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Who, what, why of Eagles QB situation

Nick Foles' terrible game against the Cowboys creates more questions for the Eagles.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Michael Perez/AP)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Michael Perez/AP)Read more

IT HAD BEEN more than 20 hours, and the most frustrating thing for Eagles coach Chip Kelly was that he still wasn't any closer to understanding why quarterback Nick Foles played so brutally against the Dallas Cowboys.

A review of the film confirmed what everyone had seen live during the Birds' 17-3 beatdown by Dallas on Sunday.

Foles was as horrible as everyone thought - playing out of sync; making poor decisions; missing open receivers; and generally stinking up Lincoln Financial Field.

But figuring out "why" something happened is often more critical in these situations than "what" actually happened.

And as of yesterday, the only person with an answer for that was Foles.

Kelly talked to Foles after the game, but the conversation was limited to how the second-year quarterback was feeling after suffering a concussion.

Yesterday was the players' day off and Kelly did not talk to anyone about the specifics of what happened on Sunday.

Presumably, that will happen this morning when the quarterbacks and coaches meet to review the game film together.

Then Foles can offer an explanation - if he even has one.

"Quarterbacks play good one week and not good the next week, yeah, [I've seen that],'' Kelly conceded.

Still, what Foles did was one of the most baffling 180-degree turns in recent Eagles history.

After he was named NFC offensive player of the week for his performance in a win at Tampa Bay, Foles appeared to be brimming with confidence and eager to accept the challenge of leading the Birds against Dallas in a battle for sole possession of first in the NFC East.

Nobody saw 11 of 29 for 80 yards with a passer rating of 46.2.

Nobody envisioned Foles receiving such a prime opportunity to make a claim for the current and future spot as the Eagles' quarterback and coughing up a gigantic hairball.

It still begs for an answer: Why?

Let's be honest, the most dramatic conclusion is that Foles tightened up when faced with the tremendous pressure of having to perform in the biggest game of his young career.

But Kelly wasn't going there.

"I didn't see that," he said. "That's my feeling, but I haven't spoken to him [Foles] about it.

"Nick has never struck me as a guy that the moment kind of catches him. He came off the bench against the Giants without taking a snap and led us on a drive in 2 minutes to get a field goal in a critical situation.

"I saw him play in college, and I don't think I ever remember seeing Nick get overwhelmed by a moment."

That's what makes this all the more intriguing. It really could be as simple as Foles just had an awful day.

It happens. Every quarterback, no matter how good, has a few of those putrid performances on the resume that they would love to forget.

Foles is the only one who truly knows why things went down the way they did, and wouldn't you like to be the bug on the wall this morning when the Eagles' coaches break down the film with him and start asking "Why?"

Of course, there is a chance that Foles might not be able to attend practice if he does not pass a concussion baseline test.

The situation with Foles is magnified because of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Eagles in Kelly's first season.

A lot of fans wanted Foles to perform well against Dallas because it would have helped close the debate a bit more about whether 33-year-old quarterback Michael Vick should regain the starting job once he returns healthy from his hamstring strain.

If you look at it logically, Vick seems to have a role in the Eagles' rebuilding and finding out about Foles would seem to be more imperative.

Still, if you are Kelly and you've been working these players hard for several months, you can't honestly just tell them that this is about next season and beyond - not when the Eagles are still 3-4 and just a game behind Dallas in the East.

I'm not in that locker room so it is easy for me to say this season doesn't matter.

If Foles didn't have a concussion, I'd be inclined to start him against the Giants on Sunday just to see how he would respond to his first true moment of adversity.

But this is a winnable game for the Birds, and frankly, after what Foles did, how can you not go back to Vick if he is healthy enough to play?

"It's all based on what [Vick's] health is," Kelly said at his media conference yesterday. "Just because one guy got hurt that doesn't make another guy get healthy quicker."

But earlier during his Monday radio bit on 94.1-WIP, Kelly said, "It would be a big help if we could get him [Vick] back this week."

We all know what Nick Foles did, but understanding why could go a long way toward determining how the rest of this season plays out.