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NFL Unfiltered Week 6: Is Nick Foles fool-es gold?

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The call for Nick Foles to permanently supplant Michael Vick as the Eagles starting quarterback is in earnest. Talk shows are buzzing, scribes are questioning their football acumen, and those still fretting Vick’s dog fighting scandal, are delighted.  

However, Foles is not the long term solution. He isn’t Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick.  He is merely a stopgap: a middle of the road talent playing good football.  He’s steady and appears to have good command of the offense, but Chip Kelly’s true opinion of him is already known. If Kelly really saw Foles as the future, wouldn’t he have already earned the nod?Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

Go back to February, when shortly after his hiring, Kelly described the quarterback position as “an open competition.”  

Further, he stated, “Michael knows that.  Nick knows that.  Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing.  I specifically wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans.  I think both of them have outstanding qualities as far as being quarterbacks in this league.  Both of them have started in this league.  I also know in this league, you better have two.  I’m excited about the two of them.  They’re both going to compete.  Who the starting quarterback is will be won on the practice field.”  

Once those practices began in spring, we heard Foles adapted quicker than Vick. Even throughout training camp and the exhibition season, Foles supposedly ran the offense better and more rhythmically than Vick.  In fact, for much of August it appeared Foles had won the job.  Then suddenly, he didn’t.  Did the experts who followed the Eagles’ daily practices misrepresent what actually happened?   

More likely, Kelly realized that despite Foles’ stewardship, he has a ceiling, and offensive gurus like Kelly detest constraints.  In other words, Vick’s dynamics won over Foles’ management skills. It’s very similar to the decision 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh made last season, although Colin Kaepernick is a much better player than Vick.  

If Eagles fans are lucky, Foles is experiencing a Matt Cassel (circa 2008) renaissance.  Or maybe, he’s channeling his inner Matt Schaub—the one who used to play respectably. But it’s important to remember, Foles had two chances under two different coaching staffs to win the starting job, and he failed on both occasions.  That’s a serious indictment of any quarterback.

Still, the Eagles moved the football against the Buccaneers and more importantly, both DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy made contributions.  Thus, Kelly has to choose his words very carefully because at this stage, he gleans nothing by declaring Vick the starter.  They are tied for 1st place after all, and everything is positive when you’re winning.  

Kelly is an offensive innovator, but his handling of the quarterback position will define his tenure as head coach. These decisions always do.  So instead of focusing on Foles, fans ought to question whether or not Kelly is a good talent evaluator.  Remember the Matt Barkley pick?

For various reasons, Foles has a cult-like following.  Never mind the fact there is nothing special about his game.  Is he a different player than he was in August?  Does his current play suggest Kelly made the wrong choice to begin the season?  The short answer is no to both questions.  

Foles is playing pretty well right now, but he’s nothing more than a capable backup and Kelly knows it.  

Deep down, so do you.    

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 6   

-Don’t be fooled by McCoy’s 116 yards rushing against the Bucs- He took a lot of punishment because of Vick’s absence.  

-When Bucs’ head coach Greg Schiano resurfaces at some non-descript, Division FBS school next fall, he’ll realize that’s where he belongs.  

-Mike Glennon looks a lot like Nick Foles- and that’s not a compliment.

-A small percentage of 49ers fans did the wave while Cardinals’ defensive lineman Calais Campbell lay on the field awaiting a stretcher. Plus, a smattering of Texans fans cheered Schaub’s injury following a week where he called the authorities because of fan harassment.  Last season, a minority of Chiefs fans gave Cassel some ugly treatment while he lay barely conscious.  It’s safe to say knuckleheads are everywhere. Every time a national broadcaster or columnist perpetuates the tough Philly fans stereotype, be sure to remind them of these incidents and tell them to get some new material.

-Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin sounds more like Ray Rhodes with each press conference.

-The conflict of interest between team doctors and players is obvious. Rob Gronkowski’s decision to wait until his personal physicians okay his return makes perfect sense.Photo: cbssports.com

-Lost in the euphoria of Tom Brady’s late-game heroics is the fact the Saints had four chances to put the game away they couldn’t do it.  That’s a bad omen for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.  

-Despite all the praise of Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft, the handling of Aaron Hernandez and the blatant strong-arming of Gronkowski tells me he’s no different than any other NFL owner.  Enough with the feel good, philanthropic stories. He’s a business man trying to win football games and that’s okay.  

Mike Shanahan’s coddling his son Kyle’s play calling. Also, Robert Griffin III’s ego is the reason RG3 is struggling.  His knee has little to do with it.  

-It’s no surprise the Texans and the Colts didn’t have much to offer Sunday- since both teams played the 49ers and Seahawks the previous two weeks.  

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII

 

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Vick/Foles photo: Elsa/Getty Images

Robert Kraft photo: cbssports.com