By Steven Keys

Some call it a quandary, a quarterback conundrum in Eagles-land.

With two 6’5” Pro-Bowl signal-callers likely to be vying for the champion E-Birds starters spot come summer camp, one of them a would-be AP-MVP if not for a late-season ACL tear (Carson Wentz), the other, the reigning SB52 Most Valuable (Nick Foles), Philadelphia’s head coach Doug Pederson looks to have a tough choice on his soon-to-be bejeweled hands.

Pederson & Co. are envy of the League, one where at least a dozen other clubs wished they’d had such a dilemma to deal with this NFL off-season.

But don’t count the Minnesota Vikings, even as the team Philadelphia vanquished in last January’s NFCC, in amongst the wishers.

With three capable quarterbacks rostered, counting most recent starter Case Keenum, a rehabbed from his most recent injury, veteran Sam Bradford (just nine months older than CK) and the youngest of the group, Teddy Bridgewater who’ll be entering his 3rd NFL season after having lost the starter’s spot to his own injury and Bradford signing, Minnesota has their own field general quandary to quell.

Contract maneuvers aside, I’d tab Keenum.

Bradford’s always been a skilled pro and mentally focused but is now looking egg-shell and Teddy, in 28 starts (17-11), didn’t appear to have the matriculatory skill-set to move Minnesota into the upper echelon of contenders (28t-22i).

Keenum has 40 starts under his belt (20-19 / 1-1), put up strong numbers in 2017 (11-3, 67.6C%, 22t-7i, 3550y, 7.4 ypc), inspired on an incalculable capability (NFCD18) and is in his prime, having just turned 30 in February (2.17.88).

The Chiefs, you should count them in with the wishers.

The sorry state of affairs in quarterback commodity makes Kansas City’s call to part-ways with the capable Alex Smith perplexing to say the least. Smith is aging (34 in May) but then so is his former head coach in Andy Reid who turns 60 in March.

Alex is a veritable youngster compared to NFL stalwarts like Brady (40) and Brees (39) and had a strong 2017, going 9-6 on a 67.5C%, over 4000 passing yards and a super 26-5 TD-ratio. Chiefs lost their lone playoff contest versus the Titans but Smith played his part pretty well (24-33, 264, 2-0, 4sks). Go figure a franchise that hasn’t been to the Big Game since Stram (70). And with Gruden back in Oakland-Vegas, that Super drought may get drier.










For the Eagles part, instinct would have you think an abundance of proven signal-callers in camp is a dicey state best to be avoided, but the NFL does have its case histories showing a wealth of quarterbacks can be a good thing.

The dual signal-caller system was in place with the original Los Angeles Rams from 1949 to 1952, the Bob Waterfield  Norm Van Brocklin dynamic duo producing four NFL championship contests with one title realized (1951).

The 49ers of the late 80s, early 90s began their dynasty with Joe Montana at the helm and added Steve Young to the roster for a fifth and final title in 1995. Steve didn’t sub much during Joe’s reign but they did co-exist on active-duty for four seasons  (87-90).

Around the same time as Joe & Steve in SanFran, the Giants had a quarterback tandem of their own going with Simms & Hostetler, Phil leading the New Yorkers offensively in their SB21 (87) win over the Broncos and then had the baton passed to Jeff who called the winning plays in SB25 against the Bills.

So it’s been done before, the duality thing. But player contracts control. The basics: Wentz signed a 4-year deal in spring 2016 for $27M, Foles a 2-year term in early 2017 for $11M.

Barring the bizarre like player holdout or a contract-term permitting Philly to avoid the dilemma and part ways with one of their two starter QBs before the season begins, both men will be rostered for the entirety of 2018-19.

But whether it’s the rostered versus trade-bait or starter versus sideliner debate, Nick Foles should get the nod in either discussion.

For starters (no pun), the man is no playoff fluke.

Foles has earned his spurs, not only of the post-season variety but has proven himself to be a capable regular season quarterback as well when he went 14-4 on a 62C% as an Eagles’ starter spanning the 2013-14 campaigns.












Carson is younger (25 > 29) but Foles is healthier, has been shipped out of The City of Brotherly Love once before (2014), has a regular season career mark of 22-17 (Wentz 18-11), is 3-1 in the post-season and is now imbued with the aura of a pro-football Titlist, sans as many as the 352 dimples (Titleist® Pro V1).

It’s all been a bad break for Wentz.

Sure, Carson can wear his Super Bowl 52 ring with pride in knowing he played a big part in getting the Philadelphia Eagles to a playoff position where they controlled their own destiny on home-field advantage and in imbuing his teammates with a confidence, a winning spirit needed to close the deal against New England.

But the knee injury derailed an MVP-like season and it’s the quarterback who hoists the Vince Lombardi trophy who gets the love. Add to that, we don’t really know exactly how well Wentz will play once he hits the turf with his repaired knee. Recent history does bode well, though. showing that the medical community nowadays is doing wonderful things in the orthopedic department as Adrian Peterson can attest.

And maybe the Philadelphia Eagles go all in, strategize like a real champion by taking a page outta’ the old Los Angeles Rams’ playbook in implementing a true, dual-QB system. Not so crazy when you consider both their current #1 and #2 signal-callers are battle-tested, highly capable and have the trust of their teammates.

Bottomline: These Eagles should count their blessings. They’ve already done the unthinkable and achieved the goal of every owner, GM, coach, player and fan in the League: Win the Super Bowl, and did so in besting the best club of the past twenty years. Anything from here on in should be gravy, pure gravy. That means they can roll the dice, take some reasonable risks, keep both Carson and Nick, for a time, see how it plays out and HAVE SOME FUN.

Photo credit: D.Pederson, wc.cca, 1.19.16, PressCon, T.Johhson; N.Foles, SB52-VictoryParade, .2.8.18, GovWolf, wc; C.Wentz, .9.10.17, wc, K.Allison, Hanover-MD; H.Jackson, ToppsChewingGum, 1970.
Posted: 2.20.18 @ 11:06pE; Copyright © 2018

Filed under: NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

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