Another Sunday filled with mistakes and turnovers for the Philadelphia Eagles, yet this time, there would be no chance for a last second victory.
The Arizona Cardinals, led by ex-Philadelphia Eagle quarterback Kevin Kolb, thoroughly dismantled the Philadelphia Eagles at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The final score, 27-6, wasn't even indicative of the poor performance by the Philadelphia offense, and for the third straight week, the focus is on the quarterback, Michael Vick.
To say Vick did not look comfortable on Sunday would be a gross injustice. The Arizona defense was more harassing than Koko the Gorilla. Vick was sacked five times and hurried throughout the day as he completed 17 of 37 for 217 yard with no touchdowns. Vick didn't throw an interception in a game for the first time this year, but his two lost fumbles were back breakers for Philadelphia.
On their first two drives of the 1st quarter, Philadelphia only gained 19 yards on nine plays. During their first drive of the 2nd quarter, the Eagles were down 10-0, but started moving the ball down the field. This success would be short lived, as Vick would lose his first fumble of the game, when Arizona linebacker Sam Acho dislodged the ball.
Kolb would add to his former team's misery in the 2nd quarter as he hooked up with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a 37 yard touchdown. Trailing 17-0, with under three minutes in the first half, Vick and the Eagles wanted a touchdown before going into halftime. The Eagles' drive lasted 11 plays and went 73 yards, and ended with a touchdown.
Only it wasn't the kind of touchdown Philadelphia envisioned. On 3rd and 1 from the Arizona 1 yard line, Vick was sacked and fumbled the ball. Arizona safety James Sanders scooped up the ball and scampered 93 yards for the touchdown. The Cardinals ran into their locker room leading the Eagles 24-0, Vick and the Eagles jogged with their heads hung low.
Things would get no better in the 2nd half, and the highly talented Philadelphia offense was held to a season low six points. With their bevy of talent at all the skill positions, it is baffling why they continue to have poor showings. Upon further review, it is clear that Vick is not orchestrating the offense the way Andy Reid and the Eagles envisioned it. Through three games, Vick is completing only 59% of his passes with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
Philadelphia has play makers, and when given the chance, they can turn small plays into big touchdowns. The problem is Vick has never been a traditional drop back quarterback, so he struggles with the throws that are necessary in Philadelphia's West Coast offense. There is a solution, before losses mount and the season gets out of hand: bench Vick. It is evident what Vick is capable of. For the Eagles to be serious Super Bowl contenders, they must move on. Luckily for Philadelphia, the solution to their problems has been standing on their sideline, patiently waiting. It's time for the Eagles to start rookie quarterback Nick Foles.
Nick Foles's road to the NFL was probably not what he envisioned it to be. After having two great years at Westlake High School in Texas, breaking career passing and touchdown records held by Drew Brees, Foles committed to play at Mighigan State University. Seeing an inevitable logjam at quarterback between Kirk Cousins, himself and Keith Nichol, a transfer from Oklahoma, Foles decided to transfer to the University of Arizona.
After sitting out the 2008 season, as required by the NCAA for transferring to another Division I program, Foles managed to become the starting QB for Arizona by the fourth game of the 2009 season. Although Arizona went 6-3, with Foles under center the rest of the season, there was potential for much more. One of their loses was a double overtime thriller with Oregon and another a controversial ending to their game with Washington University, which saw them lose in the final minutes. Unfortunately, Foles's teams would not experience this kind of success again, as Arizona went a combined 11-14 his junior and senior years.
So how will a sub .500 college QB strike fear in the hearts of opposing coaches in the NFL while he is only a rookie? Simple, Nick Foles is not an athlete or a dual threat, he is a drop back quarterback with great accuracy. Michael Vick, as dynamic as a player as he is, is not the prototypical drop back, accurate quarterback. In Vick's two years combined at Virginia Tech he attempted 342 passes, whereas Foles's attempted 409 passes in just his first year as starter. Foles's attempted over 1400 passes in his collegiate career; it took Vick halfway through his 5th year in the NFL to attempt over 1400 passes in his career, including college. In Vick's nine years as an NFL QB, he has completed over 60% of his passes only once, in 2010. Foles has a 66.9% career completion percentage and a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Player's with stacked career college numbers fill NFL rosters all across the league, some translating to success, while others fall prey to the highly competitive nature of the sport. Foles has only seen limited NFL action, the preseason, so it's entirely too early to bestow any kind of titles upon him. Yet, in three preseason games with the first team unit, working mostly against first team defenses, as Vick was recovering from various injuries, he completed 63% of his passes with 6 TD's and 2 INT's, . The poise he showed in the pocket and accuracy he displayed on his throws are unmatched by few with his limited experience.
It would be a tough decision, but most important ones are. The Eagles need a spark at the most important position on the field, and its up to Reid to make the change. So please, Mr. Reid, for the sake of the team, the city of Philadelphia and for your own job, bench Michael Vick.