Putting Foles Into Context

Posted: June 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 91 Comments »

This thread is not about Michael Vick vs Nick Foles. Please do not get into that argument again. Let’s wait a few weeks.

This thread is about Nick Foles and trying to understand who/what he is. Jimmy Bama put together a post on him and how his rookie season compares to some other players. Jimmy’s conclusion is in his title: “Yes, Nick Foles Had a Good Rookie Season”.

Foles is a complicated subject. I had him rated as a 4th round prospect last year. I did not expect him to be a starting QB, but looked at him as a project. Why?

I thought Foles needed a lot of work. He didn’t have a great arm. His deep balls were not consistently good. He was limited athletically. His footwork was in issue, largely due to so much time in the spread offense. The spread also meant that he would have to get used to making more intermediate throws and reading defenses. Foles needed mental, physical and skills training. In short, a project.

Injuries forced Foles to play a lot in the preseason and he responded well. He finished 2nd in the league in preseason passing yards. He was 4th in QB rating, among passers with 50 or more attempts. Foles played against starters, backups and third stringers, but he also played with those groups. He showed promise.

Foles then played most of the first meeting with Dallas. Vick got hurt after the first quarter and Foles finished the game. He then started the next 6 weeks. Foles numbers were not so impressive here, unless you put things into context. Jimmy does some of this, as he points out the OL issues, injuries to skill players and defensive issues the Eagles had.

I don’t think people remember the 2012 season very well. The team started 3-1. Then they lost a couple of heartbreakers to fall to 3-3. During the bye week, Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo. That is when the defense fell apart and became awful. Up to that point, the Eagles had one of the best pass defenses in the league and were solid overall. 3 of the opponents were held to 17 points or less. No one had scored more than 27. The Lions racked up 449 yards in an overtime game, but aside from them, teams were held to 336 or less yards.

In the final 10 games, there were 6 games when the opponent gained 360 or more yards. There were 7 games when the opponent scored 30 or more points. Takeaways dried up. Foles and the offense were facing an uphill battle every week before the opening kickoff ever took place. The Football Gods really wanted to test Foles.

Think about the Bengals game for just a second. Cincy finished the season ranked 8th in scoring defense and 6th in yards allowed. Foles had to face that team on a short week since it was a Thursday Night game. Foles didn’t have DeSean Jackson or Brent Celek to help him out. Clay Harbor then got hurt during the game, making the TE position pretty useless. The Eagles led 13-10 at the half before a slew of turnovers busted the game wide open.

Just casually glancing at the numbers tells you nothing. 16-33-180, with 1 TD and 1 INT. The Eagles were held to just 13 points. Sounds pretty bad for Foles and the offense. When you dig deeper and see that Foles had a makeshift OL and an odd assortment of skill players, that has to change your perception.

At that same point, RG3 and Russell Wilson were tearing the league up. Both guys played for winning teams that could run the football and make plays on defense. Those guys had favorable situations.

The one rookie who could compare to Foles was Andrew Luck. He had a porous defense and rebuilt offense around him. The big difference there…Luck is a once in a generation prospect. Foles is a project. Luck compares to Peyton Manning and John Elway. Foles just isn’t in that conversation. Not by a mile (or 10).

Look back to the 2011 college season.

Passing Efficiency leaders: 1 – Wilson , 2 – Griffin III , 5 – Luck , 28 – Foles.

Then look at 2010.

Passing Efficiency leaders:  2 – Luck , 29 – Griffin III , 34 – Foles , 62 – Wilson

Luck is just a freak. RG3 was coming off an injury and still developing as a passer. Foles was Foles. Wilson played at Wisconsin as a Senior, NC State as a Junior. The difference is that UW had an outstanding O-line and dynamic running game. That took the pressure off him and allowed him to make plays, but not carry the offense.

Foles never played with the same caliber of talent as those guys in college. He hasn’t done it in the NFL. Foles is always given the task of shoving the boulder up the steep hill. That would be okay if he were a special talent, but he’s not.

We don’t know how good Foles can be when he’s in a favorable situation. That’s why it is so tough to evaluate him. We might find out that he’s just as flawed a player with good talent as without it. We also might find out that he looks a heck of a lot better. All we can do is guess and make projections for now.

Last year Foles was adjusting to life in the NFL, learning a new offense and adjusting his mechanics. He now knows the NFL. His mechanics are more natural. Foles is adjusting to another new offense, but it should be a combination of the WCO and the spread. He has played in both systems already so that should make the transition easier for him.

