Eagles Confidently Move Forward With Nick Foles
By Frank Irving
Barring a surfing accident while on his upcoming Pro Bowl vacation in Hawaii, Nick Foles will be the Philadelphia Eagles' No. 1 signal-caller when the 2014 regular season begins. As he should be, according to coach Chip Kelly, based on Foles' solid decision-making and ability to accurately put the ball on receivers while leading Philadelphia to an 8-2 record as a starter during the just-concluded season.
That means QB Michael Vick, who has publicly professed his intention to be an NFL starter come September, will depart as a free agent rather than continue as Foles' backup. Vick prepares for the next phase of his career at age 34 with no lack of possible destinations: Oakland, Minnesota, Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville and Cincinnati are among the teams frequently mentioned.
So, who then succeeds Vick as the No. 2 man in Philly? Logic would dictate Matt Barkley moving up the depth chart, and he deserves more of a look than his two stints of tough-duty substitution for the injured Foles and Vick versus Dallas and the New York Giants. Barkley moved the offense in spurts during those games, but tended to commit a fatal error on most possessions. Nonetheless, Kelly seems to like Barkley's ability to make correct reads and keep his throws on line — much like Foles. With an extra year of tutoring and extensive preseason work, he could become a reliable second-stringer.
The third quarterback spot should be open for competition between G.J. Kinne, who the Eagles signed to a futures contract on Jan. 6, and perhaps a veteran free agent. Kinne threw for more than 9,400 yards and 81 touchdowns during his collegiate career at Tulsa; he also rushed for over 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. However, he has not taken a snap in a regulation NFL game.
Overall, the Philadelphia quarterback position looks to be in solid hands with Foles, especially if he learns to discard the ball when warranted instead of taking drive-blunting sacks. Meanwhile, the Eagles will keep their options open for possible upgrades at the No. 2 and 3 spots. Kelly's personnel moves this past season showed that he won't hesitate to make a bold move if the opportunity presents itself.