Les Bowen: Nick Foles isn't the answer for Eagles

Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles has been serving as Michael Vick's backup so far this season. (Michael Perez/AP)

ARE THERE reasons to go with Nick Foles over Michael Vick, with the Eagles 3-4?

Sure. It's not as if the offense could be a lot less productive.

But I think Vick's comments Sunday have been overscrutinized. He wasn't asking to be benched, and shouldn't be cast aside because he acknowledged the possibility. Vick did seem uncharacteristically adrift after the loss. Maybe people would have preferred another "everybody-knows-what-kind-of-team-we- have-here" salvo, which would have sounded absolutely delusional, under the circumstances.

The real question to be answered, when we talk about changing quarterbacks, rests with something Rich Hofmann vocalized on Comcast SportsNet's "Daily News Live" Monday.


Is it time to pull the plug on Michael Vick as the Eagles’ starting quarterback?

When the coaches looked at Sunday's film, and the dink-and-dunk throwing, did they see plays left on the table? Did Vick have time and open receivers, and just check down automatically, out of uncertainty over his protection or unwillingness to risk yet another interception?

Rewatching the game Monday, I did not see that. I saw a game plan that assumed Vick would have little time to throw. I think that game plan also assumed the defense would get a stop before the fourth quarter, and the offensive line would be able to run block a little. Did Vick's eight interceptions in six games factor into making up that game plan? Were Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg reluctant to have him test the Atlanta secondary?

Probably so. But would they have devised a vastly different game plan for a rookie quarterback who has never played an NFL snap?

Maybe Reid will pull the Foles lever, because it's pretty much all he has left to try to turn this season around, unless he wants to fire himself. But the Eagles didn't get blown out by the Falcons because of Vick, and Nick Foles won't fix this team.


- The two Falcons drives that made it 14-0 in the first quarter - a hole this Eagles' offense isn't going to climb out of - were kept alive by Eagles' third-down penalties, the hold on Jason Babin and the pass interference on Mychal Kendricks. The Falcons would have kicked a field goal had the Kendricks infraction not occurred. Still, that drive started just short of midfield, so maybe the defense could have rallied, considered it progress. Instead, total failure.

- Thirty-three snaps for Jason Babin, 31 for Brandon Graham. Graham seemedmore effective. Overall, didn't see a lot of double-teaming or chipping, just Eagles d-linemen not winning one-on-one battles. Add this to the long list of things I did not envision coming out of training camp.

- It says here that despite all his postgame crowing, Asante Samuel had about as much to do with the Falcons' victory as the equipment guys. No tackles, two passes defensed. Asante missed LeSean McCoy on the Eagles' first touchdown and was responsible for the Eagles' longest gain of the day, when he tried to pick Michael Vick and didn't get the ball, allowing DeSean Jackson to turn a short out into a 32-yard gain. So, no, Asante, the outcome would not have been different if you still played for the Eagles.

- That being said, not quite sure whatNnamdi Asomugha's plan was on that crushing, 63-yard touchdownplay to Julio Jones. Didn't give acushion, didn't jam. Very hard to covera fast receiver that way. 

- The officials certainly weren't the reason the Eagles lost, but rewatching Monday, it was pretty obvious that the third-down pass defense by Chris Owens on Jason Avant, that didn't draw a flag and killed an Eagles drive, was pretty much what Jason Babin was doing with Jacquizz Rodgers earlier, on the defensive holding penalty that kept Falcons' opening drive going. The heads-up team gets the breaks.


The Falcons won in Philadelphia Sunday for the first time since Oct. 30, 1988, when Chris Miller engineered a 27-24 comeback victory with a 49-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Michael Haynes.


That Michael Vick's staying healthy was not the key to a great Eagles season, after all?


When Andy Reid trundled into the interview room Sunday, I was struck by how deflated he looked. Almost literally. The coach has lost more than a few pounds this year, and he's been growing out that brushy mustache until it dwarfs the rest of his features. The man who  stood at the podium Sunday, swathed in rain-spattered black, looked like a shrunken, diminished version of the familiar mentor.

We've seen Andy lose games before, and then brusquely declare how he has to do a better job. This was different. This time, the 14th-year coach seemed to be questioning himself as much as we were questioning him. I asked Reid whether the change in defensive coordinators during the bye week, intended to galvanize the defense, had instead unsettled it.

"How can I stand up here and tell you it didn't, with the way we played?" he said.

That is not an Andy Reid answer. I have been asking this man questions since 2002, and I know an Andy Reid answer when I hear one. An Andy Reid answer to that sort of question usually involves everyone looking in the mirror while sharing pieces of pie.

We seemed to be talking to a man as bewildered by the Eagles' response to the Falcons' sharp, focused play as we were.

I've heard this theory floated by former Eagles such as Brian Westbrook, and I think it resonates: So many of these Birds are not Andy guys. They were acquired through trades and free agency, over the past few seasons, as the organization tried to make up for bad drafts. Plus, some of the young guys who were drafted here have known nothing but struggle and failure; they've heard about Reid's successes, haven't lived them. Remember, the Eagles last won a playoff game in the 2008 postseason.

Seven current Eagles have experienced an Eagles playoff victory, including long snapper Jon Dorenbos, not including defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who isn't on the 53-man roster right now. That's not many. For a coach who needs everyone to dig deep and believe right now, it probably isn't enough.

Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.