St. Nick

Posted: December 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

Aside from the joy of winning for the first time in months (that word does kind of put things in perspective, huh?), yesterday was good because we saw real hope in Nick Foles.  He didn’t just look like an NFL QB.  He looked like a good NFL QB.

We were down 11 points with 6 minutes to go.  We won the game.  That’s an impressive comeback.  Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a comeback in his first win as an Eagle.  The team was down 21-13 at halftime and won 35-28.  In November of 2000 McNabb and the Eagles were down 23-13 to the Steelers in the 4th quarter.  He tied the game late and won it in OT.  That was his 16th start.  Foles did it in his 4th start.  Wow.

Accomplishment aside, I think Foles did this with style points.  There were no fluke plays.  There wasn’t a pass to Maclin that went for a 50-yard TD.  No defender fell down for him.  Foles moved the team down the field methodically.  The game-winning play was all about execution.  Jason Avant said after the game that Tampa had the right defense for that play.  It wasn’t favorable to us, but Maclin got open and made a terrific catch.  Nick threw a perfect pass.  Great execution.

Kevin Kolb has been in the league since 2007.  He’s never had a game like Foles did.  Kevin led a couple of comebacks, but they featured fluke plays.  He beat Dallas with a short pass that a RB took 52 yards for a TD.  Patrick Peterson had a long PR to win an OT game where the Cards came from behind.  The only time Kolb threw for more yards than Foles 381 was the Saints game from 2009.  Kevin threw for 391.  He had 2 TDs, like Foles.  The difference is that he also had 3 INTs. The Eagles lost that game 48-22.

Foles is unlike any rookie QB we’ve ever seen in Philadelphia.  Part of that is him, part is the way that football has changed from little league on up and players are far more advanced now than ever before.  A.J. Feeley did some good things in his 5 starts as a second year QB, but still nothing like Foles.  Nick doesn’t have a stud OL, great defense, or impact STs unit.  He’s on his own.

I don’t want to jump the gun and anoint Nick as “the guy” for the next 5 years.  I got caught up in Hoyingmania back in 1997.  That proved to be fool’s gold.  I do think Nick has shown that he should be the guy in 2013.

Just for fun, here is Feeley’s gamelog for 2002.

Here is Hoying’s for 1997.  That Cincy shootout was a ton of fun to watch.

Here is Nick for this year.

* * * * *

One of the things I like most about Nick is that he seems to be ready for this.  He played high sch0ol football in Texas.  That place can be insane for kids.  Nick then went to a major school and played for a tough coach in Mike Stoops.  On the first day of practice in the Stoops era, Mike was carrying a couple of trash cans to the field.  A player asked him what those were for. “You’ll be puking in them.”  Sure enough, players were hurling away after finding out what Stoops idea of conditioning was.

You need a QB to be smart, but also to have a good sense of things and to have thick skin.  I don’t think this situation is too big for Nick.  I wrote about how he handled a loaded question from SalPal a few weeks back.  Being media savvy is important in a town like Philly.  One of the vibes I get is that Nick isn’t afraid to fail.  That’s important.  You have to play to win, not to “not lose”.

I love the fact that Nick is handling the on-field pressure so well.  Last week in Dallas he responded to each Dallas score with points of his own.  That stopped with the Bryce Brown fumble and return TD.  In Tampa he played really well down the stretch.  Foles was good in the Red Zone in both games.  He was very good on 3rd downs on Sunday.

QBs must thrive in key situations (3rd downs, Red Zone plays, the 4th quarter).  Foles has shown he can do all three.

Nick seems to love football.  He sat in his uniform for a long time after the win on Sunday.  He wanted to soak in the moment.  We’ve seen him on the sideline talking to the OL.  We know he told Reid what play to run at the end.  He had Avant adjust the 4th down play prior to that.  Nick is into the football side of things.  Being part of the team really seems to mean something to Nick.

Not all young QBs are like this.  Cade McNown wanted to party (was dating a playmate back then).  Randall Cunningham saw himself as a celebrity.  Michael Vick was more into hanging out with his jeweler and buddies than prepping for games.  Brett Favre was out of control as a rookie in Atlanta.  He had to get out of that town to have any shot at success.  JaMarcus Russell was too busy eating Whoppers and knocking back Purple Drank to study (QBs refer to this as the Lawlor diet).

Nick is just now getting his first taste of NFL success so we’ve got to see how he handles it.  Human nature wants you to relax when life is good.  That’s why guys like Tom Brady who have it all and stay self-motivated are such freaks.

* * * * *

Nick has 3 more games to play this year.  He doesn’t need to be perfect.  He needs to show progress on certain parts of his game.  He’s gotten better each week so I certainly anticipate him getting better.

Deep balls are still a major issue.  This is all about timing.  That can only come with practice and experience.

Nick still needs to work on decision-making.  He’s gotten worlds better, but still has some head-scratching moments in each game.

There are still some plays where I think he forgets the speed of the game.  There was a play on Sunday where a WR was open by the sideline.  Nick was slow to get the ball to him and it was almost picked off.  The WR was wide open.  You must get the ball there quicker.  Nick had some pressure on him so this wasn’t laziness or hesitance, but you still need to speed up the operation when a player is wide open.

In some ways the next test for Foles is playing well for a full game.  He struggled in the 1st quarter on Sunday.  It would be good to see him lead the team to a 21-3 lead or something like that and show that they can sustain success.  Getting up 14-3 or 10-0 is nice, but won’t exactly scare the other team into changing their gameplan.

* * * * *

Mr NFL Gimpy has the new MAQB column posted.  Lots of good playoff talk in there.  I didn’t realize Cleveland was still alive.  That shocks me.  Also Gimpy covers the rookie QBs quite a lot.  Good read.


  • Eagles1991

     JaMarcus Russell was too busy eating Whoppers and knocking back Purple Drank to study (QBs refer to this as the Lawlor diet)……Well Played Sir. Well played

    • Ark87

      hmmmmmm?

      • http://twitter.com/Dan_Koller Dan Koller

        Why does he have to choose? Put those Whoppers on top of a Whopper and you’re good to go.

        • TommyLawlor

          That’s good coaching.

        • Ark87

          YO DOG, I HERD YOU LIKE WHOPPERS…

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    Nick Foles 40-yard dash time: 5.14
    Tom Brady 40-yard dash time: 5.28

    By my math, that means Foles will win 4 Super Bowls in 6 appearances. Guaranteed.

    • TommyLawlor

      Book it.

    • P_P_K

      Can’t argue with logic like that.

    • A_T_G

      He is going to make us suffer through 2 SB loses!?

      • eagles2zc

        To the Giants no less

        • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

          Dear god he’s going to force the NFL to re-align just so we can lose to the Giants in the Super Bowl?!?! What sort of evil plan is that?!

  • austinfan

    Foles comes out of Westlake HS (and his dad went from unemployment for two years to very rich when he sold his restaurants recently), where he broke Drew Brees’ records. He’s been playing 7 on 7 before going to Arizona where he had mucho reps. So he’s much more advanced than most rookie QBs. And you can see that. He’s also a Texas football guy, think the Detmer brothers, not some prima donna.

    He can’t run, so he’s gonna have to be a Brady/Brees/Eli type, which means he’s gonna have to speed up his decision making and work on his mechanics to speed his release a little. His long ball needs a lot of work, you have to hit enough to make defenses respect you, but he has good zip, that 20 yard pass to Avant was fired in there, so he can force the ball into tight windows – what he’ll have to learn is when the window is closed (i.e., the speed of NFL defenders v college).

    Can’t tell yet whether he’s legitimate 10 ten potential, but the last two games are impressive for a young QB. It’s actually to his benefit that there are so many injuries, because playing under pressure (as long as there isn’t so much that you can’t function) and throwing to good but not great skill people, living with Bryce Brown making mistakes, allows a better judgment. Behind last year’s OL we might have gotten a false positive – if you can handle the pressure TB brought, you’re pretty cool in the pocket.

    The one thing I really like is that he’s very accurate hitting his receivers in motion, a key for a WCO QB. I think he”s best suited to a WCO/NE early decade offense where he gets the ball out quickly and lets his receivers rack up RAC. He doesn’t have a gun, I doubt he’ll ever have great touch on throws over 30 yards, but he looks like the type of QB who could complete a very high percentage of throws in the 20 yard from the LOS area, which is where Peyton made himself the best QB in the NFL You don’t need to throw a lot of bombs if you can throw open receivers for 10 yard gains on 3rd and 8.

