Who would have thought that through the midpoint of the season, we’d be complaining about the Eagles offense and praising the defense? Not me, but that’s just where we are right now. The Eagles hit the halfway point with a record of 3-5 and a ton of questions about their offense.
Although the Eagles’ ground game has struggled in recent weeks, the biggest question mark is around the quarterback position. Michael Vick looked pretty good early on but has been hampered by injuries. He looked shaky at best in his brief return against the Giants, and it’s still to be seen just how long that re-aggravated hamstring will keep him out. Even when he is cleared to get back on the field, it’s a real possibility that Chip Kelly and the Eagles will have moved on as they know he’s not a long-term solution.
So if they move on from Vick, where do they go? You have to believe they’d still like to see more out of Nick Foles. He played well in the second half of the first Giants game and got the job done against the Bucs. It’s still unknown what to make out of his performance against the Cowboys. He was absolutely atrocious. However, the way he played was much different from what we had previously seen. Was there too much pressure of taking on a division foe for control of the division in front of your home crowd? Was he not 100% throughout the course of the game? Can we just chalk it up to having a bad game?
The jury is still out when it comes to Foles, but I think Chip will want to see more out of Foles and make a further evaluation. Is he truly just a backup quarterback or does he really have what it takes to be a franchise quarterback in this league? If you poll Eagles fans, I don’t think the confidence level would be that high in Foles being a long-term answer. Chip won’t poll the audience on this one. He’ll make that evaluation himself.
So if Vick and Foles aren’t the answer, who is? Could it be Matt Barkley? He surely hasn’t looked like the long-term solution in the limited work we’ve seen so far. If Chip doesn’t have a lot of confidence in Foles, you have to believe we will see Barkley get his chance to show what he’s capable of doing. You can say that he has to an extent already, but coming off the bench as he has isn’t exactly the same. I think its likely that he’ll have at least one opportunity (quite possibly this week) to know that he’s going to be the starter going into the game and prepare that way. From there, I believe it will be an audition where Barkley will continue to try to maintain the starting job.
And what happens if Barkley fails miserably? Do we start looking towards the draft? It’s definitely the year to be in the market for a quarterback. As a new head coach, I think Chip still needs to find “his guy” at the quarterback position. Vick and Foles were inherited and Chip drafted Barkley in the fourth round of a very weak quarterback class.
There will definitely be some solid options out there to pick from. The rest of the season will have a huge impact on how the Eagles will need to address the quarterback position in next year’s draft. Time will tell whether there is a guy on the roster who can be the answer or if the Eagles will need to look elsewhere.