Just when you think you have earned the heir apparent job at QB for the Eagles, they change the script on you…
As of 1:30 p.m. on August 28, 2012, rookie Nick Foles was the Eagles’ backup quarterback. And Mike Kafka was revealed by Andy Reid to be on the trading block.
Coach Reid didn’t say it definitively, though, leaving the door open for a change of heart and/or mind before the regular-season opener. All Reid actually revealed after Tuesday’s practice was that Foles would start over Trent Edwards in Thursday’s preseason finale against the New York Jets.
On the surface that could be because the fractured left hand of Mike Kafka, who was limited to shotgun snaps on Tuesday, hasn’t healed enough to allow him to play in this game. Kafka opened training camp as the backup, only to be knocked into limbo with that injury in the preseason opener.
But the plot thickens.
Mike Kafka, 6-3, 225, 3rd year out of Northwestern, was drafted by the Eagles in the 4th round in 2010 as the ultimate West Coast Offense system mechanic of the future…Then along comes Nick Foles, and all that projected belief in Kafka goes up in smoke...
Reid and GM Howie Roseman are taking calls from other NFL teams interested in acquiring Kafka as we speak…
The super-irony of this story is Mike Kafka is now living out his great-great uncle’s biggest fear…
Mike Kafka is a dead-ringer facially for his ancestor Franz Kafka, who was a best-selling German author in the early 20th century. Franz Kafka’s novels were mostly about yearning for a “home team” and “belonging”… His greatest novel “Metamorphosis” dealt with the biggest fear of a young traveling salesman: that his life would become a parade of new faces without any lasting relationships…
Now Mike Kafka gets to experience first-hand his great-great uncle’s biggest theme…welcome to the NFL.
Kafka did everything the Eagles asked of him over the past two-and-a-half seasons… He nearly pulled off a “save” against Atlanta last year in relief of Mike Vick…
But now he is trade bait.
Kafka’s position has become more and more tenuous with the emergence of Foles in camp and the way Edwards has progressed after such a sluggish start that came in large part from being out of football last season. “I think I’m throwing better,” Edwards said. “I think a lot of that is because I’ve gotten a few more reps. I’ve been able to physically go through the mechanics, the reads, the progressions. For me, the ball is going to come out better the more reps I get.”
Without being too specific, Reid admitted calls are being made about possibly trading one of the quarterbacks, not to mention players in other position groups where they are seemingly overloaded with talent, such as defensive end.
“The phones are ringing, so everybody is talking all the time,” Reid said. “That’s the best way I can put it. Every position you’re talking about things, that’s just how it works right now. To pick a specific position, I can’t do that. Just know that there are calls being made and calls taken.”
One of those could involve veteran defensive end Darryl Tapp, who is not a starter but has also been deemed too valuable to risk getting injured. He won’t play against the Jets, which either means he has this team made or the Eagles are trying to preserve him for a trade.
Among the other probable non-starters this season who won’t play Thursday are defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, cornerback Joselio Hanson and wide receiver Jason Avant. Reid also indicated fullback Stanley Havili will be held out, a strong sign that Havili will make the final 53-man roster.
For those players on the bubble, this game will be the most important test, with final cuts due to be made some 40 hours after it is over.
“I think there are going to be some tough decisions,” Reid said. “I think we’ve got some competition at spots that won’t be easy. That’s a good thing, though. That’s not a bad thing. And we tell the players when they come here, ‘You make it as hard as you possibly can on [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I to make that final cut. I mean, you come out and give it every snap. Every opportunity you have, you take full advantage of it and make it your best snap.’ “
Kafka has thrown just nine passes this preseason, but Reid said he didn’t need to see more from Kafka to make important roster decisions at quarterback. Other players held out for injury reasons are Nate Allen (hamstring), Casey Matthews (ankle), Jason Babin (calf) and Riley Cooper (collarbone). Allen is working through a slight hamstring spasm.
I could be wrong, but I see the writing on the wall for Kafka in Philly. It’s not going to happen for Mike Kafka here in Philly. The good news for Mike is he gets to hopefully find a new “Home” with another franchise… and possibly blossom as a starter or secure himself a long-time backup gig.
Metamorphosis is rarely a painless process. But sometimes pain is necessary to grow and change. Just ask Mike’s great-great uncle Franz.