    • http://twitter.com/Dan_Koller Dan Koller

      I think you make a good point about the injuries being to our benefit in evaluating Foles. Another point going off of it, while the past two games were the Bryce Brown show (and before that, he had Shady) this was the first game that we had to rely purely on passing. You saw the first quarter, when we tried to make the running game a focal point and TB stuffed it, poor play from the offense and an inability to move. When the gameplan swung back to Foles’ way, he delivered. You can say all you’d like about a poor pass defense, but Foles is also throwing to his #2, #3, and #4 receivers with a backup offensive line. To have the kind of game he had without any type of running game is very impressive, and says a lot about his ability to carry a team. He’s shown with this game that not only will he not lose you games, but that he can win you ones too.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      Funny side note, my wife’s cousin went to Westlake HS, was on the football team with Brees, said Brees was not even the best athlete on the squad, then. Said he had a tremendous, maniacal work ethic, though. I guess he kept in touch with him at Purdue, and said Brees really got “whipped” into maturity by his Missus.

      Agree about his deep ball, hoping it can be improved. Tom Brady–though it’s a high bar–seems to be throwing the ball harder than he ever has. I feel like Aaron Rodgers throws way harder than ever did at Cal (but supposedly, his mechanics were totally rebuilt while languishing behind Favre’s final years in GB). I’d like to see a little less locking onto an initial receiver by Foles, a little more manipulation of the secondary with his eyes, but that’s also a function of what he sees pre-snap, and how quickly he makes a decision about exactly where the ball should be going; it would be a lot to expect that, at this point.

      I think there is not enough made of the work ethic it takes to be a great QB, and I really wonder if someone like Vick could ever truly apply it in the same manner, being that he started out with so much physical talent. For a guy like Manning, Brady, or Brees, developing their craft was a matter of survival.

      • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

        Foles talked about manipulating the secondary with his eyes on the 4th down post to Avant that set up the winning touchdown. It sounds like he is consciously thinking about doing that, it’s not yet second nature. Which is fine for a rookie, but as you say it’s something he definitely needs to work on.

        I saw a quote from Brady recently who said the only place you can be sure he won’t be throwing the ball is the first place he looks post-snap.

  • 47_Ronin

    Tommy,

    If you have already, sorry for asking, but can you provide some detail on Foles going in the 3rd round. I went back and read some pre-draft stuff and looked over Foles’ time at Arizona. He threw for a lot of yards (TDs go up, but INTs as well), but lost most of his games. It did not look like AZ had a lot talent, esp a running game so that may have hampered him.

    But I keep coming across items like this: “Foles struggled with his throws, particularly on post-corner routes.
    Coaches appeared to advise him on his deep-ball trajectory after Foles
    overthrew Arizona teammate Juron Criner on an early deep pass. Foles put
    too much air under subsequent deep passes.”
    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/54338/quick-impressions-from-inside-nfl-combine

    One thing we have seen in NFL games that Foles has problems with the deep ball. Is it more a problem of unfamiliarity with the receivers, mechanics?

    • TommyLawlor

      Deep balls have been an issue since college. He tended to underthrow them at Arizona. Now he’s either too wide or too deep. I think he needs to work on his timing as much as anything.

      Nick played on a crappy team as a Senior. The team went 4-8 with 2 of those wins coming vs La-Lafayette and Northern Arizona. Nick had a stretch of 6 games when he threw 13 picks. He was awkward physically. He didn’t look good at the Senior Bowl practices. He did post some big numbers, but it felt like they were a product of the spread offense.

      I didn’t like the pick at all. I preferred Kirk Cousins to him.

      Nick is one of those guys who was hurt by being in a bad situation. Once he got to a team with good offensive coaches and they could spend time working on his issues, he’s made great strides. He has all the intangibles. Now he’s showing that he’s got legit NFL skills.

      I did post a while back that Trent Dilfer liked him as a 1st Rd’er. I think Trent had him rated above Ryan Tannehill (insane to me). Seems like Trent saw something I sure didn’t. And I’m very happy to be dead wrong.

      • shah8

        And now I come down here, and go wait just a minute! We *were* watching the same player in college!

        Tannehill had no business being a high first round pick. Guys like him, Locker, Gabbert, are all speculative late first round picks based on pure athleticism. Boy needed to sit. Has a high ceiling than Foles, but is so, so, raw.

        • TommyLawlor

          I did like Tannehill quite a bit.

        • austinfan

          Now that I agree on. Athletic, strong arm QBs get overdrafted based on projections, but have a very high failure rate because like top athletes at other positions, they can dominate in college without mastering basics, and their skills hide mental deficiencies which are exposed in the pro game.

          One thing I liked about RGIII was that he raised his game against the best teams on his schedule, whereas Tannehill came up short in his big games (same with Geno Smith, which is “buyer beware,” mental toughness?).

      • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

        Over at Football Outsider, their internal metrics were quite high on Nick. The real question was one of scouting, same questions we’re asking. Can he throw a deep ball and can he speed up his delivery and still be effective? If he can do those things, and that’s a tall order remember, I think he’ll be at least a good quarterback. He has the kind of skill set which can really succeed in the modern NFL.

  • Ark87

    Posted this on the old thread just as you put up a new one (you jerk).

    If Foles can hammer out the deep ball accuracy he can be devastating. It’s his biggest challenge for the off season. There has been a disturbing trend in promising rookie QB’s having big sophomore slumps (most don’t recover). Foles will have the additional challenge of working through a coaching change. Maybe the new coach prefers a more mobile QB, who knows. There is more potential for this to be a bad thing for Foles than good. This is uncertain waters for Nick Foles and this franchise.

    • TommyLawlor

      Rats…my plot almost worked!!!

      Who are the QBs who had/are having the Soph slumps?

      • Ark87

        Starting from the most obvious and working down to those who didnt quite make the sophomore leap you were looking for.
        (s)Cam Newton
        S(c)am Bradford
        Christian Ponder (looked like he had a lot of promise out of the gate)
        Those are the most recent that come to mind.

        Mark Sanchez never even flashed but there was promise there, got his team to the championship game
        Josh Freeman

        Matt Ryan
        Joe Flacco

        Take a look at this sometime, it’s kinda depressing. http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?type=position

        • eagles2zc

          Newton is picking up steam in the later part of the season. He dashed my fantasy hopes in two separate leagues last week

    • Mac

      You’re starting a new franchise… pick one (for fun i added “archetypes”)

      Matt Stafford: glass cannon
      Tony Romo: loose cannon
      Tavaris Jackson: mobile underperformer
      Alex Smith: proven game manage
      or
      Nick Foles: ????

      • A_T_G

        I can think of a guy closer to home to replace Tavaris Jackson in your list.

        • Mac

          I think you’re up to something with this post.

      • TommyLawlor

        Stafford.

  • http://twitter.com/zbone95 Chris Lloyd

    I love the fact that we are putting such lofty expectations on a rookie. He has shown so much progress that we expect more of him. I like it. He has shown a lot of flashes of brilliance compared to last years rookie Blaine Gabbert. This Nick Foles COULD become something special. We will find out soon.

    • TommyLawlor

      He’s beyond Gabbert already. Remember one of the big issues with him was toughness and pocket presence. Nick has already passed that test. He will take some hits.

      • shah8

        Well roundedness is important! Gabbert has the arm. He’s got the legs, but there’s nothing between them, or behind is eyes (the eyes aren’t so good either).

      • Mac

        Also > his current mentor Trent Edwards in the toughness dept.

        • austinfan

          Edwards is mentally tough, he’s just fragile, he also took an awful beating.

          One thing that helps Foles is his size, he should add 10-15 lbs in the next couple years, as Eli shows, if you get rid of the ball, being big helps you handle the punishment. As Big Ben shows, if you hold onto the ball, even the biggest oak can get cut down by a thousand cuts.

          • Anders

            you do know that Foles is already 240 lbs? You sure you want him to be heavier?

          • austinfan

            Why, is it going to slow him down? How would you know?

            Seriously, he’s only 22, he’ll naturally add muscle the next few years and it shouldn’t affect his mobility unless he does the “whale” thang. But it will help him shrug off pass rushers to buy time.

          • Anders

            It had nothing to do with that, I was just surprised to learn that he was that heavy already.

          • scott_mather

            According to Dick Stockton he actually weighs 243 yards.

          • Mac

            Yeah, I didn’t distinguish between mental and physical toughness. I assumed the discussion was physical toughness (which may have been wrong). It seems like we’ve seen Foles take some pretty hard shots and get back up to sling the next pass. His size doesn’t make him invincible http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4 but it does give him an edge over smaller guys in my opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.borkowski.71 Brian Borkowski

    I know that we’re all trying to keep this in proportion, but this game did feel a lot like the game where Aaron Rodgers had a solid showing vs Dallas, which allowed Ted Thompson to pull the trigger on him. This was a pull-the-trigger game for Nick Foles. Whatever happens next year and beyond, whether he’s the next Tom Brady or the next Bobby Hoying, this game says that it’s time.

