The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of a huge quarterback controversy, or might be very soon. Eagles fans like myself have made Nick Foles the most popular quarterback in Philadelphia, if only because he isn't Michael Vick and hasn't turned the ball over three times a game. But although we might wish for Foles to take over soon, it really isn't the best time for him to do so.
It was tempting to call for Vick's benching right after the humiliating fourth quarter and overtime against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 14. However, sending Foles out to start against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 28 isn't practical - and it might not be practical to put him on in the next few weeks after that.
Foles is a rookie, which may not be a huge slam against him, given how many rookie quarterbacks are starting right now. Yet when or if he comes on, he will already be under the most intense scrutiny possible, as the Eagles and Andy Reid would need some kind of savior. But to have Foles start that off by facing the 6-0 Falcons would be too much.
It's already one thing to have Philadelphia put rookie defensive coordinator Todd Bowles out there to stop Matt Ryan and company. To have both Foles and Bowles make their debuts by taking on the only unbeaten team in football is not ideal. It was desperate to replace Juan Castillo before this game, but replacing Vick at the same time - for a rookie, at that - would just be waving the white flag.
If Vick does bad enough next week, then Reid may not be able to hold off the anti-Vick masses any longer. However, if Foles starts in the next game, he'd be thrown into the Superdome on Monday Night Football to face the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 5. While the Saints may be in even worse straits, they still have Drew Brees at the helm and are starting to gain momentum after two straight wins.
Asking Foles to outduel Brees right off the bat on a Monday night would be a pretty tall order. And if the Eagles are 3-4 at that point and need him to save their season, the weight of it all could be crushing.
The Eagles then face the Cowboys on Nov. 11, so that would put Foles into the fire against Philadelphia's arch-nemesis. By then, both teams may be desperate to get a win and launch a hot second half. Given Dallas's own up-and-down, disappointing nature, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to put Foles in for this spot. Yet if he has to be put in by then, there's no way things would be looking good for the Birds - whether they're 4-4 or 3-5.
There is no ideal time for Foles to replace Vick, as we all still hope there's no reason to do it. But there have been reasons piling up for it since Week 1, if not earlier. All the Eagles might be able to do is control how Foles eventually gets in, and make sure things aren't completely ruined by then.
If Philadelphia can get Vick through these next few weeks and stay afloat, this whole problem becomes moot. But if Foles has to come in at any point during this time, Vick-hating fans might rejoice in relief - yet we probably wouldn't be celebrating it for too long.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Michael Vick
- Nick Foles
- the Eagles