The Philadelphia Eagles seem to have to deal with quarterback injuries every season. But Eagles fans like myself know that it isn't just Michael Vick who deals with those troubles. In fact, if it wasn't for an injury to Kevin Kolb in September 2010, the Vick era never would have started in Philadelphia. Yet that injury and Vick's rise forced Kolb out - and now Mike Kafka's injuries and the rise of Nick Foles could force him out as well.
Kafka started camp as the No. 2 quarterback for the Eagles, although he has been injured since the preseason opener and Foles has taken Philadelphia by storm. What's more, Trent Edwards has put up solid numbers as well, which makes Kafka's absence all the more glaring.
Now that Andy Reid finally confirmed Foles as the new No. 2 on Aug. 28, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kafka would be gone if Edwards kept the No. 3 slot. Like with Kolb in 2010, Kafka has been out long enough that he has become expendable, albeit through little fault of his own. Yet while Philadelphia had no choice but to get rid of Kolb when Vick took over, the fate of Kafka may have to be dealt with more carefully.
The Eagles may have too many quarterbacks right now, but considering Vick's fragile health, having several options might not be a bad thing. In addition, while Foles has lit up the preseason, doing it in the regular season against full-time starters is another matter. If Foles has to come in and he can't deliver, then Philadelphia may need a third or even fourth stringer to come in - assuming it can't sign a free agent quarterback in midseason.
Edwards would seem to have the edge in that race, since he has been a starter before. But the brutal truth is that he was a starter for the Buffalo Bills, and now he is just fighting to be a third stringer. His experience may give him the edge over the likes of Kafka, yet if Edwards has to play any serious time, the Eagles will have to hold their breath.
The uncertainty around Foles and Edwards may give Kafka room to slip in and stay in an Eagles uniform. But if it doesn't, it would complete a rather startling tumble from being Philadelphia's No. 2 - a position that all but guarantees a start or two - to being cut altogether. To have it happen just because of injuries and the rise of other players, and less because of one's actual play, is extra cruel - but it is far from unprecedented in this city.
Kolb can attest to that, as he was never the same after losing his job from injury and Vick. Now he is in a losing battle to start for the Arizona Cardinals, with his formerly promising career reaching a crossroads. Since Kafka was never a starter, his fate will be far more fragile if he can't stay with the Eagles. Yet Philadelphia will have to be extra creative if it still wants him around.
Considering how important the Eagles' backup quarterbacks may be this season, they have to choose their order with great care. Would they really be willing to trust Kafka - who couldn't fill in adequately for Vick early last season - more than the hotter Foles and Edwards if the time came? They didn't trust Kolb when he returned after getting knocked out, so if Philadelphia wants to stay consistent, then Kafka could be in major trouble too.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor