The Eagles were eliminated from playoff contention after losing to Washington on Saturday night and the Cowboys’ blowout victory over the Colts on Sunday. Eagles’ quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled with turnovers after taking over for Nick Foles, and the team lost three in a row after starting the season 9-3.
Foles was not spectacular while he was playing either, showing alarming regression from an unsustainable 2013 season. Looking forward, head coach Chip Kelly will need to get better quarterback play in order to continue to succeed in the NFL. However, if he is unable to develop Foles, the organization may have to look outward for better quarterback play.
Still, finding an upgrade at quarterback will prove difficult for the team, writes Mike Sando of ESPN. Sando looks at some of their options if they do decide to add to their depth chart at the position.
Sitting at nine wins, even a loss in Week 17 will likely leave the Eagles out of the running for Kelly’s former superstar Marcus Mariota. The Oregon quarterback will not be likely to last to where the Eagles end up selecting. Sando also believes trading up for him would be unlikely. Even considering his familiarity with Kelly, the Eagles might be unwilling to pay the price to go up and get him near the top of the draft.
Among the most experienced and accomplished free agent quarterbacks, Sanchez remains at the top of that list. Matt Hasselbeck and Michael Vick are the best options in terms of stop-gap quarterbacks who have won in the NFL. Sando points out the team could target a young but failed quarterback in hopes of developing him. Among those are Jimmy Clausen, Christian Ponder, Colt McCoy, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, and Ryan Mallett. Those options probably don’t represent a better choice than sticking with Foles.
Sando does include a number of more veteran quarterbacks, but their chances of succeeding are uninspired at best. Not many will consider Matt Flynn, Jason Campbell, or Brian Hoyer as a legitimate quarterback to improve the Eagles’ situation.
The only other option outside of Foles and Sanchez is hoping that a quarterback becomes available. Jay Cutler is the biggest name as of right now, as his situation in Chicago is volatile at best as long as Marc Trestman is coaching the team. Robert Griffin III is less likely to become available, and it is unlikely that Washington would be willing to trade him to a divisional rival. A third option would be Matt Schaub, which would be uninspired after not being able to start a single game for the Raiders in 2014.
For these reasons, Sando believes that the Eagles are best off staying put with Foles, Sanchez, or both in 2015. The continuity will bring more advantages than any other question mark quarterback they could bring in, and if Kelly adjusts his offense to put less pressure on the quarterback, the Eagles could see more efficient and consistent quarterback play next year.