that, they need to show some class. Forget about McNabb’s status as the franchise’s most productive and winningest quarterback. More on that later. If Eagles fans boo No. 5, they will be doing exactly what the rest of the country expects them to do. That behavior will inspire a return to the hackneyed list of Philadelphia fan transgressions and encourage those who love to bash the city to continue their piling on.

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