Twitter Mailbag: On the QB Situation
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@Tim_McManus What is likely to happen when Foles is cleared to play? Sanchez hasn’t ‘taken over’ the same way Foles did last year.
— Nicholas Kemner (@Tabu34) December 1, 2014
I’m working under the assumption that Mark Sanchez will be the quarterback for the remainder of the season, including playoffs.
The original timetable for Nick Foles‘ recovery was 6-8 weeks. A recent check-up suggested that the fractured clavicle is healing normally. December 14 — the day the Eagles host the Cowboys — is exactly six weeks from when Foles sustained the injury. Eight weeks puts us at the regular-season finale in New York. Even if Sanchez has a bad day against Seattle, there’s little incentive to rush Foles back. If inserted for the final game or two, he would have very little time to knock the rust off. And given the way he played before he got hurt, there’s no guarantee that he would play better than Sanchez even if he were to round back into pre-injury form.
Sanchez is 3-1 as a starter. If the next four games go like the last four, the Eagles will be sitting at 12-4 and could very well have a first-round bye. A 2-2 finish and 11-5 record could still fetch you a home playoff game. Are you going to mess with the quarterback spot in that scenario? Sanchez is playing pretty good ball and so is the team overall. Barring an injury or an out-and-out Sanchez collapse, I don’t see Foles playing again this year.
I think a four-way quarterback competition between Sanchez, Foles, Manning and RGIII is in order this summer. Now that would be good for business. What would the depth chart look like by the end of it?
There are plenty of assistants that deserve credit for the team’s success this year, including Jerry Azzinaro (defensive line), linebacker coaches Bill McGovern (OLBs) and Rick Minter (ILBs), Jeff Stoutland (offensive line) and Bob Bicknell (receivers). I’m guessing most of this group remains intact, though it’s only natural for a winning coaching staff to draw interest from other teams around the league.
Billy Davis‘ unit is exceeding expectations for the second straight season. The Eagles are second in sacks (42) and tied for fifth in takeaways (22). Reporters like him because he is candid, clear and engaging when addressing the media. It’s easy to see how he could win you over during the interview process and why players respect him. While it’s possible he gets a look, I didn’t get the sense that he was one of the hot assistant names when I put some feelers out there a few weeks back.
There was a little buzz when it came to Pat Shurmur on the other hand. Adam Caplan does a good job of laying out the reasons why.
Because of the interest in Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and the team’s rapid improvement over the last two seasons, Shurmur figures to draw interest in regard to head coach openings. The veteran offensive coach, who’s known in league circles for his ability to teach and develop quarterbacks, had a short stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2011-2012), and some execs say he didn’t have a fair shot during his time there. Shurmur could get another shot as soon as January.
Caplan has Shurmur ranked ninth on his list of top coaching candidates. Davis was not mentioned. I don’t know that Shurmur will get hired by another club, but I do think he’ll get interviewed.
I think it has more to do with the offensive line coalescing. The group has been in a state of flux all year. This is the most stable it has felt at any point this season. Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce are rounding into form, Andrew Gardner seems to be holding his own at right guard and the comfort level overall is on the rise.
“I just think the unit is getting familiar with each other, everybody is starting to get [healthy] coming back from injury, feeling good. It just comes down to execution,” said Lane Johnson. “We’ve been practicing well and I think we’re starting to catch momentum right at the right time, which is a good thing later on in the year. I’m excited about the next four games here.
“[Thursday] felt like a game from last year as far as the momentum and the energy and the way we executed. It was good to get back on that level.”
LeSean McCoy noted after the game that he almost had too much space to run against the Cowboys, giving him pause as to which lane to hit. That’s a great problem to have, especially considering the state of affairs earlier in the year. He is averaging 106 rushing yards per outing over his last seven games. The ground game is back, and that’s one of the biggest reasons for optimism as the Eagles hit the stretch run.