    • TommyLawlor

      Interesting comparison. Diff is that Rodgers was a 1st Rd pick and there were lofty expectations for him. Foles was 3rd Rd pick. Still, time could prove your comparison dead on.

      • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Songbird Rescue Cat

        I think the 2013 QB class also makes it a lot easier to call Foles the presumptive starter next year. Aside from Geno Smith, and he’s far from a sure thing, I’m don’t think there’s another QB that deserves to go in the 1st round. Of course, that won’t stop teams that desperately need a QB from taking a flyer on one.

      • Ark87

        Aaron Rogers got a few years to develop in the shadows. McCarthy got to unveil Rogers like Michelangelo got to unveil the Sistine Chapel. Andy got to be that second grader halfway stringing together a noodle necklace together and having to show the class what he’s got. The noodle necklace has its charms, but it will be up to the next artist to finish it and hopefully turn it into a masterpiece.

  • Cal Setar

    I think what I like most about Foles is his overall demeanor. He’s cool, calm, collected, and at least so far…clutch. Like Tommy said, the moment isn’t too big for him. And he seems intelligent enough to know how important it is to praise his linemen and skill players.

    Really, a guy like this just needs functional physical ability (other than arm strength of course, but it seems like he’s got plenty of that) because he’s going to augment it with good decision making and a propensity for throwing his receivers open. In that same vein, anyone else see Maclin’s post-game remarks about him? Hyperbole of course, but that’s a receiver who sure is happy to have a QB who constantly keeps his eyes downfield and whose sole focus is utilizing his skill players and giving the guys around him chances to make plays.

  • shah8

    One good game and he’s the guy in 2013? Hah, that *is* the essence of Hoyingmania. I was actually reading some stuff about Hoying today, since he is one of the comparables.

    Eeh, it will fix itself. Foles will have to play well the rest of the year, and there should be some real challenges. Even so, the chances are, a new coach will bring his own criteria for the job.

    I do think the OL will have to help him out more. Nobody can be taking that many hits and sacks.

    • TommyLawlor

      Playing devil’s advocate is good, but could you be a bit more reasonable? Foles won yesterday. He led us to 27 points and had a 96 rating last week. The guy has had one flat out bad game…his first start. He’s getting better each week.

      You clearly don’t like him and that’s fine. Good to have varying opinions. Just keep the standards reasonable. We are talking about a rookie QB.

      • shah8

        Reasonable? I never said that he wasn’t improving. I never said that he played badly. I doubt that what I said about a future coach having his own opinion is untrue–this happens ALOT. I also doubt that what I said about the OL needing to improve was prejudicial to Foles.

        To the extent that I ever *was* prejudicial to Foles, it’s to the extent that I’m skeptical that he’d ever be anyone’s idea of a long term answer. It’s also in full cultural steepedness and awareness of just how much Eagles fans can be manic depressive, especially over backup QBs who aren’t starter level. Never forgot AJ Feeley, McMahon, Garcia, or Kolb, forget about Hoying and Detmer. I also remember how disappointed people got when those backups didn’t get further chances in Philly or disappointed elsewheres. Moreover, young QB have done well with reasonably high quality offenses against bad defenses since forever. Remember Sam Cassell in New England? TJ Yates last year? Dennis Dixon, adjusted for defense quality, had a better, more efficient, game in his debut two years ago. He’s still on the Raven’s practice squad. And Dixon was a better deep thrower, a real threat on the run, and is not really a weaker passer than Foles on the other kinds of throws. Doesn’t matter, he still wasn’t really good enough (especially on health and attitude terms).

