All Not Lost in Foles Debacle
The Eagles didn’t hire Chip Kelly to replicate the Andy Reid era.
Kelly was an obvious risk. That’s why he was – and still is – debated every day and every week as we all try to decipher whether he can be successful in the NFL.
This team isn’t trying to become good. In retrospect, the Reid era was good. There were a lot of positive times but it was ultimately unsatisfying.
If the Eagles wanted a coach that can take a bad team and make it good, there were safer options to accomplish that.
Success to this team means Super Bowl.
Because the first few weeks of the season have been solid and the division is unthinkably weak, the goals of this season have drastically changed. Instead of just hoping Kelly looked like a real NFL coach, the division now seems like it’s in play.
But should that be the goal? Even if this team wins the division, it’s not a Super Bowl team. This season is still an evaluation year and a rebuilding step to what should be more successful seasons in the future.
Whether talking about the defense or his team’s offense, Kelly has often talked about this being a process. This season, above all else, is about setting up future seasons when this team could conceivably be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
That’s why Sunday’s debacle against the Cowboys might have been the best thing to happen to this team this season.
Michael Vick isn’t a Super Bowl quarterback. He has 126 games of evidence showing glaring weaknesses that have not improved and, considering he’s 33, probably won’t, like his poor completion percentage and inability to make smart, quick decisions.
The good parts of his game occasionally outweigh the bad. Vick’s natural athleticism is a perfect fit for the way Kelly built his offense for this season (around Vick) and what he did at Oregon. The type of quarterback Vick is would be a perfect fit for this offense, but Vick has too many problems in his game, not to mention his health and age, to make him a long-term solution.
For this season, Vick is a better option than Nick Foles.
After a shaky rookie season, Foles looked phenomenal in a game and a half against the Giants and Bucs. Despite his lack of mobility, the running game showed signs of life in the option game that has been so vital to Kelly’s attack. For a team that has had so much talk of the quarterback of the future, Foles’ play prior to Sunday was at a level where one could dream that he could develop into that guy.
Sunday was more of a nightmare. The weaknesses from Foles’ game, which hadn’t showed up since last season, came back and the offense overall struggled.
We learned that the offense might need a mobile quarterback, that Foles probably isn’t good enough.
That’s why Sunday was so important. We learned something. This team won’t win a Super Bowl and probably won’t win a playoff game no matter who the quarterback is.
Playing Foles is collecting data. In some ways, it shows what assets are necessary in Kelly’s offense and gives more concrete information as this organization moves forward.
Foles probably won’t be a part of whatever this team becomes, but we’re sure Vick won’t be. Foles is still young enough where it’s worth finding out exactly how much value he has to this team. I don’t think it would be crazy to give Foles a few more starts this season to see whether he’s the quarterback from the Dallas game or the one who sliced up the Giants and Bucs.
In reality, the quarterback this franchise will rely on is probably still in college. But now is the time to find out what type of player can take this team where it wants to go. Foles missed some passes and the team played poorly, but was it a style issue or one that is more specific to Foles individually? That’s a question this team needs to answer throughout the remainder of the season, and Foles probably answers more questions and gives more clarity as to what this team needs than Vick.
Playing Vick gives the Eagles a better chance to be good in the present. We know enough about him to think that the offense will be solid enough to carry this team to a respectable record.
But Foles took the Eagles out of a comfort zone. Sunday’s game showed us a lot about Foles, and maybe even a little bit about the offense. It wasn’t good, but in the long term, that’s not important. That knowledge could eventually contribute to the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl.
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