The Philadelphia Eagles were supposed to be the team to beat in the NFC East this year. Gurus had them finishing ahead of the Superbowl Champion New York Giants. Vegas odds makers gave them a 12:1 shot of walking away with the Lombardi Trophy.
Now, after losing three games in a row, there’s a lot of rumbling going on in the City of Brotherly Love. Is Andy Reid distracted because of his son’s death in the off season? Is the offensive line really that bad? And what about QB sensation and rehabilitated dog fight ringleader Michael Vick? Will he be benched?
Not this week, anyway. Reid and his cohorts are starting Vick again in Week Nine, even after dropping three straight games to fall below .500 and settle in at 3-4. Reid, before last week, was 13-0 coming off a bye.
Who would replace Vick in that crucial position, and can anyone help pick this team up out of the dirt?
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The answer to that last question is Nick Foles, a rookie and Eagles’ third pick, 88th overall. Foles is a young prospect from Austin, TX. He set records at his Westlake HS for total yards in a season (5,658) and passing TDs (56), breaking records held by none other than QB and Superbowl MVP Drew Brees. He began his college career at Michigan State, but after his red shirt freshman year, he transferred to the University of Arizona’s Wildcats. There, he put up some impressive numbers: in his three years starting as QB in Arizona, he had efficiency ratings of 125 (’09), 141 (’10) and 145 (’11) and threw for over 10,000 yards. While red shirting at MSU, Foles spent time with the scouting team, where he earned the Scout Team’s Player of the Year award.
Foles is no stranger to the game.
There are other distractions for the Eagles when it comes to Michael Vick. He has 8 INTs to his 9 TDs. He has fumbled the ball nine times, leading the league in turnovers with 17. SEVENTEEN! And while he has thrown a respectable average of 260 yards per game, he has been sacked 20 times. What’s more, those yards are not translating into points. Even with an average 100 ypg rushing, the Eagles are in the basement with 17 points per game, which is on par with the always woeful KC Chiefs. That’s one place above the dead-last Jacksonville Jaguars.
Only 260 passing yards and a hundred rushing? That’s no way to treat 360 yards per game.
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Now the dissent has found its way into the locker room. It’s been widely reported throughout the media that fellow teammate and wide receiver DeSean Jackson declared on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” that Vick is not “as comfortable as he usually is.” Jackson claims that while other teams have adjusted their game to keep Vick’s rushing to a minimum, Vick hasn’t adapted. Come on, Mike, that’s your boy. That’s your receiver. He saying that is like ripping off your right arm and slapping yourself with it.
Who knows what will happen on Monday night? Reid may shock the football world and start Foles. He deserves the chance. Vick may come in to a coachless Superdome and throw for 400 yards and five TDs, quieting all the naysayers. But whatever happens, one thing is certain: It’s happening before a national audience.