This is not one of those The World According To Nick Foles kind of games. The Eagles are 3-5 and in need of a win, no question about it, and the quarterback position has been front and center since, well, isn't it always that way? However, seeing Foles back at the helm is intriguing for many reasons.
The kid is coming off a tough game against Dallas and has been asked "What happened" in every which manner all week. Foles has been poised and patient with his answers, but you just know that beneath the exterior beats the heart of a competitor who is itching to get back on the field and play well.
Having Foles as the starter boosts an offense that has scored just three points in the last two weeks. Foles was brilliant in the wins over New York and Tampa Bay, and the offense was efficient, averaging 2.58 points per drive. For comparison's sake, Michael Vick and the offense averaged 2.21 points per drive in the 14 possessions at Washington and a strong 2.72 points on 11 drives against San Diego.
Chip Kelly's offense can succeed with Foles. The second-year quarterback has already shown that. Now, if he wants to clarify what team Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in an interview with CSNPhilly.com that quarterback is the "No. 1 priority" for this team moving forward, Foles has to do it consistently, week after week, the rest of this season.
How can Foles accomplish this? He has a tough challenge in Oakland against a very fast, run-to-the-football defense that has the Raiders humming. The Raiders brings a lot of backside pursuit, they hustle and believe in the scheme, and they stuff the running game.
And if the Raiders are intent on limiting running back LeSean McCoy and the Eagles running game, as most defenses are, and they dedicate the resources in the box to do so, Foles has to come up with some big plays in the passing game.
So, everyone is watching. Foles is a confident young man who has stepped up in his year and a half in the NFL to show plenty of promise. Can he be the quarterback of the present to nudge the Eagles to the top of the NFC East? Can Foles get this offense back to where it was in the first six games of the season, when the Eagles averaged 28 points and 450 yards per 60 minutes?
Quarterback of the future? Can we discuss that in the future, please?
"My focus is to go out and play the best game I can play and win," said Foles. "I don't look back and I'm not going to look ahead. I focus on the here and now. If you take care of that, the rest will take care of itself."
Foles has been asked many, many times about his "fit" in Kelly's scheme and about the play calling and about everything from how he's going to play against Oakland to whether he sees himself as the franchise caller here. Foles handles it all extremely well. He's in the "here and now" and he's going to "have fun with it" and there is no doubt he appreciates the opportunity to be in the NFL and to be an Eagle and lead this team against the Raiders.
NFL quarterbacks live in the fishbowl, so the scrutiny is very intense. Foles has talked about some mechanical breakdowns hurting his performance against Dallas, so every throw and movement against the Raiders will be analyzed instantly. Where are his feet? How is his shoulder? Is he letting go and just "ripping" it, as Foles says?
Foles has the offense again, with the responsibility of putting the Eagles back in the win column. It won't be easy. Oakland is a tough place to play and the Raiders have a very good defense. Welcome to another big spot for Foles and the Eagles offense as the second half of the season begins on the road.
Everyone needs a bounce back -- Foles, the Eagles, everyone. We -- you, me, the players and coaches and everyone -- need a victory. It would do so much for the immediate standing of the team and the big-picture focus for a young roster finding itself.