Tomorrow afternoon Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will play in his final game of the 2013-2014 season. Win or lose, the Philadelphia Eagles will still not have the coveted Lombardi Trophy that they’ve missed out on in the past 47 attempts. Despite that dose of negativity, the Eagles have established continuity in a position of uncertainty over the past couple of years. While Michael Vick provided excitement, longevity was neither a realistic nor a sustainable option.
Trading former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2010 left them void of a starting quarterback for the first time in ten seasons. What is interesting to note is that the Eagles over the past 35 years have been one of the most consistent franchises in terms of an opening day quarterback in the NFL. Despite his injuries during the season, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham was routinely the starting quarterback week one. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski held down the helm prior to Cunningham for nearly a decade. Despite the names of Bubby Brister, Doug Pederson, and both the Detmer brothers, the Eagles have been fortunate enough to have some good quarterbacks grace us with their presence over the past 30 years. The most recent starting quarterback, Nick Foles, has arguably been the most impressive in such a short amount of time.
There were six quarterbacks taken ahead of Nick Foles in the 2012 NFL rookie draft. Three of those aforementioned six have played in a combined eight playoff games, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson about to embark on the first Super Bowl appearance amongst this particular draft class. However Wilson (no Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Flynn remarks please), along with Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, all were put into the starting role instantaneously whereas Foles has never been given the opportunity to have a full off-season as the starting quarterback. Russell Wilson has started in twice as many regular season games as Foles, however the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has already accounted for over 81% of Wilson’s total all-purpose yards (passing and rushing yards combined). In half the regular season starts as poster boy Andrew Luck, Nick Foles has thrown 27 touchdowns along with two interceptions while Luck has 46 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. In a predominantly pass heavy NFL, ball control and limiting turnovers is critical towards success in December, January, and ideally February. Regardless of the fact that Andrew Luck was able to lead his Colts past the Wild Card Weekend, the simple fact remains that his turnovers hindered his team’s ability to win when it counted. Nick Foles did not turn the football over, albeit he did throw some suspect jump balls that the Eagles receiving corps bailed him out on. Continuity, which might be affected by Philadelphia Eagle quarterback coach Bill Lazor’s departure, and confidence will be among the contributing factors towards getting the Eagles, and Foles, wins in the post season. Despite the individual statistics, Andrew Luck (1) and Russell Wilson (3) both have advanced in the post season while Foles and the Eagles are still looking for their first playoff win since January 11th, 2008.
I’ve long been a believer that opportunity breeds success, and in order to fully maximize that notion the Eagles have needed to hand the reigns over to Foles at the outset of mini-camps. With the Chip Kelly regime about to enter its 2nd off-season, there is no doubt about who the starting quarterback is for the Philadelphia Eagles. The opportunity is there for the 3rd year quarterback. Success is purely contingent upon whether Foles can continue to develop as expectations steadily increase.
The only doubt pertaining to Nick Foles lies solely with those that associate him as the next Kevin Kolb or amongst those that don’t believe this offense can sustain the productivity of the 2013 season (Heath Evans). For the rest of us, let’s enjoy one more moment in the sun tomorrow with Nick Foles at quarterback…because while tomorrow will be the first Pro Bowl that Nick participates in, we all can only hope that any future Pro Bowl invitations are respectfully denied so he can prepare for the following week.