I wouldn’t know because I don’t have the time nor the willingness to watch them, but I suspect the morning hot-take sports shows debated who the Eagles’ starting quarterback should be between Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. Wentz probably won’t play again this season because of his back injury, so the “debate” is pointless—but all the debates on those shows are pointless.
(And it’s harder than ever to take those shows seriously after this):
In just this short clip Stephen A. Smith:
— Forgot Spencer Ware was out
— Called them San Diego Chargers
— Said he was looking forward to watching Hunter Henry, who hasn't played all year
— Said Henry was going up against Derrick Johnson, who is a free agent
— Broke Tedy Bruschi pic.twitter.com/wOaorAbBKY
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) December 13, 2018
Talk radio, especially in Philadelphia, where this quarterback situation is taking place, is also assuredly filled with hours of debate over the Super Bowl LII MVP and the franchise quarterback. As usual, both sides feel the need to get negative to make their point, with some saying things like Foles is getting lucky and still isn’t the answer despite leading the team to its first Super Bowl, Doug Pederson did a better job with the offense for Foles, the defense carried Foles last night, Wentz is overrated, etc. (I think most negativity is aimed toward Foles, which isn’t surprising because of the very strong belief in Wentz’s ability and potential).
It was just one game, but all it takes is two eyes to realize the Eagles look more comfortable with Foles under-center last night than they did with Wentz this season. I don’t care what the numbers say, and unfortunately looking at the numbers is all some people do.
Foles spread the ball around and operated like a point guard in the win over the Rams. He had a streaky connection with Alshon Jeffery, so he kept feeding the big receiver without making careless decisions by forcing things. That performance and win against a tough Rams pass defense should not be discounted.
Anyone that has watched Foles play throughout his career, including during the championship run last year, knows Foles excels because he has a great feel for throwing the ball and gives his playmakers opportunities to make plays. He also has underrated athleticism, improvisational skills, and intelligence. There’s not a difficult case to be made for Foles as the starter, at least for the rest of this season—he’s simply a very good quarterback, and the normal starter is not at full health and will not be for months.
But while acknowledging the 2018 offense clearly looks better and more in-rhythm with Foles at quarterback, you also must keep in mind that Wentz is coming off a very serious knee injury that apparently wasn’t expected to be 100% this season (though the Eagles have said he is/was), along with a fractured back. Last season, Wentz was sensational and looked like he might have won league MVP if not for his season-ending injury in Week 13. This year, he hasn’t been nearly as dynamic or precise.
If you limit both players to mostly staying in the pocket and not picking up good yardage as scramblers, Foles is probably a better quarterback than Wentz. If Wentz is 100% and playing like he did last season, then maybe it’s a different story. And Wentz is a driven person, so you can bet he’ll be motivated to play as well as ever whenever he gets back on the field.
Whether you’re a casual fan, a hardcore fan, an Eagles fan, or a fan of another team, this isn’t a situation where a bunch of negativity should be involved. Just because you believe one quarterback might be better than the other doesn’t mean the other one is a bad player. The Eagles aren’t crying about having a couple of franchise quarterbacks, both of whom have shown the ability to play at a high level in the NFL.
For now, it’ll be Nick Foles leading the way. That’s certainly not the worst thing in the world for the Eagles.
Bring out the dog masks.