While I was making my way down I-95 to FedEx Field this afternoon, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid announced that rookie quarterback Nick Foles would be his starter for the remainder of the season, even once Michael Vick is recovered from his concussion and cleared to play.
Reid said he made this decision because it was "the right thing to do," and he's right. With a record of 3-9 and no remaining chance of reaching the playoffs, the right thing for the Eagles to do now is to take a look at young players to try and determine whether they'll have roles on the team in 2013 and beyond. Whether or not the Eagles plan to get out of Vick's contract in early February, it behooves them to learn all they can about Foles' ability and readiness to be their starting quarterback in 2013. The way in which he performs over this final month will help them decide in which direction they can and must go at quarterback.
I wrote here a few weeks back that this would be a tough crossroads for Reid, when and if it happened, since he obviously likes Vick and doesn't want to harm Vick's chances of finding a job somewhere else after this season, and since by now it must be apparent to Reid (as it is to everyone else) that he won't be around to coach Foles and the Eagles next year. The question at the time was whether Reid would really do the right thing for a team that appears about to fire him, or stick to his personal guns and keep starting "his guy." At the time, I wrote that I believed Reid was the sort of man who would see it as his job to do what's right for the Eagles franchise until such time as he no longer worked for them. This move is an example of doing just that.
These are obviously tough times for Reid, and the fact that they are the residue of his own mistakes and failures in roster construction and management over the past two years doesn't change that. You learn a lot about people by the way they act under the most difficult circumstances, and Reid certainly is giving the rest of the NFL no reason to change its very high opinion of him as a coach and a person. It's time for the men who run the Eagles to think about the future instead of the present, whether they expect to be a part of that future or not. By anointing Foles the starter for the rest of the year, Reid is simply doing his job.