Nick Foles has looked awful the last two games he’s played.
Let me rephrase that, Nick Foles has looked avert-your-eyes, cover-your-ears, and crawl-up-into-the-fetal-position bad, these last two games. If his play on Jan. 13, 2018 at 4:35 p.m. in any way resembles what we saw vs. the Raiders and Cowboys, despite what the Birds' defense may do, the Eagles will be one and done in the postseason.
All that said, there is no way, barring an injury to Foles, that Nate Sudfeld should see the field, let alone start. Sudfeld has 23 career passing attempts. They came in a meaningless game. He may some day blossom into a starting NFL quarterback or a competent back-up. But that is the future, not the here and now as the Eagles prepare for either the Saints, Panthers or Falcons. Foles gives the Eagles the best chance to win a week from Saturday. In addition to his 39 career starts and 49 games played over a six-year career, he also has started a playoff game. And in that playoff game, he completed 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards, with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, with a 105.0 passer rating. In said 2013 Wild-Card game vs. the Saints, he led the Eagles to a late touchdown and gave them a 24-23 lead with 4:54 left in regulation. But that was only to see New Orleans get a big kick return from Darren Sproles that led to a game-winning field goal. Yes, that’s ancient history at this point, but at least there is precedent.
Sudfeld has never started a regular-season NFL game. To start him or throw him into a playoff game would be a panicky, desperation move that would be unfair to him and the team. That’s not who the Eagles have been all season. Doug Pederson’s club has shown remarkable poise in the face of major injuries and adversity. Now, especially, is not the time to change form.
Fans have every right for concern. The 27-and-2 Nick Foles of Chip Kelly’s 2013 team seems more like an anomaly and, despite having a winning record before breaking his collarbone the next year, his play had begun to trend downward. Then it was off to St.Louis, where, as a starter, he played poorly, and then it was a year as a back-up in Kansas City. Foles returned here to be a back-up. And that’s exactly what he is. Anyone with sight knows Foles is nowhere near Carson Wentz. And he doesn’t have to be. But he has to be a helluva lot better than he has in his last two outings. The good news is the Birds' defense rebounded from the Giants debacle. Foles needs to follow suit.
But turning to a guy who spent the first month of the season on the Eagles' practice squad after he was poached off the Redskins' practice squad is not the answer. Foles' experience and Sudfeld’s lack thereof cannot be overstated. This is not a Cowboys team playing out the string in a meaningless regular-season game. The Saints, Panthers and defending NFC champ Falcons all have star QBs and legit résumés.
Like it or not, Foles is the guy.