Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Nick Foles Era Is Here. Don't Blink.

Meet the new turnover machine
So with nominal starting QB Michael Vick concussed, the smattering of people who still admit to watching the Eagles get to see rookie QB Nick Foles, the first rookie QB to throw a touchdown for the team since, well, I'd look it up but who gives a flying fart at a rolling doughnut... um, right, let's end this sentence... play the Redskins next week.

Now, the Redskins are terrible, and Foles is going to put up some numbers, especially if the offensive line gives him some support. Head Coach For Too Much Of The Rest Of Your Life Andy Reid is good at coaching up limited back-ups; this is how the team, once upon a time, got good ROI on DOA stiffs like AJ Feeley and Kevin Kolb. If you need a wild card Hail Mary waiver wire play for your fantasy league, I can see why you'd go there. And I can also see why, as Eagle Fans, many of who have hated Vick since Day 1 and have been counting the days to his departure, are kind of excited by this. Maybe even excited enough to keep watching this Flying Dutchman of a team, this collection of highly-paid dead-enders who have managed to make Philadelphia the largest media market in the country for whom football is already over.

They are, to be kind, deluded. To be mean but accurate, dupes.

Here's why.

I'm going to list the current Eagle starters. I'm also going to add their ages in parentheses. But I'm not going to list their current ages; instead, I'm going to list the age of the player in 2014, otherwise known as the next time that anyone involved with this team should have allowed to say anything about the playoffs without Taser Treatment. Then, I'm going to put the guys I actually think could be anything more than a flotsam starter in caps. Count along with me on how many of these you get, will you?

WRs: DESEAN JACKSON (27), Jeremy Maclin (26), Riley Cooper (27), Jason Avant (31), Damaris Johnson (24)

Why am I so willing to say goodbye to Maclin? I've watched him play this year. He gets hurt in a stiff breeze, is no longer interested in contact, does not catch the ball enough, and makes me long for the emotional maturity and good judgment of DJ. And, well, DJ still makes plays every once in a while. Maclin might be the most overrated WR in the NFL. (Cooper, I guess, can stay as the all-new Avant to replace our entirely useless current model, and Johnson might still have utility as a returner. Woo.)

RBs: LESEAN MCCOY (26), Bryce Brown (23), Dion Lewis (24), Chris Polk (24), Stanley Havili (26)

McCoy is, of course, the best player on the roster, and if football were baseball, you'd have to think about trading him for multiple cheap assets and picks. By the time this team is good again, he might not be healthy or productive, but football never works like this, and selling tickets next year is going to be hard enough without selling their best asset off. Brown has had some moments this year, and Havili is a fullback, but it wouldn't really shock me if no one else in this group ever rises above fungible.

OL: BRENT CELEK (29), Clay Harbor (27), JASON KELCE (27), JASON PETERS (32), Todd Herremans (32), Evan Mathis (33), Dallas Reynolds (30), Danny Watkins (30), Demetress Bell (30), King Dunlap (29)

Here's why Foles really does not matter: he really is not going to remain upright or conscious. The only two guys on the current offensive line that will be here in 2014... aren't playing in 2012. Watkins has been an absolute bust, Mathis is already old. Herremans is also on the downside and hurt. No one who has gotten snaps as a result of this mess has looked worth anything. Which is, well, kind of a tell for the Reid Era. (Oh, and if you want to wave goodbye to Celek, his persistent drops and his emphatic celebrations of first downs regardless of game situation... well, fine. But Harbor's not a starting caliber TE.)

DL: FLETCHER COX (23), Cedric Thornton (26), Brandon Graham (26), Vinny Curry (26), Philip Hunt (28), Darryl Tapp (30), Derek Landri (31), Mike Patterson (31), Trent Cole (32), Jason Babin (34)

With the very solid exception of Cox, who is looking like the rare slam dunk win among Reid Era first round picks... flushola. Maybe Thornton, Graham, Curry or Hunt can still be part of the mix, but honestly, if no one in this list is here, no one in town will cry. (As an aside, how bad/dumb/irritating does Curry have to be to not get on the field yet?) Especially about Cole, who looked spent against the Saints, and Babin, who has looked, um, vile. Yes, that's a fine word for it.

LB: MYCHAL KENDRICKS (24), Casey Matthews (25), Jamar Cheney (28), Akeem Jordan (29), DeMeco Ryans (30)

I still have high hopes for Kendricks, who's the first young player and plus tackler in years here, and maybe Ryans can look better with time and a new coaching regime. But this has been the worst position in terms of drafts and decisions of the Reid Era, so having more than one actual keeper here should not surprise anyone. Maybe Matthews can be a situational / STs guy for a while, kind of like Jordan.

DB: Brandon Boykin (25), Curtis Marsh (26), Nate Allen (26), Kurt Coleman (26), David Sims (28), DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE (28), Brandon Hughes (28), Colt Anderson (29), Nnamdi Asomugha (33)

I'm keeping DRC under the theory that he's still going to be athletic enough to make up for his shaky technique at 28, and there's no way the roster is going to find enough to move on from him by then. Boykin has had moments that tell you he can hang for a while as a good enough nickel back, and if you want to think kind thoughts about the young safeties, well, um, go nuts. Sims made a few plays against the Cowboys last week, Anderson is going to be too old to be a special teams ace any more, and Asomugha is the worst free agent signing of this century for this laundry. But look on the bright side; if your last name is Asomugha, you're going to have your pick of choice merch at the Salvation Army for decades to come.


Alex Henery, Mat McBriar and Jon Dorenbos... who the hell cares. Though I'd cut Fat McBriar immediately for that effort on the sideline in the killshot return touchdown on Sunday.

So add it up, folks. 21 starters outside of the quarterback, and 13 out of 21 of them are going to be new and/or not on the roster. New coach, new coordinators, new schemes, new play-calling. Very little of which is going to be invested in a third-round pick from the previous regime, assuming he somehow survives seven games of what will likely be battering, booing, and around 20-odd turnovers.

I wish Foles well. He's got some skills and talent.

But if you really think that you are watching a guy with a better than puncher's chance of having the job when the Eagles are a playoff team again, or that you are watching a real-time audition for the job...

Well, you probably bought a lot of what Reid was selling, too. And none of that cashed out, either.

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