By Kevin McGuire
Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur doesn’t like to make predictions. In the preseason he tried to refrain from prognosticating just what kind of season the Eagles would get out of Nick Foles.
“We knew he was a fine player, and we knew all along that if he got in the game he’d have a chance to be successful, and he’s done it,” Shurmur told Media Tuesday. “It’s a credit to his training, and then he puts it to good use when he gets in the game.”
Foles will get his third straight start this weekend when the Eagles host the Washington Redskins. In his last two starts Foles has tossed 10 touchdowns and has not thrown an interception and the Eagles hope he can continue that kind of efficiency in the latest attempt to snap a home losing streak that dates back to September 2012.
“I think Nick’s really, really smart with the football,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Monday. “Very rarely do you see Nick throw a ball where all of a sudden it’s tipped, you know, when it’s almost intercepted.”
As the Eagles have battled back to even their record of wins and losses, the discussion on what to do with the quarterback situation has evolved from locking in on a top 2014 NFL Draft prospect – Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel etc. – to the idea that the team can realistically move forward with Foles leading the offense. Much of the decision-making for the offseason plans will be determined by what Foles does for the rest of this season. And no, Mike Vick is no longer an option worth evaluating unless Foles happens to get injured. Foles is and should be the team’s starting quarterback the rest of the year unless forced to stay off the field for whatever reason.
Foles is only in his second season but is coming up on his first full year in on-field experience worth reviewing. There have been a number of positives about Foles as a quarterback that deserve recognition. Foles does protect the football well. His arm strength may not always be there, but he tends to put the football in position to be caught more often than not. He is not asked to run but when nothing is available in the open field, he picks his spot and he is not afraid to take off and pick up a few yards. He will not beat anybody with his speed, but he is capable of taking advantage of room to work with.
Is Foles the kind of player a franchise can build around? Probably not, but if he continues to play the way he has he can be a guy who can fill the job until a better option comes along. With the Eagles winning games and moving down in the draft order, the next best option may not be available in the 2014 NFL Draft. Instead, the Eagles could be in position to take advantage of the draft to fill other holes and add depth at other positions.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.