How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Embrace Nick Foles

The Eagles will turn to Nick Foles to replace the injured Michael VickMichael Vick‘s days in Philadelphia are numbered.

I know it. He knows it. The Eagles locker room knows it. Hell, even that cute hostess at Johnny Rockets who just moved here from Decatur and who claims to not be much of a football fan knows it. Everyone knows it.

Yes, he is still on the Eagles roster. And yes, he has a contract that stipulates he will be with the Eagles for years to come. But the writing has been on the wall for some time now.

After two disappointing seasons with Vick at the helm (this current one all but over), it’s a foregone conclusion that the Eagles will exercise the opt-out clause they cleverly inserted into Vick’s contract when they extended him after this season reaches its finale. That clause was a contingency plan–a safety net for this very scenario. Now it has come to fruition.

On Sunday, what was already an inevitably was expedited into reality when Vick suffered a concussion that will likely keep him out of action for several weeks. When he is healthy enough to resume play, the likelihood of Vick returning to the starting quarterback position is pretty much slim and none, and slim just grabbed its coat to make an exit.

Nick Foles will make every start for the rest of this season and he should. Seeing myself write that last sentence is almost surreal. But I whole-heartedly believe it. I never saw that coming.

I should explain:

For the better part of this season, I have been one of Foles’s biggest detractors. While I was impressed by what he did in the preseason, I firmly believed that there was no way Foles was ready to replicate that performance in the regular season, against, you know, actual starting defenses, with exotic looks that are a fair cry from the vanilla soft-serve NFL teams employ before the games count. I thought it went against all means of reasonable cognizance to hand an unproven rookie the keys to an offense that A) has an offensive line that resembles a fine Swiss cheese and B) has vastly underperformed with a more experienced, more skilled passer in Vick calling the signals. Suggesting Foles should play seemed to go against every football-related instinct I had ever felt. I believed this, and I believed it firmly.

That was until about 6:00 Sunday evening. It was at that time that #7 went down concussed. As he wearily made his way to the Eagles locker room–his prognosis already not looking good–the Fox broadcast showed shots of Foles warming his right arm on the sidelines.

Do you know what happened then? For the first time in a few apathetic weeks, I actually felt something watching an Eagles game. As Foles warmed, so did the excitement inside me. It was an unexpected sensation.

At first, I wasn’t certain as to why I had been overcome with a stir and why my interest in the game had heightened. Then it dawned on me: it was the change. For the first time in weeks, there was something new–no matter how bad it might, and in all probability, will be–to watch about this team. I was more intrigued by the prospect of seeing how Foles responded to his first taste of real NFL action than I was by the prospect of watching the Eagles try to win a football game. Sure, I didn’t want them to lose. But I expected them to.

I think that says a lot about this season and how far it has fallen. It is no longer about winning football games because this team is not making the playoffs. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Now it’s about the future. A future that doesn’t contain Michael Vick. That means this team will need a quarterback next season. Even though Andy Reid‘s ticket out of town has seemingly been punched, he owes it to Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie to play Foles. That way, the brain trust that figures to guide the Eagles into the future can evaluate him and decide whether they believe he has enough to be penciled in as the starter next season or if they need to draft a quarterback this April.

Reid also owes it to them to run a more balanced, west coast-oriented offense, one that more closely resembles the offense Foles could be running next season under a different head coach, should he retain the starting job. That’s something I believe Reid will do. If not for his bosses, then because he is still operating under the delusion that he’ll be the head coach next season and he needs to protect his young, potentially starting quarterback behind the aforementioned Swiss cheese line.

And that’s really all there is to it. Nick Foles, time’s yours.

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Ryan Dinger

Along with The High Phive, Ryan also writes for Phillies Nation and The Grapevine. While his sports expertise lie with the Phillies and the Eagles, he is a diehard fan and avid analyst of all five major Philadelphia sports teams. Follow Ryan on twitter @Ryanfromjersey.