Quarterback reset: Time for Eagles to see what they have

Time to figure out the best option for 2014: Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, or none of the above.


— Whether the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback of the future is on the roster now needs to be the No. 1 fact-finding mission in the second half of the season for head coach Chip Kelly and the powers that be upstairs.

The first half of the season, which is not even over, has already proved that. All three quarterbacks have taken meaningful snaps, to absolutely no sane observer's surprise.

And yet, the Eagles are right back where they started from: not even knowing who their man is for the short term, much less the long term.

The week leading up to today's game against the New York Giants provided a season's worth of intrigue on the position. Can Michael Vick and his cranky hamstring go? Will Foles be cleared from his concussion in time to practice and play? Does the staff really have the confidence to throw Matt Barkley out there for his first career start?

Nobody knew.

Enough, already.

Seven games in, what they do have to know is that they have no chance to advance in the playoffs, should they get there. That turns the second half of the season into a discovery session. And it means Vick and his expiring contract should be relegated to emergency service only, regardless of the condition of his left hamstring or anything else.

Next year will be here in around 10 minutes. That's the way the NFL clock works. And it would help the organization immensely to know exactly what it has and, subsequently, what it needs at their most important position.

Rookie Barkley, whose debut last week could not have been any worse, cannot be written off yet. Neither can second-year man Foles, whose performance before suffering a concussion in the third quarter of a 17-3 loss to Dallas was enough to make everyone wonder if the injury didn't really happen in practice the week before.

Foles hasn't spoken publicly since inexplicably following up his NFC East Offensive Player of the Week award with an 11-for-29 outing against the Cowboys. Even that disaster only dropped his season numbers to 52-for-90 (57.8 percent) for 622 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.

Vick, by contrast, is 71 of 132 (53.8 percent) for 1,185 yards, five TDs and two interceptions.

Barkley has been in command for just three series, all of which ended with interceptions.

He was not expected to play, though, and only had scout-team quarterback reps in practice the week before.

Barkley was disappointed but certainly not shattered. Neither were his coaches.

"I think Matt can make the throws," Kelly said. "It's just a matter of him learning and learning the speed of the game. I think he's got a bright future."

No time like the present to find out if that future is in Philadelphia, and four preseason games (or less) next year is no real test.

Neither is one quarter of one regular-season game.

"It was unexpected and unimagined," Barkley said, "but it was lost."

On the bright side, the sore throwing shoulder he came to minicamps with is fully healed now.

"My shoulder felt great," he said. "It's been a while since I had that feeling. Even in the preseason, it didn't feel great."


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