        Standards are very, very, high in the NFL, and I acknowledge this fact. Hey, this outfit *could* do a Minnesota Vikings and deliberately run out a QB who can’t cut it (with a proven, better, option on the bench, unlike the Jets) no matter how badly he does, but I don’t think the Eagles and Jeffery Lurie is that sort of outfit. The chances that the Eagles will run out with Foles and some backup next year is minimal, for a host of reasons. In the end, what he has to be able to do is a) Play at some sort of reasonable level, comparing to to Vick (and the Vick of reality–not the Vick of politics) and b) Show some upside. I mean *real* upside, not bottom of the beer bottle kind. And it’s not just me. It’s me responding to the past history–even recent past history. Making the playoffs and beating Pittsburgh did not give Tim Tebow any slack at all as far as sticking in Denver. Throwing six touchdowns in a game did not garner Michael Flynn any real chances to succeed at grabbing a starting job. Having a high completion percentage and running an offense well did not preserve Alex Smith’s starting gig. Matt Moore did not find another plum after his reasonable stewardship of the Dolphins last year. NFL coaches are usually quite cold mofos, and I promise you, if the owner isn’t disengaged, or isn’t a fool, or not trying to scam a locality, there will not be an episode like the Ponder Saga, if Foles wound up playing like him or is otherwise not performing to what the coach wants. You have to remember, this Eagles team is relatively loaded, presuming that injury bug goes away. A new coach is almost certainly going to think like Gruden and other coaches entering that situation, and there will be a *strong* preference for the veteran by the *coach*, not the fans. Shaun King certainly didn’t keep his job, now, did he? This is even more skewed by the fact that most of the weight of talent is on the offensive side.

        And of course, Foles is just not my boy. I didn’t like him when I saw him in Arizona, and he’ll have to prove his way into my heart in Philly. I never really liked Ryan, either. At first, it was Vick withdrawal and the whole disgusting Matty Ice stuff, and these days, it’s basically that Matt Ryan was just really overrated, and the Falcons are one of the most boring good teams around, both offense and defense. Ryan really has a ton of weapons, and Atlanta really should have a more potent offense than it does have. I have feelings, man, so let me have ‘em as an Eagles fan, regardless of how my impression diverge from your own.

        • shah8
        • TommyLawlor

          The new coach may not like Foles. Always possible. Never said otherwise.

          I told you my response that I value varying opinions. Makes things more interesting and keeps us from all thinking alike.

          I said he should be the starter in 2013. If he plays well then, he earns the long term job. 2013 is an audition. We don’t know if Foles is the answer. I fully agree with you on that. My point is that he’s shown enough this year to earn that chance in 2013.

          We joke around on here about him winning SBs and going to the HOF, but that is just goofing off. No one truly believes that. Foles has to earn the job. He has to prove himself. I think he’s shown enough to be the guy next year, but that is dependent on the new coach liking him.

          I don’t want you to like him. I don’t like all the Eagles. We all have players we don’t care for. That’s part of being a fan. You just seem dead set on finding some flaws with him no matter what he does. That’s why I said “unreasonable”.

          You seem like a smart guy. You write out long comments. I’d like to value your opinion, but you lose me when you go out of your way to rip him. There is stuff to be critical of, but the fact he’s not Michael Vick doesn’t mean the guy is a bad player.

          As for some of the players…Feeley has never thrown for 350 yards in a game, let along 381. He never pulled off any great comebacks as an Eagle.

          Garcia was terrific here, but just too old.

          McMahon didn’t impress anyone as an Eagle.

          Hoying fell apart when Gruden left.He never threw for more than 313 yards and never led a serious comeback.

          Matt Cassell did prove to be a fluke. So did Derek Anderson. There are plenty of other guys who had a really strong season and then faded. I don’t see how that applies here. We’re talking about Foles being the starter for 2013 and then judging him after that.

          If a QB has a good season very few people are going to be able to see what is a fluke vs what is legit. Part of the problem is that Cassell went from a great organization to KC, anything but stable. Anderson was in the highly unstable CLE organization.

          We can re-visit this after Foles starts next year, but if he plays well I don’t see how the Eagles don’t look at him as the QB of the future. He could bust down the line, but that’s just one of those things you have to see play out.

          • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

            I think a lot of it is also situations they are put in.

            Have you noticed that just about all QBs look great under Reid and Marty? Then when they go other places they do not have the success. I look at Belichick, he knows how to coach CBs. They can get a rooking 7th round pick or a re-tread and he plays well for him. I think it is that some coaches just excel at developing certain positions.

            Going back to Reid: Having a coaching staff that can develop QBs is a major part of his success.

            Here in Houston, I watched David Carr go from 1st pick in the draft, and each year he got the crap beat out of him and regressed until he was a shell of the player coming out of college. Coaches can make or break a QB.

            So the new coaching staff will go a long ways to determine if Foles progresses or regresses. Getting Peters, Kelce and Herremens back are huge. I also would be happy if we could pick up a top tackle. If the new coaching staff attempts to build the team around McCoyBrown and a dominant offensive line then Foles would make sense. We could invest our picks into building the o-line instead of picking a new QB.

