Prior to training camp, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback positions seemed set in stone. However after a highly uninspiring preseason opener from Mike Kafka, and unexpected fantastic play from Nick Foles and Trent Edwards, the backup position is becoming murky.
Kafka, the anticipated backup to Michael Vick, played terribly Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His stat line of 5 for 9 (55% completion percentage), for 31 yards was very indicative of his play. For good measure Kafka threw an ill-advised, Steve Nash-like no-look pass that was intercepted for a near touchdown. The poor offensive line play didn’t help, but even when Kafka did have time to throw his accuracy was mediocre and his arm strength…well let’s just say Team USA’s women’s gymnastics team could throw it with more velocity. Unpredictably, he looked lost and out of sync on almost every snap.
Making matters worse, Kafka’s hand was broken when it was stepped on by a Steelers player. Thankfully it was his non-throwing hand, but he will still be missing valuable practice and game reps. He is expected to be out 3-4 weeks. There were few, if any, positive takeaways for Kafka after the first preseason game.
On the flip side, rookie Nick Foles performed like he was the number 1 overall pick from the NFL draft completing 6 of 10 passes for 144 yards and 2 touchdown passes. His raw talent, especially his arm strength, is undeniable. His future with the Eagles is promising. The question is: can he improve his mechanics and learn to read NFL defenses in time? We don’t know yet, but his promotion to 2nd team offense with Kafka out, shows the confidence the Philadelphia Eagles have in Foles. He has a great opportunity ahead of him and if he continues to perform like this, Kafka could be in real trouble.
Veteran Trent Edwards performed in Herculean-like way. Not only were his statistics impressive – 12/20 for 106 yards and a touchdown – but his decision making with the game on the line was perfect. He made passes to lead receivers out-of-bounds to stop the clock. Multiple 4th down completions were perfectly thrown. Perhaps most notable was that he didn’t make poor decisions by forcing passes to covered and double covered receivers. He gave kicker Alex Henery an opportunity to make a game-winning kick for the Eagles (which he did!). Trent Edwards has invaluable experience starting in the NFL which gives him a huge advantage over Kafka (and Foles for that matter). He also fits the Eagles West Coast offense very well. Unfortunately for him, he is still the odd man looking out. However, if Edwards continues to command the Eagles huddle like that, Andy Reid might be forced to keep him on the roster, leaving Kafka out to dry.
It’s important be aware that Vick and Foles, as a 3rd round draft pick, are locks to make the Eagles final roster. The Eagles traditionally keep 3 quarterbacks so that leaves the last roster spot between Kafka and Edwards. With Kafka out the rest of the preseason, Edwards will have every opportunity to make this Eagles squad.
Who do you think should make backup Vick and make the Eagles final roster?