Throughout the 2013 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles have undergone a plethora of changes at quarterback, as both Michael Vick and Nick Foles have both dealt with injury and performance issues at various times. This flip-flopping at the most important position on the field has made it extremely difficult to implement rookie coach Chip Kelly‘s fast-paced offense, and left him yielding the starting gig to Vick almost out of default.
But after watching the Eagles play spectacularly in both Week 9 and Week 10, it is utterly apparent that the starting quarterback job is now Foles’ to lose, even if Kelly is not quite willing to admit it yet. Over these two weeks, Philadelphia has picked up two consecutive wins by a combined score of 76-33 over the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, with Foles leading the way in magnificent fashion. These two games have brought the Eagles’ record to 5-5, moving them into the thick of the race for the playoffs and bringing a sense of stability to the fast paced offense that Kelly brings to the table.
During these two games, Foles has thrown for 634 yards, 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions, while showing that a running quarterback is not needed to properly operate Kelly’s offense. Instead, the quarterback has relied on stunning accuracy — he has compiled a 73.9 percent completion percentage — and moved the team from a run first side to one that prefers to pass the ball.
This has been a far cry from the time that Vick was behind center, as his 54.6 percent completion percentage made any continuity throwing the ball hard to find, in turn stopping many drives before they even got started. It also allowed teams to pressure the quarterback and force him to run the ball, making it much easier to stop the team’s running backs as opposing defenses were already in the Eagles backfield.
Having a guy that can actually throw the ball with some accuracy down the field has turned DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper into genuine threats for the Eagles, in turn spreading out the field and opening up space for other weapons. In Week 10, this turned into huge space for LeSean McCoy and company, as Philadelphia rushed for 204 yards against a Green Bay defense that let up an average of 94.5 yards on the ground previously.
With Vick due to return within the next two weeks, there is no doubting that pressure will be put on Kelly from many to restore Foles to his previous role of backup quarterback. And while it would be an easy cop-out to play Vick with the excuse that a starter cannot be dropped due to injury, this is simply not right for the Eagles’ players, fans or coaches.
In the end, winning football games is what matters most to each of these groups, which will leave Kelly no other option than to implement Foles as his starting quarterback for the remainder of 2013.