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Weapon X Mailbag: Who’s your favorite Eagles backup quarterback ever?

Plus: What’s your Week 1 prediction?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Minshew Mania! Jalen Hurts QB1! Deshaun Watson seemingly out of the picture! The vibes are good for the Eagles right now.

Let’s hit this week’s questions...

@Waldo_Vince: I still want to know why Joe Flacco is here but also I love the Minshew get. Jalen Hurts is the guy but not being 1 injury away from Flacco makes me very relieved. Anyway who’s your favorite backup QB? For me it’s always Koy Detmer.

My favorite Eagles quarterback is the only Super Bowl MVP in the history of the franchise. Nick Foles is a god in Philadelphia. This is probably the easiest question I’ve ever gotten in this mailbag.

The backup quarterback is said to always be the most popular guy in town and that’s even more true in Philly. Backup QBs have gotten a ton of action for the Eagles.

Five times in the last 15 seasons, an Eagles quarterback has started a playoff game despite not being the team’s starter in Week 1:

2006: Donovan McNabb is the Week 1 starter. Jeff Garcia saves the day.

2010: Kevin Kolb is the Week 1 starter. Michael Vick saves the day.

2013: Vick is the Week 1 starter. Nick Foles saves the day.

2017: Carson Wentz is the Week 1 starter. Foles saves the day AGAIN.

2018: Wentz is the Week 1 starter. Foles saves the day YET AGAIN.

Let me do a little ranking of my favorite Eagles backup signal-callers:

5. Gardner Minshew

I was already a Minshew stan before the Eagles swung a trade for him over the weekend. Setting aside highly touted rookies like Trey Lance and Justin Fields, Minshew is the best backup quarterback in the league.

He’s yet to play a snap for the Birds, but I already ordered his Washington State shirsey. I don’t like rocking merch for non-Eagles, so that deal with the Jaguars now allows me to support him. I’m sure you’ll see the shirt pop up at some point this year in one of the BGN YouTube videos.

4. Jim McMahon

My dad was a high school quarterback in the ‘80s before going on to play college ball. He thought he was Jim McMahon, right down to the headband.

After winning a Super Bowl in Chicago, McMahon found himself as Randall Cunningham’s backup in Philly, going 8-3 as starter in 1991 following a catastrophic Week 1 injury for Randall.

Much like the Minshew, the juice was through the roof for McMahon. Hell, he looks like he could be Minshew’s uncle:

3. Koy Detmer

Koy Detmer makes the list just for this WILD celebration he would do following a big play:

2. Jeff Garcia

The precursor to the magic we would later see with Foles, Jeff Garcia led to this legendary declaration from Eagles superfan Larry Poffer:

The fact that this video surfaced as the 2017 season began, a year a backup QB would finally lead the Eagles to the Promised Land, is all too poetic.

1. Nick Foles

My life is likely different in every possible way if not for Foles playing like Tom Brady (and actually OUTPLAYING Tom Brady) during the 2017 playoffs. Foles forever.

@DannySaladfish: Flacco vs Minshew battle, Who wins both the QB2 spot and the facial hair battle?

Minshew all the way. The Eagles would have a way better chance of stealing a win if Hurts gets injured with Minshew. Given his mobility, Minshew would be infinitely more entertaining to watch too. It’s a win-win.

Joe Flacco can’t match this energy:

@alex252: I’m not asking for number of wins, but can the Eagles be competitive for a playoff spot til Week 17?

The Eagles will be on the road against Washington in Week 17 and at home against the Cowboys in the regular season finale.

The Birds were still in the NFC East race as late as Week 16 last year, their second-to-last game of the year down in Dallas.

The 2021 Eagles are better than the 2020 Eagles. This division still stinks, though maybe it’s not the worst division in history like it was last year. Even if they’re limping into January with a sub-.500 record, the playoffs could still be in the mix given that it is the NFC East.

@EHyungNim: Some Queztions:

-Is he going to lead (on paper, of course) Iggle WRs in catches this year, especially if he does a lot of slot work?

-Fantasy Outlook Thoughts?

-How many more years does Howie secure his job is Quez is the best player from the Eagles’ 2020 class?

I don’t think there’s any shot Quez Watkins leads the team in receptions. It looks like Hurts is going to utilize his tight ends a healthy amount and the offense will likely be built around getting DeVonta Smith the ball a ton.

If you’re in a deeper PPR league, he might be worth grabbing with your last non-kicker, non-defense pick, but there could easily be better wideout options for you. It might need to be a wait-and-see approach in terms of Watkins’s fantasy value.

As for him saving Howie Roseman’s job, isn’t it all relative? Watkins being a competent starting receiver won’t cancel things out if Jalen Reagor is a complete bust, the Jalen Hurts experience doesn’t work out and Davion Taylor never sees the field.

@SwaggyMitch: I’m getting vibes of 2015 where I thought Eagles would crush Atlanta “The Kiko Alonso game.” Sadly we couldn’t get it done. What’s your prediction for Week 1?

What stands out to me in comparing the 2015 Birds and this year’s squad is the complete difference in expectations. After the Eagles’ infamous preseason game in Green Bay paired with the thought that Chip Kelly could unlock Sam Bradford, the hype was out of control (I wrote and podcasted about that preseason earlier in the month).

I was a senior in college that season. I was a part of that hype! That Week 1 Monday Night Football contest in Atlanta was actually the first game I ever bet on. In a sign of things to come, I lost because of the Eagles.

Kiko Alonso had an outrageously sick one-handed interception early, but the entire 2015 campaign went on a downward trajectory from there. Bradford was as mediocre as ever. Byron Maxwell was day-old burnt toast. DeMarco Murray was a loser who slid instead of fighting for a first time and taking on a hit. Kelly lacked any sense of social norms and wasn’t able to communicate with his players. That season sucked.

While Atlanta didn’t make the playoffs that season, they did make the Super Bowl the following year behind an MVP campaign from Matt Ryan. They were good!

It was a case of an overrated team running into a team on the rise.

This year? Those roles don’t fit.

I’ve seen national pundits say the Eagles are not just one of the worst teams in the league, but one that could finish with the worst record overall. Bleacher Report ranked Jalen Hurts as the 31st-best starting quarterback in the NFL. This is not a case of Bradford getting preseason MVP buzz. Nick Sirianni was clowned for his opening press conference after being named head coach. People thought Chip Kelly was a football messiah.

As for the Falcons team the Eagles will face on the road next weekend, Ryan is six years older (now 36) and Julio Jones is gone. Atlanta actually had a worse record (4-12 compared to 4-11-1) than the Birds in 2020.

I think Eagles fans were cocky as hell in 2015, expecting the team to go down there and spank the Falcons the same way the Eagles did against Washington in Week 1 in 2013. The Birds were actually 2.5-point road favorites! That bravado isn’t there this year.

I think they go down there and win. It won’t be some blowout. There’s a mysterious surrounding how Sirianni’s offense will look, which is in their favor. Atlanta had a below-average pass defense in 2020, something that could help Jalen Hurts get into a rhythm in his first Week 1 start.

There are always a couple of Week 1 surprises across the league. The Eagles are overlooked, but they have, at worst, top-10 units on the offensive and defensive lines. They should be able to hang in most games.

For now, I’ll say it’s a 24-20 win where Jalen Hurts leads a drive late in the fourth quarter that puts the Eagles over the top.