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Philadelphia Eagles: Who Are These Guys, Does Anybody Know?

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COMMENTARY | Three weeks ago, Philadelphia Eagles' quarterbacks Nick Foles and Michael Vick stood before a media gathering side by side expressing their mutual respect and admiration, and vowing that regardless of who was behind center in a given week, the one not playing would be in total support of the team.

Then Foles played an absolute stinker of a game against the Dallas Cowboys until he sustained a concussion and went to the sidelines. When I say stinker, I mean just about as bad (11 for 29 passing, 80 yards) as bad gets. Vick was inactive because of a bad hamstring, so Matt Barkley finished up in a less than impressive fashion. The Eagles failed to score a touchdown.

Two weeks ago, Foles couldn't play and Michael Vick gave it a go on his bad hamstring against the New York Giants and he performed like a quarterback playing on a bad hamstring (6 for 9, 30 yards passing, 1 interception, 1 yard rushing). He was ineffective and removed once again in favor of Barkley, who was better but still finished up in less than impressive fashion. The Eagles special teams scored a touchdown, the offense didn't.

This past week, Foles returned as the No.1 with many observers wondering if opposing defensive coordinators had solved head coach Chip Kelly's University of Oregon hurry-up, quick-strike scheme, particularly since the offense had appeared in no hurry and hadn't been striking quickly or otherwise the previous two weeks.

Then Foles went out and tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes as well as a whopping 406 yards passing as the Eagles hung 49 points on the Oakland Raidersin just three quarters. This was against a Raiders team ranked fifth in total defense in the NFL entering the game.

What the heck happened? How could Foles go from Joe Bagodonuts to Joe Montana in the space of two weeks? And it wasn't just Foles, the entire offense was back to the way they played in totally befuddling the Washington Redskins in the first half of their week 1 game, when they went to the locker room up 26-7. If we were talking basketball, you could say the Eagles ran the Redskins out of the gym in that first half. They did the same to the Raiders over the first three quarters Sunday.

In his post-game press conference in Oakland, Kelly said it was just a matter of better preparation and better execution. He said every play called against the Raiders has been called before this season. They just played better.

Played better? Are you kidding me, Chip? In between that half of Redskins game and the Raiders game, that offensive tempo has been absent. It was a frustrating inconsistency in performance each week. Against the Cowboys and Giants, it was zilch. Then, they come up with this performance, out of nowhere? Will the real Nick Foles please stand up?

I understand it take time. Defensively, it's an entirely new scheme and it appears as the weeks go by, the light may be coming on for those guys over on that side of the ball. Offensively, it's a completely different and in some ways unique approach. It's a learning process and all the pieces in place are probably not the pieces Kelly would prefer, including Foles, Vick and Barkley. No one should have been expecting much from a new coach with different ways of doing things leading a team that went 2-14 last year.

Then suddenly they figure it out? Really? No one could have possibly seen this coming. I mean what can you say about it? How do you appraise it? What does it mean going forward?

Next Sunday, the Eagles play in Green Bay, the team with the second-rated defense in the league. Will it be Foles and the offense against Oakland or Foles and the offense against Dallas that shows up?

Will it be Foles at all? Kelly isn't committing to anything.


I'm just glad I don't play fantasy football. Reality for the Philadelphia Eagles is pretty unreal.

Ted Williams lives in Emmaus, PA and is a lifetime Eagles follower. He spent 20 years in print journalism, winning state and national awards.

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