Reviewing the quarterback woes for the NFL this season, we now turn our attention to the Philadelphia Eagles. At 3-4, the Eagles are not at their best this season, and repeated injuries to quarterback Michael Vick and now to back up Nick Foles creates a recipe of uncertainty at this key offensive position.
After opening the season with a win against the Washington Redskins (33-27) the Eagles proceeded to lose three games in a row against the Chargers (33-30), the Chiefs (26-16), and the Broncos (52-20). Vick is not as mobile as he once was, but he is an elusive quarterback who forced defensive coordinators to rewrite their playbooks to factor in his ability to run as well as he passes.
Vick has completed 71 of 132 passes for 1185 yards, averaging 9 yards per pass. He has five touchdowns and only two interceptions. Vick has endured 14 sacks for a loss of 87 yards, and holds a QBR of 90.6. On rushing, he has gained 307 yards on 33 carries averaging 9.3 yards per carry. He has scored two rushing touchdowns this year.
In contrast, Foles has completed 52 of only 90 passes for 622 yards at 6.9 yards per pass. He has six touchdowns and no interceptions. Sacked five times, Foles only lost 27 yards and holds a QBR of 101.3. On rushes, Foles does not compare to Vick. He has only nine carries for 28 yards, 3.1 yards per carry and gained one rushing touchdown.
Vick won the starting job during preseason and coach Chip Kelly wanted him secure in that position. Unfortunately, the hamstring injury against the New York Giants took Vick out of the game late in the second quarter. After medical staff worked on him on the sidelines, Vick went out for the Eagles’ next possession but had to make a dash out of the pocket with Jason Pierre-Paul in pursuit. Kelly noticed Vick was not moving as well as he should. “He didn’t have that step to get out of the way,” so Foles took over.
Foles took the Eagles’ offense down field to end the second quarter with a field goal, and then threw two fourth quarter touchdowns to beat the Giants. Vick aggravated the hamstring in Week 5, but was listed as active in an emergency capacity in Week 6. As of Week 7, Foles was the clear starter, as Vick’s troublesome hamstring was not yet up to par.
During the game against the Dallas Cowboys, Foles’ previous play was off. Contrary to reports, Kelly said Foles’ groin injury was not troubling him during that game, but he did notice he took a kick to the knee that may have contributed to his poor performance. Foles completed just 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards. He threw no interceptions, but the Cowboys’ defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone for the entire game and held their offense to just 278 yards on 75 plays.
After a joint sack by Dallas defensive ends George Selvie and Jarius Wynn left Foles with a head injury, backup Matt Barkley finished up the fourth quarter with three interceptions. Considering this was Barkley’s very first action in the NFL, he did not seem to be a viable option to start against the Giants in Week 8. Vick has maintained optimism about his scheduled return, but would not give a definitive answer.
As of Saturday, PhiladelphiaEagles.com lists him as probable so Vick should start Sunday as the Giants come to town. The biggest question for Coach Kelly is: Can Vick get healthy and stay that way? With Foles yet to be cleared from his concussion, Barkley is in the backup slot. Should Vick’s hamstring continue to be an issue, the rookie may get a chance to improve upon his inglorious debut against Dallas.
Despite Vick’s expected return this Sunday, the Eagles’ quarterback shuffle continues. Vick’s running ability makes him a target few defensive players can resist. He has to protect himself better, and make prudent decisions when on the run. Without him, the Eagles can win, but can they continue to do so with so much uncertainty at the quarterback position?
By: Brandi Tasby