Last year, a December knee injury to quarterback Carson Wentz opened the door for backup Nick Foles to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl and win it. This year, a December back injury to Wentz allowed Foles to lead the Eagles to their biggest win of the year, an upset over the heavily-favored Rams.
With plenty of chapters left to be written in Philly’s Book of 2018, coach Doug Pederson already has reiterated that, when 2019 arrives, Wentz will still be the quarterback.
“I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “He’s our quarterback in the future. That’s why we drafted him. It’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player to — I don’t want to say bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense. I think we just continue to reconfirm that with Carson and let him know that. Continue to say, ‘Hey, listen you’re going to be here for a long time, have a long career.’ We just have to commit to that and communicate that to him and let that kind of sink in.”
But how deep will it sink? As discussed earlier this week on both PFT Live and #PFTPM, at some point Foles could carry the Eagles far enough to force Pederson and the rest of the Eagles’ brain trust to convene a meeting aimed at determining whether it will be Foles or Wentz in 2019.
That’s a premature conversation. But if Foles gets the Eagles to the playoffs, maybe that’s the time for the conversation. If he’d beat the No. 3 seed (currently the Bears) in the wild-card round, maybe that’s the time for it.
If Foles at least keeps it close in the divisional round with the top-seeded Saints (assuming they nail it down), that would definitely be the time for it, because the Wentz-led Eagles suffered a 48-7 blowout in New Orleans during the regular season.
Yes, the Eagles made a huge investment to trade up and draft Wentz in 2016. But while Wentz is the better quarterback, there’s an argument to be made that the team is better with Foles under center.
Chris Simms offered a theory during Wednesday’s PFT Live. He thinks that the Eagles become sufficiently smitten with Wentz’s skills that they abandon their game plan and lean on Wentz when they shouldn’t. With Foles, they go deeper into the playbook, committing to their broader philosophies and strategies in lieu of hoping for a quick fix.
Again, for now there’s no reason to depart from Wentz. But there’s a point short of winning a second straight Super Bowl with Foles where the team’s mind should change.
And, yes, winning a second straight Super Bowl with Foles definitely should change the team’s mind.