As a die-hard Eagles fan, I am heavily invested in just how well Nick Foles is going to look as the team's new starter against the Redskins. It seemed like it took forever for the team to finally rule out Michael Vick after he suffered a "significant" concussion against the Cowboys, but everyone pretty much knew Foles would be the guy. The big question on everyone's minds now is will Foles be the next quarterback Andy Reid can build up from nothing, much like he did with the likes of AJ Feeley and Koy Detmer. Or will he turn into another one of many bad decisions Reid has made in his career as both head coach and general manager? Vince Young? Really?
When Vick was forced from last week's game against Dallas, we did get a small glimpse of what Foles can do, going 22-of-32 passing for 219 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The numbers may have looked good on paper, but Foles debut was anything but spectacular. He threw a pick-six to Brandon Carr and was stripped of the ball on a sack in the endzone. Two defensive scores for a Cowboys team that has been up and down on both sides of the ball this year. I won't fault Foles, however, for his mediocre play. Not having practiced with the first-string offense at all this year, it's hard to gain any sort of rhythm, even when you have guys like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek at your disposal. Not everyone can be a Joe Flacco or a Ben Roethlisberger right out of the gate.
Even though the Eagles have one of the easiest schedules going forward, it's hard for me to see Foles and company running the gauntlet and getting to the playoffs, even in a weak NFC East. The defense looks like they simply don't care anymore, even after Juan Castillo was fired, and the offensive line has been steadily declining after Jason Peters injured his Achilles twice before Summer. Ever since then, it's been patchwork after patchwork. The last straw came against the Saints, a game that was supposed to be the beginning of an Eagles comeback, but wound up being a blowout. Not only did the team lose, but it also lost it's best offensive lineman in Todd Herremans, who was knocked out for the year with an ankle injury. This won't help Foles, who may have better pocket presence than Vick, but doesn't have the wheels to make a broken play happen with his legs. But thinking about it, did Vick?
As for Foles fantasy value? That remains to be seen. The Eagles have some of the best weapons in the league, but it's going to be hard to get them the ball if Foles is running for his life. Foles looked better-than-expected in the preseason, completing 63.5% of his passes for 553 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but that was against second-and-third string defenses. It's a whole different ball game when you have London Fletcher gunning for you at 50-60 miles an hour. The Redskins give up a little over 25 fantasy points a game to quarterbacks, so Foles has that on his side. He is obviously not a QB1. But if the team's new makeshift offensive line can give him a little bit of time, he could inch his way up from a low-end QB2. Foles may have been drafted later than other quarterbacks, but he has all the tools needed to successfully run Reid's West Coast offense. That increase in value has a very big IF connected to it.
To sum things up:
Week 11 marks Andy Reid's journey to get back in the good graces with not only owner Jeffrey Lurie, but with Philly fans who have been calling for his resignation for years now. Foles will either be his ticket for another year, or he could be just another reason Reid won't be in Philly for 2013.