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.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.