Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson has said before that Carson Wentz is “our quarterback”, but due to recent injuries this season and late last season (including the Super Bowl), backup Nick Foles has been running the show for the Eagles. He’s been a remarkable fill-in for the birds, pulling out a spectacular 32-30 last minute win against the Texans on Sunday. The idea of a backup quarterback starting his third straight game with a team is on the cusp of a playoff berth should concern fans and players, however with Foles, that isn’t the case.
Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins believes Foles is a big reason that the Eagles are even in playoff contention. “He’s a Super Bowl MVP for a reason. Obviously he’s pumped life back into this team, the offense, playing phenomenal right when we need it” said Jenkins about Foles. “But that’s Nick. He’s no different. It’s not like he rose to the occasion. This is what he’s made for.”
Many NFL teams struggle to have one reliable franchise quarterback, Philadelphia faces a different dilemma with Wentz and Foles- if both are healthy, how does a team decide which more-than-capable quarterback deserves the starting spot?
Wentz was named the face of the franchise, awarded the starting position due to superior talent and ability. He showed promising numbers in 2018, and even played several weeks with a stress fracture in his back. However, Foles know how to make his mark and rise to any occasion to make a team his own. His greatest moments are his high pressure games under the bright lights. In Week 16’s must-win comeback against the Texans, he threw four touchdowns and nearly 500 yards.
If Foles and the Eagles win again in Week 17, plus a win from the Chicago Bears, they’ll make the playoffs. This prediction would mean Foles has won three high-pressure games in a row. Meanwhile, Wentz has still not been placed on injury reserve and is hopeful about a return this season. Pederson has continuously told the media that a discussion will take place as soon as Wentz is healthy enough to play. However, unless Foles gets hurt in Week 17, it will be hard to justify taking him off the field for the playoffs after a third straight win.*
On the other hand, Wentz has a high ceiling of potential and it would be a shame to see him miss another post-season run for a team he was named starting quarterback for. It’s also naïve to think that Foles energy that “pumped life back into this team” was the only reason Philadelphia could pull out a two-game win streak, as we will never know how the games would have played out if Wentz was on the field.
Wentz has showed prior to injuries that he’s the superior quarterback, and Pederson still seems confident that when he’s healthy, he’s the top choice of the Eagles. However, Philadelphia’s ship is sailing smoothly under Foles watch, and these aren’t unexplored waters for him. After last year’s Super Bowl win, everyone in the country saw what Foles is capable of. Regardless of who may be the better quarterback at that time, it will be hard to change the team’s momentum and make a quarterback switch in post-season.
Right now, there doesn’t seem like anyone could give a definite answer on who should be in control if Foles keeps playing this way and Wentz gets healthy. All I know is, right now, we should all be happy we’re not Doug Pederson.
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