Tag Archives: oakland raiders

How Can I Measure Up to Anyone Now?

Who are you indeed, Nick Foles?

Only an NFL record-holder, apparently.

Throughout the first half of the NFL season, the major concern in Philadelphia has been whether or not new head coach Chip Kelly’s offense can be successful at the highest level or if it’s a gimmick that will be figured out by the rest of the league in due time.  Hand in hand with that is the issue of who should play quarterback for the Eagles.

The last two weeks, the Eagles have failed to score an offensive touchdown.  After playing well in relief of Michael Vick a few weeks earlier, Foles laid a spectacular egg against the rival Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago.  He put the cherry on top of his crap sundae by getting knocked out of the game after three quarters with a concussion.  Rookie Matt Barkley came into the game and promptly lit Foles’ bag of poop on fire and smothered it all over everyone’s doorstep.

Last week against the lowly New York Giants, Vick returned from his hamstring injury and lasted about a quarter before re-injuring himself, which literally everyone saw coming.  With Foles ruled out, Barkley came in once again and impressed absolutely nobody.

The bellyaching became annoying right away.  “This team has no quarterback!”  “We need a ‘quarterback of the future’!”  “What a waste of a draft pick!”  Et cetera, et cetera.

Obviously, Kelly’s offense needs the right quarterback to function properly.  But is the right quarterback a guy like Vick, who, when healthy, is a threat to take off and score from anywhere on the field?  Or is it someone like Foles, a guy who can move around to escape trouble, but whose legs don’t really scare you?  One thing is for sure: as of now, it’s probably not Barkley.

With Vick out again, Foles returned to the lineup this afternoon in Oakland.  All he did was throw seven touchdown passes.  In three quarters.

Granted, the Raiders aren’t very good.  Maybe they aren’t any good.  But still.  Seven touchdowns is a LOT of touchdowns.  Foles is the seventh player in history to do this; Peyton Manning became the sixth on the first night of the season.  No one has thrown eight.

As a sports fan, I wanted him to go for the record.  As an Eagles fan, the thought of Foles getting hurt and Barkley being forced to start was less than ideal.  Kelly split the difference: Foles went out for the next two series, despite the Eagles leading by 30-plus points.  After a pair of three-and-outs, Foles was taken out of the game.

Aw, man.  But also, whew.

So of course, as they are wont to do, the local sports media is wondering if Foles is the man Kelly’s been looking for.  Two weeks ago, he was terrible and was clearly not the answer.  Seven touchdowns later, maybe he is?  Ugh.  Just stop.

I think that Nick Foles should be the Eagles’ starting quarterback for the next two months.  Beyond that, I don’t know if he’s the Eagles’ quarterback of the future.  I do know that Michael Vick is not.  Why bother going through the charade of picking the quarterback every week?  Sure, health is the number one concern, as Kelly has stated.  But so long as he’s able to stand, and knows where he is, give Foles the job.

Kelly has to consider the fact that a number of guys in the locker room are friends, allies, and supporters of Vick.  He’s their guy, and to relegate him to a backup role could cause some trouble in the ranks.  But at some point, performance speaks for itself, regardless of its effect  on locker room harmony.  Vick hasn’t been able to finish his last two games.  Foles finished off an NFL record-tying performance, and did it in three quarters.

If there’s a guy in the locker room who doesn’t feel that Foles deserves to start next week, maybe that guy is the one who should be holding a clipboard.

Make a Change

The stupidest little things fascinate me.  Tonight’s example is the stadium changeover in Oakland.

Last night, the A’s and Tigers played a playoff baseball game at the O.co Coliseum.  Tonight, the Raiders and Chargers are going to play a football game at the same stadium.  Stadium-sharing situations like that used to be commonplace, but now, the A’s and Raiders are the only teams that play in the same building.

Originally, the Raiders-Chargers game was slated for 1:00 p.m. local time, but because of the time required to change the stadium from its baseball layout to its football configuration, the game was pushed back to 8:30 Pacific.

Apparently, it takes about 24 hours for the changeover, so with the baseball game starting at 6:30ish the night before, the crew was expected to have plenty of time to get everything set.  But in typical “best laid plans” fashion, the A’s and Tigers went into the ninth inning scoreless.  The A’s walked off with a 1-0 win to prevent extra innings, but what if they hadn’t?  What if the game went on until midnight, or 1:00 a.m, or even later?  Would they have finished the changeover in time?  Would the football game have started even later?

That would most likely have been the worst case scenario; I don’t want to run into Raiders fans in broad daylight, let alone get the “Black Hole” fired up (aside: they start tailgating at 7:00 a.m. for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, so…) for a 10:00 p.m. start time.

It sounds like difficult work, but for one night, I would love to join a stadium crew that has to do one of these changeovers.  Like I said, it may be stupid, but to go from one layout to another, filling the same building with tens of thousands of people on back-to-back nights in two different configurations, is fascinating to me.

I am but a simple man.