Throughout the entire off season, many people did not know what this Philadelphia Eagles team would be, or how they would do win wise. Well, with a win today against the Dallas Cowboys, a division rival, the Eagles could find themselves in first place in the NFC East heading into the mid-way point of this year’s NFL season. The Chip Kelly system has been effective thus far on offense, but defensive struggles continue to hold the Eagles back. With the NFL’s leading rusher (LeSean McCoy) and with the NFL’s second leading receiver (DeSean Jackson), one may wonder why exactly the Eagles are only .500 with a 3-3 record. Having the NFL’s worst defense will certainly prevent a team from achieving great success and in the Eagles case, their defense has. Somehow the Eagles have managed to play around their defensive struggles so far, but will it hold up and what exactly do the Eagles need to do to continue their success?
The first thing Chip Kelly has to do to not only continue his team’s success this year, but to also set his team up for the future is naming Nick Foles the Eagles starting quarterback. Michael Vick will not be on the Eagles next year, so why even bother playing him for the rest of the season? The “Chip Kelly Project” is not a one-year thing. Chip Kelly was brought in this year to rebuild and set the Eagles up for next year and the year’s to come; and Michael Vick is not a part of that picture. This year, Nick Foles is second in the NFL with a 127.9 passer rating (min. 60 passing attempts), behind Peyton Manning. In less games and passing attempts, Foles also has one more passing touchdown than Vick with six, compared to Vick’s five. Foles has led 22 drives, seven of them for touchdowns and three of them for field goals (2.64 points per drive). Vick has led 54 drives, 11 of them for touchdowns and ten for field goals (1.96 points per drive). When it comes to accuracy under pressure, Foles is number one in the NFL with an 85.7 completion percentage, and Vick is 36th in the NFL with a 46.7 completion percentage. Nick Foles has proven this year that he is more efficient than Michael Vick, scores touchdowns more often than he does field goals, gets more players involved in the offense (eight Eagles caught a pass last Sunday against Tampa, that is three more compared to the five Eagles that have caught a pass in a game where Mike Vick has started and finished), releases the ball quicker, and will not put his body in risky situations. The main argument against Nick Foles becoming the permanent starter is that he “can’t run”. Look at the past decade of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and tell me if any of them put up outstanding rushing numbers like Mike Vick, you will not be able to. Winning quarterbacks evade pressure and scramble to keep plays alive, they do not look for their first read and then tuck the ball and run like Vick does, putting their bodies in danger. Nick Foles has to be named the Eagles starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, in order for the team’s success to continue.
The Philadelphia Eagles must continue to win their games against their NFC East opponents, while defending their home field. It has been over a calendar year since the Eagles have won their last game at home (Week 4 against the New York Giants last season). If the Eagles want to be a successful team for the remainder of the season and for years to come, this losing at home trend has to stop. Today, the Eagles could continue their success against their NFC East opponents, and end their home losing streak with a win against the Dallas Cowboys. The atmosphere in and outside of Lincoln Financial Field has been superb this year. Every Eagles fan seems to be all in with what Chip Kelly is trying to do with their team. Now, all the Eagles have to do is start winning at home. Look at the Seattle Seahawks for example. Every year, the Seahawks are a lock to go 7-1 or 8-0 at home. All they have to do is win two to three games on the road and they are in the playoffs. I am not saying that the Eagles have to be that great at home, or that abysmal on the road, but they should look to win at least five games at home from here on out. The one good thing about the Eagles every year is their ability to play their NFC East opponents well, which leads to more division wins. This year, the Eagles have already won twice in the division, on the road. For the remainder of the season, the Eagles get the Cowboys today at home, the Giants next week at home, the Redskins week 11 at home, and the Cowboys week 17 in Dallas. This is why the success at home needs to start. If the Eagles cannot win all three home division games this year, they can kiss this season goodbye.
I do not think that Michael Vick is a bad quarterback. I just think that Nick Foles is better, and he gives the Eagles the best chance to win for the remainder of this season, and for the future. Chip Kelly needs to get the thought of having a running quarterback out of his head, because it does not work in the National Football League. If Chip Kelly names Foles his starter, and the Eagles start winning at home and continue to win against the division, there is no doubt that the Eagles will be flying.
*Credit to Reuben Frank (CSN Philly Eagles Insider) and Pro Football Focus for the stats on Nick Foles and Michael Vick*
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