Nick Foles entered the preseason as the Eagles' No. 3 quarterback and will exit as the No. 2, a promotion that came after Foles' standout effort during the last three weeks and Mike Kafka's lingering hand injury.
"He's in that position right now, yeah," coach Andy Reid said Tuesday when asked if Foles is the top backup. Pressed for clarification, Reid emphasized it's the standing at this time.
"Right now, that's what he is," Reid said. "He's the one that's going to play and start [Thursday's] game."
Foles, who started last week's game in Cleveland in starter Michael Vick's absence, will start again on Thursday against the Jets, with Vick sitting out the preseason finale. Foles is scheduled to play one quarter and Trent Edwards the final three.
That means Kafka, who entered camp as the backup quarterback, will not play and might see his job taken by Foles.
When Reid was asked if Foles is the No. 2 regardless of whether Kafka was healthy, Reid focused only on the current situation.
"You asked me right now," Reid said. "I can't get any clearer than that."
There is no telling how the depth chart would read if Kafka was healthy, and there's no telling if Kafka will make the roster. He has not played since the first preseason game because of a broken left hand. Kafka has taken some snaps in practice this week, but his hand is too tender to show the coaches any more than they've already seen.
"I know him well enough, I think, to be able to make that evaluation," Reid said of Kafka.
Foles has clearly played well enough to earn the No. 2 job. He has completed 63 percent of his passes for 507 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. Foles demonstrated a command of the offense and a feel for the game that most rookies do not. His biggest transition might be adjusting to a backup role that could require relief appearances after a college career during which he was the starter.
"It's definitely different, but we've all played this game a long time," Foles said. "I'll have the headset in when [Vick] is playing, and me and the other quarterbacks will be visualizing the play and visualizing what we'd do in that situation."
Vick and Foles are locks to make the roster. The final spot will go to either Kafka or Edwards. Without Kafka in Thursday's game, Edwards will have one last chance to impress the coaching staff. But both might be competing for the No. 3 job with Foles as the backup.
Westbrook retires an Eagle
Former Pro Bowl running back Brian Westbrook will retire as an Eagle during a ceremony Wednesday. Westbrook, 32, played for the Eagles from 2002 to 2009. He is second in team history in rushing yards with 5,995 and third in receptions with 426 and total touchdowns with 68.
"I think the world of the guy, and he is one of the smartest players I ever coached," Reid said.
The Eagles will honor Westbrook at halftime of the Dec. 23 game against the Washington Redskins. Tra Thomas and Brian Dawkins, longtime teammates of Westbrook's, also have retired with the team this offseason.
Starters to sit
The Eagles will sit their starters and key reserves, such as Jason Avant, during Thursday's preseason finale. The only starter who will play is new first-team linebacker Akeem Jordan, who will take the field for one or two series.
Defensive end Jason Babin, safety Nate Allen, wide receiver Riley Cooper, and linebacker Casey Matthews will not dress because of injuries.
Babin, who has not played during the preseason, voiced confidence Tuesday that his strained calf will be healthy in time for him to play in the regular season opener.
Tackle Jason Peters was placed on the non-football injuries list Monday. He could start practicing with the team between weeks six and nine, and Reid said Tuesday there's a "slim" chance that Peters could play this season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon twice during the offseason. . . . Former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil attended Tuesday's practice.