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Current version of Foles unlikely to lead Eagles to Super Bowl

Unlike last year, Nick Foles right now does not look like a quarterback with the skills to compete for a Super Bowl.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)Read more

MY TAKE: Nick Foles' performance is why a lot of people aren't as excited as they might be over the Eagles' 4-1 start.

Yes, there are other problems, but the biggest one, long-term, is the growing sense that the Eagles might not really have their franchise quarterback, after all. You don't win a Super Bowl without very good-to-great quarterbacking. It was easy to envision a team growing and maturing and winning it all someday soon behind the 2013 Foles. It's impossible to envision that behind the 2014 Foles.

Coming into this season, I thought the Eagles were maybe a year away from a real Super Bowl push, with Foles needing seasoning, and the team needing a good defensive draft and maybe a little more free-agency help at cornerback or outside linebacker. If Foles is just a guy, a taller Austin Davis, that timetable takes a serious hit.

It's easy to talk of Chip Kelly somehow drafting Oregon's Marcus Mariota, but that almost certainly isn't happening. Right now, Mariota would be the first player taken in the 2015 draft. The Eagles probably wouldn't pick first even if they lost their remaining 11 games. The team that finishes last will want Mariota. If somehow that team doesn't want him, the team that finishes next-to-last will, and that team also will not be the Eagles.

Trade? Nobody will give you a franchise QB pick for a so-so-looking Foles and a first-round selection spot that probably will be in the 20s.

So, what then? Mark Sanchez as the franchise, Super Bowl-caliber QB? I dunno, but many thousands of Jets fans would fall over laughing if the Eagles went that way. Matt Barkley? Hardly.

Some people reference what Kelly did at Oregon and assert that he can win with any quarterback. Yeah, Chip could probably figure out a way to beat the Jaguars with emergency QB Brad Smith. But the Eagles aren't facing the Jaguars in the Super Bowl anytime soon.

If you're an Eagles fan who wants to see another Super Bowl appearance, you'd better hope Foles figures things out. I still think he has the attributes of a franchise QB off the field, and last year he proved that, under certain conditions, he can make the necessary throws. This season, defenses have changed those conditions, and Foles' slow feet have become a huge problem. Faced with either holding on to the ball too long or getting the ball out with his feet not set, Foles Sunday chose to get the ball out. No sacks, but duck city.

"I think sometimes when it happens, there's a rush, and he's trying to slide to the right or slide to the left, not setting his feet when he slides, in terms of staying on top of it, staying in a good platform to throw the ball," Kelly said yesterday, after watching the game tape.

Asked about correcting this, Kelly said: "I think it's fixable. It's just a matter of drill work, fundamentals, doing a lot of movement drills. Bill [Musgrave, the Eagles' QB coach] does a really nice job with it from that standpoint. We just have to get [Foles] where he's real comfortable there."

Asked why this problem didn't happen as much last year, Kelly said, "I don't think we had as much pressure last year, to be honest with you."

One of Kelly's favorite quotes is from former Browns coach Sam Rutigliano: "With a quarterback, it's like a tea bag. You don't know what you have until you put it in hot water."

Developing story lines

* On the Rams' second series, Casey Matthews met the runner in the hole, then on the next play blitzed and forced an incompletion. Seriously.

* Rewatching the game, I saw that the Eagles' defense really dominated for three quarters, with the best pass-rush pressure of the season. But as Bill Davis noted, once he went to zone coverage and no blitzing, it was like flipping a switch. No pressure, receivers running free everywhere. Cause for hope is that if the "D" can play that way for more than 40 minutes, surely it can eventually play that way for 60.

* Eagles opponents have thrown for 13 touchdowns, with three interceptions. Nick Foles has eight TDs and five interceptions.

* The Eagles have four special-teams touchdowns, and three rushing touchdowns this season.

* The Giants come in this weekend having won three in a row, by an average margin of 18 points.

Who knew?

That taking a bathroom break during the opponent's first punt of the game would leave you running back into the living room yelling, "What happened??!!" 2 weeks in a row?

Obscure stat

Trent Cole's forced fumble, achieved on his 32nd birthday, was his third this season and the 20th of his Eagles career.

Extra point

Chip Kelly made the point that Brandon Boykin played all 26 fourth-quarter defensive snaps for the Eagles on Sunday, presumably as a way of parrying criticism of the coaching staff for not playing Boykin over Cary Williams or Bradley Fletcher outside.

Of course, the fact Boykin was on the field, and, in fact, broke up a big third-down pass on the Rams' final drive, doesn't mean the Eagles wouldn't have been better off with him playing outside. Part of Kelly's point is that if you move Boykin outside, you don't have anybody you can plug in at nickel who really has a feel for the role. He noted that Nolan Carroll was on the field for 21 of those snaps, when the Eagles were playing dime, partly because they were short of linebackers after DeMeco Ryans left because of a groin injury.

"I think our guys are there; they just have to do a better job of making a play on the ball," Kelly said.