There's one clear answer to Eagles' QB dilemma

There's one clear answer to Eagles' QB dilemma

It’s not a quarterback controversy. A quarterback controversy is when both guys stink. 

Bobby Hoying or Koy Detmer is a quarterback controversy. Nick Foles or Carson Wentz is a quarterback dilemma.

And this is a tricky situation for Doug Pederson, and it will become a lot trickier if the Eagles win Sunday and the Vikings lose.

There are two questions here, and one really has nothing to do with the other.

No. 1 is if the Eagles make the playoffs and Carson Wentz is healthy should Pederson stick with Foles or turn to Wentz.

No. 2 is which quarterback should the Eagles commit to for the long haul.

There’s a chance Pederson will never have to answer No. 1. Foles starts Sunday in Washington, but what if he leads the Eagles to a win over the Redskins while the Bears are beating the Vikings, and the Eagles find themselves with a wild-card game the first weekend of 2019?

Pederson has said all along that when he’s healthy, Wentz will start. He backed off that a little bit Monday, when he said: 

Those are obviously conversations we’ve got to have, tough decisions to make. I’ve said all along Carson’s our guy. When he’s cleared and 100 percent and ready to go, we’ll address that at that time.

If the Eagles beat the Redskins and make the playoffs, I don’t see how Pederson can change quarterbacks.

Maybe if Foles is terrible and they win with defense and running the ball. Maybe.

But otherwise? At that point Foles will have won three straight starts, he’ll be 4-1 this year, he’ll be 8-1 since returning to Philly and he’ll be 22-5 in meaningful games in an Eagles uniform since 2013.

And Wentz won’t have played in a month.

Pederson owes it to his players, to the franchise, to the city, to Jeff Lurie to play the quarterback who gives the Eagles the best chance to win a football game.

And right now, I don’t know how you can make a case that it’s Wentz.

He really wasn’t bad this year, and that’s a credit to his vast ability, that he was able to win five games and throw 21 TDs to 7 INTs and complete 70 percent of his passes while clearly working through a balky knee and a back fracture. But he wasn't himself.

And we can all see what Foles is bringing to the table right now. He’s loose, confident, healthy and he’s flinging the ball up and down the field in a way that Wentz just hasn’t been able to.

This is not a knock on Wentz. It’s just reality.

Wentz won’t like it. And I know it won’t be an easy conversation if Pederson has to tell a healthy Wentz he’s not playing in a wild-card game against the Bears, if there is one.

That’s where the “tough decisions to make” come into play.

But it’s the right call. It’s the only call.

In the future? You can’t keep both. And organizationally, the Eagles are tied to Wentz, who is just 25 and played at an MVP level last year.

We’ve all thought to ourselves … “Man, is there any way they can just go with Nick long-term? As talented as Carson is … what if Nick is freaking Joe Montana?”

It’s only natural to think about it. The guy is a legend around here. That will never change. He lit up the Patriots in a Super Bowl, for chrissakes.

And if Wentz’s 2017 season were anything less than MVP level than you could understand if the Eagles were considering hitching their wagon to Foles over the long-term.

But 2017 happened. Wentz played at a level that only Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have ever played at. And there’s no reason to think that another year removed from surgery he won’t be that guy again. And for the next decade. 

It’s clear Wentz is the future.

It’s just as clear Foles is the present.

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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