Is this another dark cloud over Philadelphia sports? Is Carson Wentz’s season ending ACL injury comparable to the collapse of ’64, “Black Friday,” Super Bowl XV, Magic Johnson’s unbelievable Game 6, Bob Nystrom’s off sides goal, Buddy Ryan’s playoff losses, Randall Cunningham’s 1991 injury, Joe Carter’s home run, Scott Stevens hit on Eric Lindros, Joe Jurevicius’s run, Andy Reid’s clock management in Super Bowl XXXIX, Brad Lidge’s collapse in Game 4 against the Yankees, Patrick Kane’s goal and Ryan Howard’s stumble down the first base line?
Those moments ended seasons, or essentially set up heart break. Those infamous Philadelphia moments were final. Wentz suffering a torn ACL is a large speed bump that the 2017 Eagles can overcome.
While only guys such as Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers can replace 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, top notch mobility and glimpses of “Houdini,” Nick Foles isn’t chopped liver.
The 28-year-old’s 2013 season of 27 touchdowns and two interceptions is misleading because the NFL hadn’t figured out Chip Kelly’s offense yet, and Foles played out of his mind for 13 regular season games. Yet, in no way is Foles the same as other Eagle failures such as Kevin Kolb, Matt Barkley, Bobby Hoying, Ty Detmer and Rodney Peete, who won a playoff game by the way.
I wouldn’t even consider Foles a failure. Is he 2010 Michael Vick or Merry Christmas Jeff Garcia?
But, he’s most certainly better than 2002 A.J. Feeley and Monday Night Football San Francisco slinger Koy Detmer.
For some reason, the 28 year-old’s first tenure in Philadelphia is overshadowed by his nightmare experience with Jeff Fisher’s Rams. Those 11 game tapes should be burned, as well as all of his 1-and-5 rookie season under Andy Reid.
Between 2013, 2014 and 2016, Foles is 15-and-4 with 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was pretty good in his playoff loss to the Saints, going 23 of 33 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 105. When the Texas native left the field that night at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles were winning.
When someone throws 2015 or his slight drop off in 2014 in your face, slap it away.
Foles is capable of being a good starting quarterback on a great team and an excellent backup on an elite team. Although he can’t rifle a football, duck defenders and run downfield like Wentz, he can manage a game like a seasoned professional.
If Doug Pederson calls a balanced attack, with a slight lean on the run game, the Eagles will be fine. If Foles can stay fairly protected from the left side of the offensive line, the Birds will be playing football deep into January. If the defense can perform as well as they did in those last few drives against the Rams, there is no reason this team can’t go to Super Bowl LII. At that point in Minneapolis, it’s anybody’s game.
The Eagles’ season is absolutely not over. It’s only begun.
Adversity strikes its ugly rear into the face of a rejuvenated franchise with a die-hard fan base.
No team is handling unforeseen obstacles better than the Eagles this season. They will continue to do so.
Before I forget…
• The 76ers ended their four-game slide by rallying at a really good, young Minnesota Timberwolves team Tuesday night. The Sixers won despite committing 25 turnovers in regulation. If Brett Brown can get his young nucleus to minimize mistakes, they will be a force to reckon with for years to come, which is no secret to you whether you’re a “Hinkie-ite” or not. Joel Embiid has all the tools, including a sick Euro-step. Ben Simmons is a playmaker who is a jump shot away from being a super star. JJ Redick is a great veteran presence and scorer Bryan Colangelo should absolutely re-sign. Robert Covington is a top notch defender that falls under the radar. Dario Saric and TJ McConnell are excellent role players. Richaun Holmes and Trevor Booker are pretty good as well. This team is still young enough to where they might frustrate you with a losing streak that seems avoidable. But once they grow up a little more, watch out.
• The Flyers’ five-game winning streak heading to Saturday night’s matchup against the Dallas Stars puts them two points back of a Wild Card spot, with the New York Rangers playing tonight. After losing 10 in a row, I’m amazed everyday how close this team is to sneaking into the playoff picture. That doesn’t mean Dave Hakstol shouldn’t show more emotion publicly or Ron Hextall should maintain his patience. It’s just nice for a change that there’s decent hockey to watch again in Philadelphia.
• New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler spouted the quote of the week while talking to reporters at baseball’s winter meetings. When asked about what type of managing skills he has wanted to hone, Kapler said he likes environment building, using an analogy that puts coaches, front office people and baseball organization departments as soil, while the players are plants and trees that will grow in that soil, which means the soil needs to be “nutrient dense.” Kapler added that when he thinks about managing a team, he thinks about “being really nutrient dense soil.” Unfortunately, that gem went completely under the radar because the Phils are generating very little buzz right now since general manager Matt Klentak chose not to make a splash for the third year in a row. The GM always emphasizes how the organization is willing to spend. Hopefully for the fan base, that will be sooner rather than later because truth be told, there is a lot of young, blossoming, exciting talent on this team flying under the radar.
Dave Uram is a weekly contributor to Philly Influencer. You can follow him on Twitter (@MrUram) and email him at [email protected].