Foles to start at QB for Eagles' final four games
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Rookie Nick Foles will start at quarterback the rest of the season, even if Michael Vick is healthy enough to play, Eagles head coach Andy Reid said Monday afternoon.
Foles has started the last three games in place of Vick, who suffered a concussion against the Cowboys on Nov. 11.
Vick has still not been cleared to return to practice and most likely wouldn’t be ready to play this weekend when the Eagles face the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, although Reid hasn’t yet ruled him out.
But Reid made it clear that whenever Vick is healthy, the 2010 Pro Bowl quarterback will back up Foles, who is 0-3 in three NFL starts but played very well Sunday night in Dallas.
“Mike is on the fast track here, so hopefully we might even be able to get him back this weekend but we’ll see,” Reid said. “We’ll see how that goes, but I can’t tell you here that he’s going to be able to practice come Wednesday yet.
“No. 1 is his health obviously and No. 2, which is also important, it gives one of our young players the opportunity to play the next four games as the starter.
“Each week, he’s come in and he’s kind of been the replacement guy. Now he is the starter and we’ll see how he does with that on his plate and see how he handles it.
“I don’t expect much to change with him. He handles things in a pretty cool manner and I think he’ll continue to do that. And again, he was one of the positives in [Sunday’s] game. It will be good for him.”
The Eagles lost 38-33 to the Cowboys Sunday night in Arlington, Texas, their eighth straight loss. At 3-9, they’ve clinched only their third losing season since 2000 and their first consecutive losing seasons under the same coach since 1997 and 1998.
Their eight-game losing streak is the Eagles’ longest within a single season in 44 years.
All of which is why Reid wants to start Foles, even though there’s a good chance Reid himself won’t want to be here.
Why start a 32-year-old veteran when your team is going nowhere when you can at least find out about a 23-year-old rookie?
“I think where we’re at right now in the season that gives this kid an opportunity to play and finish it up,” Reid said. “No. 1, I just think he’s playing well enough to where I think he can win football games for us, and No. 2, … with Michael we need to make sure he gets healthy. This [concussion] has carried on a while here now and I want to make sure he is good to go.”
Complicating this whole issue is Reid’s future with the Eagles, which is uncertain at best. Why would he groom a quarterback who quite possibly won’t play for him beyond the next four games?
It’s a valid question, but Reid said the decision to play the rest of the year with Foles instead of Vick was his and not owner Jeffrey Lurie’s. Does that mean Lurie may be considering keeping Reid? It’s not likely but not inconceivable.
“This was my decision, to [start] Nick,” Reid said. “These were my decisions.”
Foles completed 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers Sunday in the Eagles’ 38-33 loss to the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. His 96.6 passer rating is fifth-highest in Eagles history by a rookie.
Overall this year, Foles has completed 61 percent of his passes (81 for 133) for 793 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
After the game Sunday night, Foles was asked whether it would benefit him to continue as the Eagles’ starter.
“The only way to get better is to continue to take reps and play,” Foles said. “My job is to worry about right now. Think about the game tonight.
“The coaches make all the decisions. I don’t know what is going to happen. I am just going to worry about tonight. I am dealing with the game right now, just my thoughts and emotions. It was a tough loss. I was proud of the team for the way they fought. We just have to keep working and stick together.”
The Eagles were 8-2 in Vick’s first 10 starts as an Eagle, but they’re 10-14 since in his starts.
Reid’s announcement Monday likely ends Vick's Eagles career of one of only two Pro Bowl quarterbacks the Eagles have had in the last 22 years.
Reid said he met with Vick Monday morning and said he was fine with the decision, which mirrored Reid’s decision to bench Kevin Kolb because of a concussion in 2010 to play Vick.
“He was very positive about it,” Reid said. “Completely understood and was on board.”
Vick has missed nine games with injuries since becoming the Eagles’ starting quarterback.
Reid said Vick remains in stage four of the Eagles’ five-step concussion recovery program. That means he’s still unable to tolerate simulated contact without symptoms returning.
“The No. 1 thing I want him to do is get healthy,” Reid said. “That’s what I want. This obviously has taken a bit [of time], and he’s working his tail off to try to get it right and I just want him to get that right so he can have a nice, long career here.
“He still has three, four years that he can really get out there and wing it. Let’s get him healthy and going in the right direction there.” E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.