Nick Foles’ season is over.
Eagles coach Andy Reid revealed during his news conference today that the rookie quarterback suffered a hairline fracture in his right hand during a 27-20 loss to Washington on Sunday.
Foles, who had started the last six games, will not play in next Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New York Giants in East Rutherford. Michael Vick is expected to replace him.
“There’s a very good chance Mike will be the starter,” Reid said in quotes provided by the team. “That’s what we’re looking at now. I had a chance to talk with him this morning and he’s excited about it. He obviously deserves that opportunity to play.”
Vick has not played since sustaining a concussion against Dallas on Nov. 11. He was was cleared to play last week, but Reid made him the third-string quarterback behind Foles and Trent Edwards for their Dec. 13 game against Cincinnati and then chose to deactivate him against the Redskins.
Vick watched from the sidelines in a warmup suit with the other inactives Sunday as Foles came up just short of executing a last-second comeback.
After the game, Foles insisted that his hand injury, which was originally diagnosed as a contusion, was not serious and did not affect his performance. He hurt his hand late in the first half but played the entire game. He completed 32-of-48 passes for 345 yards and a touchdown but also threw an interception and lost a fumble. On the final drive, he came up short on a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the end zone.
He conducted his entire post-game news conference with his hands clasped behind his back.
“I have to eliminate mistakes,” Foles said after the game. “I fumbled and threw an interception. It’s the quarterback’s job to make sure that we get more points on the board than the other team and I didn’t do my job. It’s frustrating because I’m hard on myself and I want to win.”
The injury, which is a hairline fracture of the second metacarpel, will deprive the Eagles of getting one more look at Foles to determine his status for next season and beyond.
At times, the third-round draft pick performed like a franchise quarterback. After a rough start as Vick’s replacement, the 23-year-old made steady progress as a passer and a leader.
He exhibited both qualities at Tampa Bay on Dec. 9, when he led the Eagles on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives and clinched a 23-21 victory over the Buccaneers with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Maclin on the final play.
“He’s so poised, man,” running back LeSean McCoy said after Sunday’s game. “His attitude in the huddle and his leadership are impressive. You really can’t tell he’s a rookie. Everything is always positive and he’s motivational all the time. I can see in the future he can be an outstanding quarterback. I can definitely see that in the future.”
But there have also been setbacks with Foles. He completed just 16-of-33 passes and threw a crucial interception in a 34-13 loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 13. The 6-foot-6, 243-pounder committed two more turnovers against the Redskins to increase his season total to eight (five interceptions, three fumbles).
His future could also depend on the coaching staff. If Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg somehow are retained, Foles will be fine. They have tailored the game plans to Foles’ strengths.
“I think that’s what you do when you have a quarterback out there,” Foles said after the game. “I know I feel comfortable with the plays we were running, so that’s always important.
“If I were a coach, that’s what I would do, and I know that’s the philosophy for a lot of coordinators. Yeah, we always talk about the plays and if I’m comfortable with them. It’s huge being a quarterback and being on the same page as your coach.”
He may have trouble getting on the same page with a new coach, however.
If owner Jeffrey Lurie fires Reid as expected and hires someone such as San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who is a Ventnor native and Holy Spirit High School graduate, or University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Foles’ lack of mobility would pose a problem.
“I think Nick is a very good quarterback,” Reid said today. “He’s a quarterback that gives your team an opportunity to win. He just needs to play. Just play and get that experience.
“Each week I think the game slowed down for him. He’s been dealing with some unique situations and he needs to work through those. But he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t make same mistake twice, which is important at this level. He learns from his mistakes. It will help him in his future down the road.”
Note: Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks both suffered concussions against the Redskins. The rookies’ status will be updated later this week.
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