Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has named rookie Nick Foles the team's starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 regular season.
"It gives one of your players the opportunity to play here, the next four games, as a starter," Reid said via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Each week, he's been the replacement guy. Now he is the starter, we'll see how he does with that on his plate, see how he handles it. I don't expect much change there with him."
Foles was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft out of the University of Arizona and has completed 60.9 percent of 133 pass attempts for 793 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in the three-plus games since replacing Michael Vick, who suffered a concussion in a Nov. 11 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In Sunday night's 38-33 loss to the Cowboys, Foles completed 22 of 34 attempts for a career-high 251 yards with one touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 96.9, his highest rating of his four-game career.
Foles being named the starter for the final month of the regular season could mean that Vick's career with the Eagles is over. Vick has three seasons and $47.5 million remaining on the five-year, $80 million contract he signed on Aug. 30, 2011. Vick's contract includes $15.5 million in base salary in 2013, $3 million of which is currently guaranteed for injury only. If Vick is on the Eagles' roster on the second day of the 2013 waiver period, which normally begins the day after the Super Bowl, the $3 million will become fully guaranteed. The Eagles could avoid paying that $3 million by releasing a healthy Vick before that clause is triggered and not playing Vick in the four remaining games would ensure that he is at optimum health for his exit physical.
"I did speak to him, and he was very positive about it. He completely understood. He's on board," Reid said of Vick's reaction to the decision.
In addition to the quarterback announcement, the Eagles also relieved defensive line coach Jim Washburn of his duties on Monday.
"Jim is a fine football coach and we appreciate the efforts he gave to this team over the past two years," Reid said in a statement released by the club. "However, I determined that it was in the team's best interest that we move in a different direction in terms of trying to maximize the production of that position group. We look forward to having Tommy Brasher back on board to work with the defensive line."
Hired in 2011, Washburn brought the "Wide-Nine" and 2010 Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin with him to Philadelphia. With 18 sacks, Babin led the Eagles' pass rush that got to opposing quarterbacks 50 times, but the front four alignment gave up too many big plays in the running game. This season, Philadelphia's pass rush has produced just 20 sacks through 12 games and Babin, who has a team-high 5.5 sacks, was released last week. Washburn was reportedly "livid" that Babin had been waived and had threatened to quit over the transaction, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Replacing Washburn will be Tommy Brasher, who coached the Eagles' defensive line from 1999 until his retirement in 2005.
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