Somehow, even Christmas Eve can't be devoid of intrigue and bizarre happenstance when it comes to the Eagles.
Andy Reid announced Monday that an MRI revealed a hairline fracture in the second metacarpal in quarterback Nick Foles' throwing hand, suffered just before halftime of Sunday's loss to the Redskins. The second part of the stunner: Instead of going with Trent Edwards, who has been backing up Foles lately, Reid plans to start Michael Vick in what is very likely to be the final Eagles game for both Reid and Vick.
"That's the direction we're going in, as we speak," Reid said. Reid said Vick, cleared after suffering a concussion Nov. 11, is excited, something Vick spokesman Chris Shigas confirmed to your Eagletarian. Shigas said Vick cherishes the opportunity to "leave it on the field," and obviously, getting a shot at showing potential 2013 employers he is healthy and sharp can't hurt, either.
Reid also said DT Fletcher Cox and LB Mychal Kendricks have concussions. There is no word on their availablity for the finale Sunday at the Giants.
Reid said Foles' injury did not show up on X-rays taken at the stadium Sunday but was visible on the MRI Monday. He said it would typically be a three-week injury.
It seems Foles must have been injured three snaps before Alex Henery's 38-yard field goal, which was kicked with 21 seconds left in the half. Foles was driven into the turf by unblocked Redskins defensive lineman Barry Cofield, as Foles dumped the ball successfully to LeSean McCoy for a short gain. Foles went down face-first, on his hand.
Reid didn't really offer a clear rationale for the turnabout from having Vick in street clothes as the inactive, healthy third quarterback against the Redskins to making him the starter again the next day. When Reid said last week Vick would be the third QB, observers hypothesized that if something should happen to Foles, the Eagles didn't need a quarterback they are likely to discard coming in and muddying the waters with an electrifying performance, and that Vick wasn't looking to take any more brutal hits in a season that has been full of them.
But if any of that were true, Edwards would be starting against the Giants, who still can make the playoffs if they beat the Eagles and several other dominoes fall.
"He's had a couple of weeks of practice here," Reid said of Vick. "I thought the first week, he was a little bit rusty out there, I thought this past week, he threw it around well, he feels good ... He obviously deserves an opportunity to play."
Reid said the choice between Vick and Edwards came down to the fact that Vick "had been the No. 1."
Foles' rookie season is over; the next regime will have to judge his potential off six starts and seven appearances, in which he completed 161 of 265 passes (60.8 percent) for 1,699 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. He was sacked 20 times and compiled a 79.1 passer rating. Vick's passer rating this season is nearly identical, 79.2. Vick has completed 58.5 percent of his passes, with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Reid said his evaluation of Foles is that he's "a quarterback who gives your team the oppportunity to win." He noted that the other rookie quarterbacks he is being evaluated against in this strong QB class have been playing all season (with better offensive lines in front of them and offenses that weren't missing key weapons, as the Eagles have been the past month or so). "He has enough skill and ability to play," Reid said. "It's been a valuable expererience for him, but yeah, you'd love to have one more game."
Reid said Foles "really just needs to play ... Every week, I thought the game slowed down for him."
Reid lauded Foles for finishing the game with a broken hand. He said Foles had some trouble gripping the ball right after the hit, but when he warmed up for the second half, he felt he was good to go. Foles completed 18 of 26 passes for 188 yards in the second half. He said afterward his hand didn't affect the ball he threw short of an open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone in the final seconds, but Reid indicated Monday that the hand might have been a factor.