Wake-Up Call: No Winners From Foles Letdown

Eagles QB Mike Vick and Nick FolesThe joint press conference last week prior to the Dallas game carried some symbolism with it.

As the quarterbacks were walking off the practice field and towards the podium, they wore a look as if to ask, “Who’s first?” The Eagles’ PR rep solved the problem by waving both of them up.

Nick Foles was coming off the best game of his professional career and looked comfortable as he shared the moment with the vet. Michael Vick heaped praise on the young quarterback and said he would be ready if and when he was called upon again.

Some wondered if this was the passing of the torch. It at least felt like Foles had pulled even with Vick for a lap of the race, and who knows, maybe he can nudge in front with a quality outing against the Cowboys?

Instead, he crashed. And as he did, some Foles detractors/Vick supporters pointed at the wreckage and delivered told-you-sos to those that hitched their wagon to the second-year signal-caller. After a hot debate that raged for a couple weeks in Philadelphia, there was a moment of vindication for those who backed Vick.

But make no mistake: there were no winners as a result of Sunday’s performance. The search for a franchise QB is back at Square One.

While the odds were against it, there was at least a little hope that Foles was the guy. The Eagles kept him off the market this offseason because they had seen enough to be intrigued and were not prepared to rule him out as a potential solution. Then came a couple flashes against the Giants and Bucs. Good enough to want to see more still.

We all know what happened next. Foles stalled in the biggest moment of his career. It was only one game and a quarterback should certainly not be judged off one game alone, but the NFL is a harsh business. Quarterbacks only get so many chances to prove their case. That applies particularly to QBs without a first-round pedigree.

The Vick-Foles debate has flamed out, and Vick has re-assumed his place out in front. He is the best option for this team right now. That remains true. It’s also true that Vick is 33 and injury-prone. As much as he helps this team when healthy, he can’t be relied on week to week let alone down the line.

The Eagles are open to landing a franchise quarterback no matter the form. Even if Foles isn’t the Chip Kelly prototype, they’d make it work in order to solidify the most important position in football. Maybe Foles is being graded too harshly off one performance. Maybe he still is the guy. But the chances of that being true took a pretty substantial hit. Those odds dipped, right along with his trade value.

A home run against the Cowboys would have been a real solid statement from Foles but something much less pretty unfolded. As a result the state of the quarterback position was weakened, and there’s no one with a vested interest in the Eagles that benefits from that.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil uses the All-22 to analyze the state of the Eagles’ defense.

An inside look at how Trent Cole has reinvented his game.

Billy Davis is growing into his role as Eagles’ defensive coordinator.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The trade deadline is fast approaching. Joe Banner sees more wheeling and dealing ahead in the modern-day NFL. From ESPN:

Before the NFL’s 2012 season, the league and the players union agreed to extend the trading deadline two weeks — this year’s cutoff is Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET — giving teams more time to make deals without compromising the integrity of competition.

Banner, who was the Eagles’ president from 2001-12, sees the NFL loosening up and trading more often. “It comes down to a comfort level,” he said. “Five picks from Atlanta for Julio Jones? I believe this will seem less bold in a year or so. I know certain teams would be reluctant to look at deals like this, but I think you’ll see more trades in the future. “Not an avalanche, but more.”

David Steele of the Sporting News wrote a column titled, “Reality setting in: Chip Kelly’s offense a nightmare for Eagles.” Unlike the Grantland piece, we’re fairly certain this one isn’t satire.

Kelly’s job now is to filter out both dreams and nightmares and discover the reality of his offense. It’s closer to what happened against the Cowboys Sunday than to the season opener in Washington.

It’s not because NFL defenses have caught on to him, either—although it is now clear that the Redskins’ defense gives up tons of yards (ninth-worst in the NFL going into Monday) and points (fourth-worst) to every team.

There simply is little for the league to catch up to right now. The fast-paced offense has slowed tremendously, they rarely put defenses on their heels as they were earlier, and they are ineffective and inconsistent.

COMING UP

We’ll roll out our predictions for Eagles-Giants.

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