Chip Kelly made official what was already known by virtually everyone in the NFL universe on Monday morning: the Philadelphia Eagles starters, including quarterback Michael Vick, will not play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the New York Jets.
Nick Foles gets his second start of the preseason, but it will be rookie Matt Barkley who takes a majority of the snaps on Thursday night. Foles, of course, lost his bid to start under center on opening night against the Washington Redskins last week, and Barkley is the team’s fourth-round draft choice who may or may not figure into the Eagles’ future plans.
Vick being elevated to the starting quarterback position over Foles has fueled speculation that the Eagles should deal the second-year Arizona product, which would simply be misguided.
While Foles’ performance this season was far from perfect, he has shown the ability to move Kelly’s high-octane offense at a rate that has arguably been more effective and consistent than Vick’s. Through three preseason games, Foles has completed 21 of 25 passes for 208 yards, one interception and one rushing touchdown. Foles also has a 99-yard scoring drive on his preseason resume.
Sure, Foles could start for the Buffalo Bills and a slew of other teams across the league, but that is precisely why trading him is a terrible idea.
Quarterback is unquestionably the most important position in the sport and with Vick at the helm, the Eagles have a signal caller that has only finished one 16-game season without missing a game due to injury. It isn’t a matter of if Vick will get hurt, but likely when.
Besides, Vick is 33-years old and in the final year of a contract, which means there is very little job security for the 12-year veteran and a lack of clarity without Foles about the position moving forward.
Foles is in year two, and is leaps and bounds ahead of Barkley in almost every facet of the game. Leaving the rookie as the next option if Vick goes down or is ineffective could prove to be a recipe for disaster in Kelly’s first season as an NFL head coach.
Many pundits question whether or not Foles can be a franchise quarterback but given the uncertainty at the position, the Austin, Texas native deserves the opportunity to prove himself worthy or not of carrying that mantle.
Foles will start against the Jets to close out the preseason and given Vick’s struggles with injury, not to mention propensity for turning the ball over (33 total turnovers in his last 23 starts), it could be a matter of time before he starts a regular season game for the Eagles this season.
The Eagles and Jets square off on Thursday night at Metlife Stadium.
Looking to make the trip up north and see Foles start at Metlife Stadium? You can grab Philadelphia Eagles tickets here for every game this season. Tickets are available for as low as $10 for Thursday night’s game.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.