The Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback, Mark Sanchez, has had a very good preseason through the first three weeks. He is thriving in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. So naturally, just like when any other backup quarterback in the league plays well, there have been trade rumors. But the Eagles would be absolutely foolish to let Sanchez go to another team.
One reason they would be foolish for dealing him is because that would leave Matt Barkley as their primary backup. Barkley has been anything but impressive so far as a pro. It’s really hard to feel comfortable at the quarterback position knowing that if starter Nick Foles goes down, you’ll be left with Barkley leading your offense.
The bigger reason for not trading Sanchez is because Foles still hasn’t really proven anything yet. Of course, he had a great season last year statistically, but he won’t have that kind of season again. The main thing to look at for last season is who he played against. According to PFF’s pass-coverage grades, Foles played the 18th, 20th (played that team twice), 32nd, 19th, 28th, 3rd, 10th, 31st and 24th ranked pass defenses in the NFL. Not exactly a murderers row. Against the two best pass defenses, Foles’ PFF grade was -2.3 and -3.3. To give some perspective on those grades, Kellon Clemens had a -2.4 PFF grade last season and Robert Griffin III had a -3.4 grade. Neither quarterback had a good season in 2013 by anyone’s standards.
So in the two games Foles played a pass defense ranked in the top 10, he didn’t play very well at all. How does that translate into 2014? Well, in 2014 he’ll play the first, second, third, sixth, ninth, 11th (twice) and 15th ranked pass defenses. That’s half of his season right there. He must improve his performance against the premiere pass defenses because half of the Eagles’ season is against pass defenses in the top 15 of the league.
If Foles plays in 2014 the way he did in 2013 against legitimate secondaries, it won’t be a good year for the Eagles. If he plays bad enough, Kelly could make the switch to Sanchez before it goes too far downhill for Foles. However, if Sanchez is traded, I don’t see any way besides injury that Kelly yanks Foles and puts Barkley in.
But injuries are another concern. In the NFL, with the defensive players being as big as they are and moving as fast as they move, anyone can get injured at any time. It’s a very real possibility. Any good team wants to be built so no one injury can derail their entire season. If the Eagles deal Sanchez, their whole season would be lost with Barkley under center. While Sanchez caught a lot of flack in his last few years with the New York Jets, he still led them to multiple AFC championship games and won his fair share of games in the league. He is a very suitable backup and the Eagles would be foolish to get rid of him.