            Lots of different paths to success and failure in this league.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1514128048 Kristopher Cebula

            i’d be more worried if he WAS like Michael Vick

        • Kelvin

          Michael Flynn.. Is that Matt Flynn’s Brother?? Whats he bench?? any 40 time out there on this guy?? Also you write oh so eloquently

        • austinfan

          There is no reason Foles can’t become a franchise QB, which doesn’t mean he WILL become a franchise QB. Arm strength is grossly overrated, Brady, Peyton, Eli, Ryan, Brees, aren’t in the top ten among starting QBs.

          Cassell had a good season with a great supporting cast, has struggled in a bad situation in KC. Flynn, who knows, Wilson has played so well that it became a moot point. And one meaningless game with the GB offense doesn’t tell you much. Tebow? You are kidding, aren’t you?

          Mobile young QBs can look good based on their ability to make plays with their athleticism (Dixon), but as Vick has proven, that only carries you so far.

          It’s too early to make definitive judgments on Foles, he has the minimum tools to succeed, but it takes a couple years to judge the most important tool for a QB, the one between his ears.

          Ryan may be a tad bit overrated by the media, but he has performed at a high level, and he has good but great talent in Atlanta, Turner is washed up, it’s a good run blocking but average pass blocking OL, Jones is not Green as a young WR, Gonzo is a great possession receiver but not the player he was three years. If Foles turns out as good as Ryan, I’d be overjoyed, because Ryan is good enough to take a team to a SB. It’s the coach I’d question, Schotty(2)?

          People forget that “terrific Tom” wasn’t that terrific from 2001-2003, 2004, his fifth year, was his coming out party. Before then he put up pretty average QB performances:

          2001: 63.9% 6.9 YPA 18-12 86.5
          2002: 62.1% 6.3 YPA 28-14 85.7
          2003: 60.2% 6.9 YPA 23-12 85.9
          It’s only been since 2007 that he’s put up Peyton like numbers.

          At the beginning of his career Brady was primarily a “caretaker” who played conservatively behind a great defense. Build a top 5 defense and you can win with a QB like Foles, with an average defense, well, how many rings does Peyton have?

        • Skeptic_Eagle

          Listen, none of us will ever forget Sam Cassel in New England, or Michael Flynn in GB, just as we’ll never forget Danny Hoying looking like a stud, and then turning into a dud. But Matthew Vick has not been the guy we thought he was; he’s stopped progressing as a passer, and has the same turnover problems that have plagued him since his days at Tennessee. Now, just like Johnathan McNabb, the wear on his body is starting to show, and he can’t use his legs to bail himself out of situations he should be throwing himself out of. Tim Foles is far from a finished product, but to minimize the impressive steps he’s taken in these past two games is either furthering an agenda or being a doubting Ronald.

    • Gary Root

      I think some fans are confusing giving him the opportunity to be the guy in 2013 with with saying he’s going to be awesome next year. All he can do right now is prove that he deserves at shot to start in 2013, and I think he’s doing that.

      • shah8

        It’s fine to talk about giving him the opportunity–that’s why he’s out there now (aside from making sure Vick clears medically for retainment or release). Many players right now are playing for next year. At a minimum, Foles has won the backup job with more affirmation than Kafka or anyone else since Garcia, I think. The starting gig, however, is about the body of work, and will be evaluated at the end of the year, and not just the first game he genuinely does well in.

        • Gary Root

          Right, that’s why I’m looking forward to seeing what he does the rest of the season. Especially since Tampa’s pass D’ is the worst in the league.

    • livingonapear

      So, what do you want us to do? Completely disregard the information we have on Foles? Ignore the steady increase in quality of play? Dismiss the pretty good footwork, the fact that he scans the field well even when under duress, and his ability to throw through some pretty small windows?

      I mean, how is this any different than starting a rookie QB who looked great in college? He’s still an unknown quantity, but no more unknown than a high draft pick, or a free agent like Alex Smith who hasn’t played well for anyone except Harbaugh. Sooner or later you have to pull the trigger on a guy, and he’s shown enough to justify pulling the trigger on him. Are you really that addicted to the devil you know that you want Vick to start again next year?

