It makes no sense for Andy Reid to start Nick Foles over Michael Vick, so the fact that he's forced to could be useful for the Eagles franchise.
There are few premises we likely have to accept about the Eagles franchise at present. They aren't making the playoffs this season. As a result, it could very likely mean the end of Michael Vick's time here. Continuing on that path, it makes sense to see what your young players can do as you evaluate for next season. So starting Nick Foles makes a lot of sense. Maybe he can play, maybe he can't... but it would be nice to know before we have to make a decision on the future.
Problem is, for the man in charge of making the decisions there might not be a future. Jeff Lurie laid down the gauntlet this offseason that another year out of the playoffs was "unacceptable." He specifically did not extend Reid's contract beyond next season despite overtures from Reid's agent. The message was clear. So for Andy Reid, what sense does it make to start evaluating for the future?
Michael Vick is a better QB than Nick Foles right now. I don't even see that as an opinion. It's a fact. Michael Vick gives this team a better chance to win right now. Therefore, for a coach that needs to win right now, the only sensible decision is to continue to play Vick.
That's why Vick's injury forcing Reid to play Foles could be a good thing for the future of the franchise. If Vick was healthy, you can pretty certain that he'd be the starter. But with him out, Reid has no choice but to turn to Foles and in doing so is very likely giving his successor valuable game tape on which to base his decision about the future at QB on.
If/when a new coach comes in, figuring out what to do at QB will be his #1 priority. It may be that he decides to stick with Vick, maybe he moves to Foles or maybe he decides to go in a different direction altogether... but as a new head coach, your tenure is almost always defined by that one decision. Without the chance to evaluate Foles on film, the difficulty of that decision skyrockets for whoever that new guy happens to be.
So barring some sort of miracle recovery, Foles will get at least this one start. He'll get a full week of practice with the first team, he'll get a gameplan all his own and will generally be in a much better position than he was Sunday coming in off the bench. It's still only one game and his first NFL start, but we'll at least be able to start to form an opinion on what kind of player he can be going forward. If he gets 2 or 3 starts... it will be that much better.
Turning back to the current coach... Reid gave his assessment of the rookie QB today.
"He did a nice job of keeping his eyes down the field when he was under pressure. He had a couple of nice plays there. There were a couple of plays there that he'd like to have back, but I thought he did a pretty good job with that. I thought he got the ball out on time. He handled pressure well when it was in his face and he didn't move."
But he also made it clear, Michael Vick remains the starting QB and when he gets back, the job will be his. And for Reid, that makes perfect sense. For the Eagles franchise? Maybe not.