The Philadelphia Eagles don't have a quarterback controversy for the first time in years. Thanks to Nick Foles leading the Eagles to the NFC East title a year ago, he has earned the right to be in the driver's seat. Nevertheless, if Foles comes back down to Earth, Mark Sanchez is there to fill the gap, as Philadelphia saw in the first half of its 34-28 loss to the Chicago Bears on August 8.
Foles only threw two interceptions in 10 starts all of last year. But against the Bears, he threw two interceptions in just over a quarter of work. He did go six-for-nine for 44 yards, yet the Eagles didn't get a touchdown in any of his drives.
Philadelphia did get two scores when Sanchez took the field, however. After being benched all of last season with the Jets, the Eagles' preseason opener was his longest stretch of playing time in almost two years. He took advantage by going seven-for-10 with no touchdowns, but with no interceptions and with two touchdown drives under his belt.
The Eagles completed a three-touchdown second quarter when rookie Josh Huff returned a kickoff for 102 yards in the final minute of the first half. Without DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia needs a kickoff returner as well as a fresh big play threat, so perhaps Huff can at least fill out the former position.
However, the Bears proved that the Eagles need fresher legs on defense most of all. Chicago does have a faster paced offense under second-year coach Marc Trestman, just like Philadelphia does with Chip Kelly, so maybe yielding 34 points is more excusable. The starters gave up 14 of those 34 points in any case, which is cause for some concern.
But the big buzz around this preseason opener revolved around Sanchez and Foles, as it likely will for much of the actual season. If Foles comes significantly down from his 27 touchdown, two interception ratio from 2013, Sanchez won't just be allowed to sit quietly on the bench.
Yet the Eagles have to know that after the way Sanchez flamed out with the Jets, he still has a ways to go to prove he can be the leader of a team again -- like the task ex-Eagle Michael Vick faces as a backup for the Jets, of all teams.