    • Ark87

      I think it’s semantics here. Tommy thinks Foles has earned an audition year in 2013. You can earn something and not get it though. If Geno Smith or somebody blows our scouts and new coaching staff away in the offseason…and he is available when we pick, tough luck for Nick. Maybe Vick takes a pay cut and Chip Kelly comes in and wants mobile QB,,,we have that in Vick, and he can hold the job till we can find a young mobile QB to take the reins. Again, tough luck Foles. But to this point, he has earned the intrigue he has garnered. We joke about the Foles legend, but we all know there is a chance he never develops into a franchise QB. But for now he has shown progress and some good intangibles, it is a worthwhile endeavor to see how good Nick Foles can get. He earned that much.

  • miked718

    If he beats the Redskins and the Giants, they’ll let him pick his own coach!

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

    Given that he’s a rookie, he looked really good. What I liked best was his pocket presence, which after Vick looks otherworldly in comparison, but is probably at least above average for the NFL. Again for a rookie that’s great.

    Not saying he’ll be Tom Brady, who knows if he’ll have enough arm strength to be that good, but he does have a similar skill set: Tall, good pocket presence, good decision making, cool under fire. He’s making life interesting for the front office next year at least.

  • A_T_G

    Avant’s catch was the top play of the week on ESPN.

    • Ark87

      He’s a circus catch machine. I hope the espn viewer connects the dots and realizes this guy has big time hands.

  • Baloophi

    I’m bullish on Foles but it’s interesting that three plays before the game-winning touchdown, he gift-wrapped an interception to Gorrer… who dropped it. It reminded me of Vick getting lucky during the season opener in Cleveland.

    Obviously Foles already had a great day up to that point so the circumstances were different (Vick was terrible in that game), but I do wonder if there would be less gushing if Gorrer hadn’t dropped the pick, and we had lost the game.

    But… we didn’t.

    • P_P_K

      I was thinking something similar, but these types of analysis can take place after every game. There are always a handful of plays that, should they have happened or not happened, would have decided the result. In this game, if the pick had happened I would have still been very impressed with Foles overall performance. Starting this week, I hope he avoids those kinds of passes and is better able to hit his receiver on the deep throws.

  • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

    Off the wall question: Can Havili line up at TE for some two TE sets or is he too small?

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    Wow, Tommy, you’ve come down with a major league man-crush on Mr. Foles there (it must be the hair).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    I think the one conclusion we can make from the past two games is that there is no need to reach for a QB in next year’s draft. There is no elite prospect like RG3 or Andrew Luck.

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    Reason #1 to optimist for Foles IMO is that the national panelists all like him. It’s not homerism.

  • T_S_O_P

    Something must of changed because eight rookie QBs played in parts of games on Sunday! If two hadn’t played for the same team that would constitute half the league!!! Those QBs went 6-2!

    Nick did get some help on his final drive, not by fluke or big play, but consecutive penalties stopped the clock for him which certainly took some pressure off by allowing a more composed play.

  • ACViking

    Re: Batted Passed at the LOS

    Seems that Foles, since replacing MV against Dallas, hasn’t suffered nearly the number of batted balls at the LOS by pass rushers as MV did this season.

    Anyone care to weigh in on: (i) Is my impression accurate; (ii) if so, why is Foles more successful in this regard — is it all about height, or subtle movements in the pocket to find lanes, or something else.

    • Baloophi

      (i) Let’s see your Jack Nicholson impression.

      And yeah, I think the subtle moves around the pocket are the big difference (vs. pure height)… though you could argue that his increased height helps him know WHERE to subtly move to for a passing lane.

  • BobSmith77

    I wasn’t that down on Foles or that optimistic even after Sunday’s game. If he continues to play like he did the last 2 weeks over the final 3, then he should be in the conversation for the starting QB job next year.

  • BobSmith77

    If Roseman stays as the GM (which looks pretty likely), then I have to think Foles chances of being the starting QB with continued improvement look are really strong next year regardless of who the new coach & OC are.

  • aerochrome2

    I forget who mentioned it the other day in the game thread, but whoever said Nmandi’s hit on Maclin after his touchdown was Nmandi’s hardest of the day was so so right: http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2012/12/11/nnamdi-injured-maclin-during-celebration/

  • quest4fire

    Nice writeup Tommy. Its obvious that Foles can be a solid NFL QB, he has the skills and smarts. Need more time before I can say he will be a star QB. Another factor is if Andy stays, his development will be quicker than with a new coaching staff.