Usually, when a contending team loses a franchise quarterback on the MVP short list, it’s time to start thinking about next year. For the Eagles, however, an inexplicable confidence has emerged regarding the ability of the team to keep winning without the guy regarded as the biggest reason for all of their wins in 2017.
Carson Wentz is gone, and Nick Foles re-enters. Immediately after last Sunday’s win over the Rams, safety Malcolm Jenkins aggressively set the narrative within the locker room that nothing changes. Foles echoed that message himself, displaying something between confidence and delusion by calling himself a “gunslinger” and proclaiming that the offense will be no different with Foles under center.
While that may indeed be the case, why are so many assuming it automatically will happen? Yes, as center Jason Kelce pointed out this week, Foles has a pair of cleats in the Hall of Fame, thanks to his seven-TDs-no-picks performance against Oakland in 2013, which prompted then-coach Chip Kelly to be peppered with so many questions about Foles’ status that Kelly eventually declared Foles to be the guy for the next 1,000 years.
Four years later, he’s the guy again, by necessity. And maybe against the Giants today, the Raiders on Christmas night, and the Cowboys on New Year’s Eve the Eagles will be fine. But whatever Foles did in the season after 2013 prompted the Eagles to dump Foles for Sam Bradford, and Foles had a rough couple of years with the Rams and the Chiefs.
Would we shrug like this if Tom Brady tore his ACL and Brian Hoyer took over? If Ben Roethlisberger pops an Achilles and Landry Jones gets the nod? If Drew Brees goes down and yields to whoever it is that backs up Drew Brees?
We wouldn’t. But yet the narrative in many circles seems to be that the Eagles won’t miss a beat with Foles in for Wentz.
Not in this circle. The Eagles were Wentz’s team. And although they managed to hang on and beat the Rams with Foles replacing Wentz, the Giants, Raiders, and Cowboys will each have time to prepare for Foles. And they’ll see not only what he did well in 2013, but what he didn’t do well in 2014, 2015, and 2016. And they’ll be much more ready to face him than the Rams were.