Few heads turned when Ryan Lindley replaced John Skelton in Arizona. Similarly, the response wasn't exactly uproarious when Jake Locker took over for Matt Hasselbeck in Tennessee. Granted, Arizona's offense is less productive than a 21st century typewriter factory, but these are the QB decisions that got mumbled about and glossed over.
When Mark Sanchez got yanked in favor of Greg McElroy and Michael Vick for Nick Foles, on the other hand, the heads of NFL fans and the sports media shot up. Sanchez because he's the NFL's version of a soap opera star, and Vick because his tale of redemption has come crashing down on him faster than the Hallmark tale even took shape.
Both moves, you could argue, are a long time coming. The Jets gave Sanchez a long-term extension this offseason, but signed Tim Tebow, America's most-talked about quarterback who isn't really a quarterback, in the process. The Jets said they targeted Tebow to diversify their offense, and it does seem that's the truth. Tebow, before he got injured, was playing mostly special teams and running wildcat packages, where his performance was nothing to write home about. When he was signed, however, many believed it was to light a fire under Mark Sanchez.
Apparently that fire was never lit, or Sanchez has worn a flame-retardant uniform the whole season. The last two weeks for the ex-USC star have been cataclysmically awful. His second quarter on Thanksgiving against New England will live on infamy, it was that atrocious and negligent. This Sunday against the Cardinals he proved that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Since he entered the league in 2009, Sanchez has had the maddening tendency to lob lazy passes over the middle of the field. All the Cardinals secondary had to do Sunday was play centerfield and wait for Sanchez's pop fly.
Sanchez got yanked in favor of the virtually unknown Greg McElroy, who went on to win the game for the Jets. Given the New York sports media climate, expect a week of fever-pitched discussion about who's going to get the start for the Jets against the Jags in week 14. Tebow, of course, will have his name blasted out. If he's healthy, it could be him. Even Sanchez could start again, the team treating the benching like a final wake-up call. It's anybody's guess who will be behind center for the Jets Sunday.
In Philly, the franchise is in shambles. Former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is gone, and just about everybody in the City of Brotherly Love is calling for head coach Andy Reid's head. Star QB Michael Vick has been far from ideal this year, coughing up the ball with reckless abandon, but you'd be hard-placed to find a quarterback who's taken more damage this year than Vick. No player deserves to be abused like he has this season. To add insult to his laundry list of injuries, the team could cut Vick before the Super Bowl and save millions of dollars in salary.
Nick Foles has been named the Eagles starter for the remainder of the season. That much we know. Despite losing to Dallas last night, Foles registered a 97 QB rating, a career high for the young QB.
The Eagles will throw their weight behind Foles. It's a relatively low-pressure situation for him, because the Eagles have sunken so far they can only rise, but Foles will be treating the next few games like a tryout for the 2013 season.