It seems to be a foregone conclusion that once Michael Vick does return, it will not be in the same role he had when he left.
To many fans the Nick Foles era has already begun in Philadelphia, and with the moves the ownership has made this week, it's clear that the franchise has it's eyes on the future as well.
Before the Eagles and Jeffrey Lurie decide that Foles should be the starter for the remaining five games, however, they should take a second and think if it really is the best thing for the rookie from Arizona.
The logic to starting Foles the rest of the way is strong and hard to argue with- at 3-8, the Eagles season is over and they need to see what they have in Foles. The fact that Vick has not done himself any favors with his play this year, and that he is set to make over $17 million next year, is another strong reason to play Foles. Unless Vick takes a pay cut, he won't be here next year. Even if he does agree to take less money to return to Philadelphia, chances are he still will be shown the door. All of that put together makes the decision appear to be a slam dunk- play Foles and see what he can do.
What he can do, however, under this circumstances might be very different than what he could do next year when the games matter again.
When training camp opens next year, the Eagles will likely have a new head coach, a new offensive philosophy, a new play book and a (hopefully) new and healthy offensive line. What little Foles learns this year by playing will not be worth much next year. With the injuries to this team on the offensive side of the ball, the next five games are going to be nothing more than pre-season games to Foles. The players who will play major roles next year and need to gel with Foles- DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jason Kelce- will not be playing. It is also not a slam dunk that the players Foles will get used to over the next few weeks- Brent Celek, for example- will be back next year.
Lurie needs to ask himself if what he sees from Foles over the next few games is actually going to be used to evaluate him, or if no matter how he plays, Foles will be the starter next year. If Foles is going to be the starter no matter what, then putting Vick back in to finish out the season might not be the worst idea. Let Foles take some time, process what he has seen these past few weeks, learn from the sideline, and get ready for training camp. Protecting him from injury is also another reason Foles being on the sideline might not be a bad idea.
Another reason going back to Vick might be a good idea is that the Eagles are not doing themselves any favors by putting Foles on display. He has looked average at best over the past two games, with his accuracy clearly a concern to anyone that watches him. Jon Gruden ripped into Foles time and time again on Monday night, saying the rookie is late with his throws and needs to do a better job reading the defense. If Foles does not improve over the next few games, it's fair to ask if a top-notch coaching candidate is going to want to come in and take a job with a major questions at quarterback.
The motive behind going back to Vick is not one that is rooted in giving the veteran quarterback another chance. Going back to Vick might be in the best interest of Foles.
Going back to Vick is not the easy decision, it is not the popular decision, and it might not even be the right one. But it should at least be considered by Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks