One of those things is going to happen. Vick is certainly leaving, but Mariota is staying at Oregon for another season. Nick Foles as emerged as the guy here in Philadelphia. There is a glimmer of hope in Philadelphia fans having peace of mind in knowing who is going to be their quarterback each and every week. It's a luxury that some fans, New England for example, probably take for granted. IT'S HARD PEOPLE. If it were up to me, Nick is my guy. I'm not going to do something crazy like trade him away for the rights to another draft pick who I'll use on Johnny Manziel.
Three Eagles Quarterbacks took the field in 2013. Two will be back in 2014. One is going to lead us to the promised land.
Nick Foles - A+
When the final kick from Shayne Graham went through the uprights and Al Michaels sent the dagger through your heart and Cris Collinsworth jumped for joy off camera like a girl scout who just made a sale, you couldn't help but feel for Nick Foles. He did everything you could ask for this season, only to come up short. When people tell you that you are going to have a losing record and miss the playoffs, but then your back up quarterback shows that he can be an elite(using this term loosely) caliber quarterback leading this team to its first division championship in years under a first year head coach whose offense wasn't supposed to work in the NFL, then that's a pretty special year.
The game that will mark the season will be the playoff loss to the Saints, but the game that will define Nick Foles' 2013 is his 7 touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders. Tying the league record and shocking everybody really put the Eagles in the drivers seat for the rest of the season. If a back up QB can do that under the direction of Chip Kelly, then maybe the Eagles are better than the laughing stock all the "experts" predicted them to be.
Foles' 27 touchdown passes were the most by any Eagles QB playing only 13 games, and tied him with Jaworski in 1980 who had 27 in a full season. Foles also set the single game completion percentage record against Chicago going 21-25 (84%). But in my opinion the most important stat was Foles' INT% which was an all time Eagles low at 0.63%. Not turning the ball over as frequently as the Eagles did in previous seasons under Andy Reid was a large improvement under their new coach.
The question now is does Chip go forward with Foles as his franchise quarterback. If it were up to me, I would have to go with Foles. It's impossible to argue with results. Another year learning the system, perfecting the read option with LeSean McCoy, this team is going to be very dangerous. Foles should be the guy next year. He had a great 2013 when he wasn't even the opening night quarterback in DC. The city of Philadelphia has fully embraced Foles as their quarterback going forward. If Foles wants to continue to be held in the same breath as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning (top 4 passer ratings/season record holders along with Foles), he has to be able to carry the team on his back. Sounds cliche but it's not. If Shady, god forbid, gets injured, or is having a off day running the ball, or the defense is opening up for the other team to score, can Foles be the guy to take control and win no matter the circumstances. That is what it takes to have the ultimate job security as a quarterback in the NFL.
Michael Vick - C+
Michael Vick played in 7 games, but only threw a pass in 6. He was injured in both of the Eagles' games against the Giants. Nick Foles took over in the Meadowlands and Matt Barkley took over in Philadelphia. Vick was actually supposed to be the guy to take over and thrive in Chip Kelly's offense. He did, but that was short lived.
In the opening Monday night game against the Redskins in DC, the Eagles opened up the season by hitting the Redskins right in the mouth. It was beautiful. ESPN the Magazine predicted that the Eagles would be shut out against the 'Skins, but Chip Kelly had a national stage to show what he has done with the Eagles and he stepped up to the pressure. Vick was a key element in that game, running the read option with LeSean McCoy showing RG3 just exactly how it's done. The Redskins had no answer for the birds until the 2nd half, when it seemed that Chip Kelly took his foot off the gas. If it wasn't for Vick opening up the year like that, I don't think the Eagles would have had the season they did.
Now Vick is likely moving on. His contract is up and he is looking to remain a starter somewhere. I'm sure he can get a job, and it is bittersweet that his time here in Philly is up. He was a great quarterback here and certainly left his mark on this city. With all legal issues behind him, I feel as if Vick will be able to thrive in a new city, but his past will surely be brought up again since he will be somewhere new. Best of luck, 7.
Matt Barkley - D+
It can only get better right? In Matt Barkley's rookie year, it was the ultimate trial by fire. And he got burned. To be fair to Matt, he wasn't expecting to play at all this year, but he had to. Filling in for both injured Nick Foles and Michael Vick against hated division rivals was a ton of pressure for the rookie. He handled it...okay. Going forward he will be a good back up, being able to work more closely with Chip Kelly and learning this new offense.
Watching him this year, he looked like an inexperienced rookie. But that's exactly what he is and I'm not going to fault him for that. It's a bad grade, because he certainly played poorly, but hey, it's not like it ruined our season. He will improve. He was an excellent college quarterback at USC who's skill set moving into the pro game should be an easy transition. Give him time, and he will improve as the back up to Foles.
Next up: Running Backs
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