While the decision to start Nick Foles or Michael Vick against the Cowboys is moot until the health status of Vick is known, that has not stopped us from opining on which guy should start, if Vick is indeed healthy. We take a look around the Internet to see what the local and national guys are saying. Note: You can click on each of the the writers' names below to read all of their articles in full:
Something changed in a week. Either the same question mysteriously became hypothetical or Chip Kelly is seriously considering making Nick Foles his starting quarterback.
Last Sunday: Asked if Michael Vick would start the next game if healthy, Kelly said “Yes.”
This Sunday: Asked if Vick would start next week if healthy, Kelly said, “I don’t answer hypotheticals.”
Bottom line is points.
And so far this year Foles is averaging 30 percent more points per red-zone drive than Vick.
Vick’s 14 red-zone drives have produced five touchdowns and seven field goals, or 56 points. That’s a touchdown 36 percent of the time and an average of 4.0 points per red-zone drive.
Foles’ six red-zone drives have produced four touchdowns -- just one fewer than Vick in fewer than half as many chances -- and two field goals, or 34 points. That’s a touchdown 67 percent of the time and an average of 5.7 points per red-zone drive.
Of 40 quarterbacks who’ve started at least one game this year, Foles ranks 10th in red-zone passer rating (105.1), and Vick ranks 35th (57.1).
Foles not only got the job done, he left little to criticize. He got rid of the ball, threw it accurately, avoided or withstood pressure when necessary, and ran the offense at pretty close to the pace the coach desires. All of that will make Kelly's decision easier if Vick is a coin flip to return from his hamstring injury by next Sunday's home game against the Cowboys.
Kelly is smart enough to let the coming week play out just the way the previous one did, if that is his intention. Foles will get the first-team reps, Vick will practice as well, and Kelly will give the wait-and-see. Hamstrings are slow to fully heal and there would be nothing wrong with giving Vick another week to recover.
Plus, Foles earned another week as the starter. He clearly did that, and not just because of the 22-for-31 day throwing the ball or the 133.3 passer rating. It was his overall command of the game, particularly in the second half, when Kelly opened up what had been a dink-and-dunk attack and asked Foles to extend the field against the Bucs.
“Nick Foles can play. Mike is the starter,” McCoy said. “Coach Kelly made that clear, but if he needs Nick to step in and make some plays, he’ll do that. He’s shown that. Mike’s the guy we go with. He’s the starting quarterback, no matter what the town says or the outsiders want. It’s Coach Kelly’s call and that’s the call he’s made.”
Vick is the flashy point guard who can go coast-to-coast, but Foles has been more efficient in Kelly's up-tempo possession game. That’s a key advantage in facing an opponent such as Dallas, which employs a Tampa 2 zone scheme under Monte Kiffin. Vick’s all-or-nothing style leads to too short of drives with an impatience that such a scheme is built to exploit. It also can contribute to wearing down the Eagles’ defense, which looked better late in the past two games with Foles.
“I would like to see Foles,” Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said Monday. “Vick is like a rabbit. He’s all over the place. Foles is more like a stationary guy in the pocket. Both of them are awesome quarterbacks. Foles is playing his butt off these last couple of games. Either one, but I would take Foles over Vick.
(Jimmy note: Technically, Hatcher wants Foles, but for adversarial reasons.)
In all, Foles hit eight different receivers, and the Eagles converted two of three red zone trips into touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over.
The running game did not take a hit without Vick in the game either, as some suspected it might. LeSean McCoy carried the ball 25 times for 116 yards for a 4.6 average. A lot of those touches were late in the fourth quarter when the Bucs knew the Eagles were trying to ice the game. Shady rounded out his day with 55 yards receiving as well.
And speaking of the Bucs defense, for their part they are not a bad unit by any means. They entered the week holding opponents to 17.5 points per game, and were a top 10 unit overall. Even with Pro Bowlers Gerald McCoy and Darrelle Revis patrolling the field, Foles was able to move the offense almost at will when they were firing on all cylinders.
He threw the deep ball. He threw the underneath stuff. He didn’t make mistakes.
Foles should be the starting signal-caller next Sunday and going forward.
It’s more clear than ever that Nick Foles — and not Michael Vick, Matt Barkley or some other quarterback in next year’s draft — is the future of this team. Merrill Reese said on the morning show Wednesday that he wouldn’t trade Foles for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, and it’s hard to disagree with him.
In the red zone, where the Eagles have had their problems this season, Foles has produced four touchdowns in seven trips in a game and a half. Vick has produced five touchdowns in 14 trips in three and a half games.
Foles was so good yesterday he even got Riley Cooper, who going into the game had the worst stats of any starting wide receiver in the league, involved. Cooper caught four passes for 120 yards and a 47-yard touchdown.
In the five games prior to this one, Cooper had caught eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. In the three years prior to this, Cooper never had a touchdown pass of 47 yards and never had a 100-yard game.
That alone should earn Foles another shot.
Kelce repeated a common theme inside the locker: if Vick is healthy, he should start.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) October 13, 2013
Chip Kelly's decision is easy. Stick with Foles. Younger, cheaper, not turning it over, staying healthy, etc.— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) October 14, 2013
Ed Rendell's biggest reason to start Foles next week is that the crowd might boo Vick if he's unsuccessful.— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) October 13, 2013
No way Foles should start over Vick (if healthy). Vick was on way to winning 37-7. Vick running read option w/ LeSean No.1 rush attack.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 7, 2013