NFL Rumors: Did Nick Foles Take the Lead Over Mike Kafka in the Philadelphia Eagles' Backup QB Competition?

By Bryn Swartz

The backup quarterback position is one of the biggest question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.

After all, Michael Vick is very injury-prone and if he misses time in 2012, like he did in both 2010 and 2011, the Eagles will need a capable backup quarterback to lead the team for a couple of games.

That’s where Mike Kafka comes in. The Eagles’ fourth round draft pick in 2010 has all but wrapped up the backup quarterback spot for the Eagles. At least that’s what everybody though, when they watched the first couple of weeks of training camp.

And then came the real action.

In the Eagles’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Kafka turned in an embarrassing performance, completing 5 of 9 passes for 31 yards and an interception.

The interception came on a 52-yard return by defensive end Al Woods, meaning that Kafka threw for more yards to the opposing team than to his own team. Only a touchdown-saving tackle by running back Bryce Brown prevented the Steelers from taking a 17-0 lead.

Oh, and if you didn’t watch the game, the play was as bad as it gets. Kafka somehow never saw the 6’4, 290-pound Woods, throwing the ball directly to him.

Kafka’s performance came to end at halftime, with the Eagles trailing 13-0.

Then rookie quarterback Nick Foles made his NFL preseason debut. And what a memorable debut it was.

Foles completed 6 of 10 passes for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns, easily the most memorable preseason debut by an Eagles’ quarterback in the Andy Reid era.

Foles’s two touchdowns came on a 70-yard deep pass to rookie wide receiver Damaris Johnson, and a 44-yard deep ball down the sideline to former St. Louis Rams castoff Mardy Gilyard. The touchdown passes also came on consecutive plays.

It was just one game, in fact just one quarter for each quarterback, but it opened up the debate for the backup quarterback position with the Eagles.

Oh, and let’s not forget that veteran Trent Edwards marched the Eagles down the field in the final two minutes, culminating in a game-winning 51-yard field goal by kicker Alex Henery with just 12 seconds remaining. Edwards completed 12 of 20 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, a pretty impressive performance for a quarterback who is not being given much of a chance, if any, to make the team.

Following the game, head coach Andy Reid did something that surprised me and a portion of the fan base. He opened up the backup quarterback competition, just a few weeks after declaring that Kafka was the backup quarterback.

“Everything’s open,” Reid said. “I keep it wide open at all positions. Whoever’s playing the best is going to play. Keep it nice and simple that way.”

In other words, Reid admitted that Kafka sucked and he is not comfortable with the 24-year old as his backup. At least that’s how I look at it because that’s what happened.

I’m starting to think that Reid may do something drastic at quarterback. I still don’t think that Edwards makes the team. He’s as good as gone. Foles is a lock; it’s just a matter of whether he plays as the backup or the third-stringer.

But you have to wonder if the same head coach who benched Donovan McNabb in 2010 and signed Vick in 2009 and benched Kevin Kolb in 2010 will do something big soon. Whether that involves bringing back McNabb as a backup or trading for Cleveland Browns backup Colt McCoy, who is not happy with his role as the team’s backup, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see something happen.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.

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