They say the backup quarterback is usually the fan favorite on a team whose offense is not performing up to expectations. Normally, this phenomenon comes to a head when the incumbent quarterback has to step aside due to injury. Even then, the backup has to step in and take full advantage of his opportunity. That is what he has been dreaming about — the moment he realized he would not be the starter.
In the case of Philadelphia Eagles backup QB Nick Foles, that realization was thrust upon him during preseason. That is when he was told he had lost out against incumbent Michael Vick after a hotly-contested and well-publicized preseason duel.
Though the Eagles’ offense had sputtered some during their Vick-led 2-3 start, the QB was not to blame for that mediocrity. But the pro-Foles lobbyists did not care whose fault it was as they ramped up their calls for Vick to be supplanted. That said, it’s hard to pull a guy with a 90 passer rating and who had only thrown two interceptions in five games. I mean, while those aren’t Peyton Manning numbers, they are not Chris Ponder-esque either.
When Foles stepped in after Vick injured his hamstring early in the Eagles’ victory against the New York Giants you could already hear whispers of Mike’s demise begin to rise.
On Sunday, Foles stepped in and played as close to lights-out football as I have ever seen him play with 296 yards and three touchdowns against the clueless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also rushed for a score. Those in the Foles camp are saying he dissected a good Tampa Bay defense that is currently ranked 10th overall in the NFL and has earned a the right to start against the rival Dallas Cowboys next week.
I think they need to hold their proverbial horses. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly joked that Foles would need to throw 72 touchdowns to win the starting spot, and some in the league feel a non-struggling starter has earned the right not to lose his job because of injury — I agree with both assessments.
Though Foles demonstrated his ability to stand in the pocket and throw the deep strike on several occasions against the Bucs, Vick still has considerable “it” factor due to his ability to break contain. He was averaging 61 rushing yards per game to go along with 237 passing yards prior to his injury. The passing yards per game average was greatly affected by him being absent from the second half of the victory over the Giants.
Be that as it may, the naysayer parade is already marching down Broad Street. Once again, I would kindly advise them to pump their breaks.
Yes, Foles did look good, but it was against one of the worse teams in the NFL. Surely, they can’t be that thirsty to sip the Foles-flavored Kool Aid? Foles was sacked six times against Tampa Bay. While that’s not exactly his fault, I would prefer a quarterback who can avoid danger when the offensive line breaks down.
The only time Michael looked rattled this season was against the Kansas City Chiefs in which he was brought down five times — and everybody is looking rattled against their best-in-NFL defensive front. Look, I know the NFL stands for Not For Long, but I would implore fans to at least wait a couple games before crowning Foles as the best thing in Philly since Geno’s Cheese Steaks.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance writer for RantSports based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.