The Eagles officially have a new starting quarterback.
Though the Eagles lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, the offense's 33 points were the most scored by the Eagles this season. During the game, rookie third-round pick Nick Foles posted his best numbers since entering the game in place of a concussed Michael Vick on November 11. Last night, in his third start and fourth extended period of playing time, Foles completed 22 of 34 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown and his season-best quarterback rating of 96.6.
A day later, head coach Andy Reid announced his decision that Foles will be the Eagles' starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. The combination of Foles' improved play and Vick's continuing recovery from his concussion made the decision easy for Reid.
"Because Mike still hasn't passed the test, today I'm going to name Nick Foles as the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season," Reid said in his weekly Monday press conference. "Mike's on a fast track here, so hopefully we might be able to get him back this weekend but we'll see how that goes. But I can't tell you here that he's going to be able to practice come Wednesday yet. Number one is (Vick's) health obviously. Number two, which is also important, is it gives one of our young players an opportunity to play here the next four games as the starter. Each week he's come in as the replacement guy, now he is the starter and we'll see how he does with that on his plate, see how he handles it. I don't expect much change there with him. He handles things in a pretty cool manner and I think he'll continue to do that. Again, he was one of the positives in yesterday's game. It'll be good for him."
Reid said that Vick is currently in the fourth of five post-concussion phases. Once he completes the fifth phase, he still will need to be cleared by an independent neurologist. But when Vick returns to full health, it will be as the number two quarterback behind Foles. Reid said that he spoke to Vick about the decision and Vick "was very positive about it, completely understood and was on board."
"I think where we're at right now in the season, I think it gives the kid an opportunity to play and finish it up," said Reid of Foles. "I just think he's playing well enough, number one, to where I think he can win football games for us, and then, two, I think where we sit at this position in the season, I think it's the right thing to do. Michael, we've got to make sure he gets healthy. This thing's carried on a while now and I want to make sure that he is good to go.
"The number one thing that I want (Vick) to do is to get healthy. This has obviously taken a bit and he's working his tail off to try to get it right and I want him to get that right so he can have a nice long career here. He still has three, four years that he can really get out there and wing it. So let's get him healthy and going in the right direction there."
Asked about the improvement he's seen from Foles over the last four games, Reid said that he's been particularly impressed with the progression of the rookie's footwork.
"You see the footwork is better when he's throwing the football, it's allowing us to add more into his repertoire of throws," said Reid. "He's been working very hard on that. The drops are, that's the thing that a young quarterback has to learn, and then coordinating that with the secondary that they're seeing and they have to do this within a couple second period of time and get it right. I've seen improvement there."
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