I don’t know if Foles will look like good QB this summer. I do know he’ll be better.

* * * * *

Foles vs some Eagles competition.

Kevin Kolb – After 4 seasons in the NFL, Kolb had 7 starts. His numbers here are for all games, not just starts. He had 319 pass attempts, 11 TDs and 14 INTs. His rating for that period was 73.2.

AJ Feeley – I will throw out his time in Miami and just use Feeley’s Eagles numbers. Over the course of 4 seasons, Feeley started 7 games. As with Kolb, we’ll use all his games, not just starts.  Feeley threw 309 passes. He had 16 TDs and 14 INTs. His rating was 78.6.

Donovan McMabb – We can just use his rookie year. McNabb played in 12 games and had 6 starts. He threw 216 passes. He had 8 TDs and 7 INTs. McNabb finished with a rating of 79.0.  He was also 47-313 as a runner, but had no TDs.

Here are Foles stats.

You cannot draw any conclusions from this data. The circumstances were different for each player. The point isn’t to prove Foles is the best or worst in this group. It is merely to show that he fits in. We don’t yet know how Kolb’s career will play out. Feeley never could hold a starting job. McNabb is a borderline HOF’er. Foles clearly doesn’t have his physical gifts, but might prove to be a good NFL QB in other ways.

I do hope Foles stays healthy this year and plays at least some. I’d like to have an idea of whether or not he can play. It would help us make plans for the future. This team isn’t going to go where we need it to until we find a franchise QB.

* * * * *

Here is a real good post from Les Bowen on DeSean Jackson.

I was reminded yet again that life is rarely simple. Yes, DeSean’s 2011 season, when he allowed his unfulfilled contract quest to make him listless and uninterested, was an affront to everyone who bought a ticket, let alone anyone who bought a No. 10 jersey. Yes, I get as sick of JACCPOT and stories about ridiculous bar bills and $400,000 grievances filed by Drew Rosenhaus as you do. But somewhere under all that, I think, is an interesting, reflective person, who unfortunately feels he needs to project something entirely different.

Definitely read this.

_


  • atb124

    One of the things that really stuck out to me was when he said he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket instead of trying to escape it. The very next game he did exactly that, and continued to do so for the rest of the season.

    It was such a stark contrast to the non-stop chatter from players and coaches over the last two years about how they were going to do a better job of such and such, only to see the same mistakes over and over again.

    The ability to put words and ideas in to action on the field under duress is one of the reasons Foles’s rookie season should be considered promising.

    • GEagle

      For me, what stuck out was eyes always down field regardless of insane amounts of pressure. that’s not something that a rookie is supposed to be that good at. I believe Foles was ahead of the rookie curve in that aspect..His poise was also baffling. How could he stay so poised, continue to stay in that pocket, not flinch after all those hits and keep firing like nothing ever happened…After the first two games, even when he wasn’t successful, you never really got the Impression that he was rattled or that the game was too big for him.
      ..
      Of Course he had plenty to improve on this offseason and all indications I got were that he is making big strides. looking off Safeties last year was a problem. I hear that his eye manipulation this offseason has taken a big step in development. he is also throwing better, harder balls then he was throwing last year. the key will be if he is ready to consistenty throw with the proper mechanics when he is under pressure…Haven’t heard him fumbling any snaps. he didn’t hit any fly swatters. he didn’t throw a single interception(although defenders dropped a few), and he had some big days where he orchestrated some nice drives and made some big throws..

      They say that deep ball accuracy is still a work in progress, but that it’s not uncommon in young QBs. mcNabb had the same problem and eventually corrected it. I think Foles has enough of a arm, accuracy, and brains that will give him a chance…hardly a Lock though

      • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

        good point about his eyes always down field

      • jshort

        Did you ever get a feeling about a rookie after seeing him play in a preseason game or two? For me, it was guys like Andy Harmon, Hollis Thomas, Chad Lewis, I knew there was something about them,. Same feeling I have about Foles. The game doesn’t seem too big for him, Never looks rattled, and from what I saw, looks pretty good working in the pocket. I don’t know, just a feeling, had one of them about a Henry (Gizmo) Williams too, once upon a time,

        • GEagle

          Lol…Last season, I literally saw Alfred Morris have one nice 6yard gain in the preseason, and Instantly picked him up for my fantasy team. last summer everyone was talking about the Redskins backs like Royster, yet for some strange reason I saw a simple 6yard gain during the preseason, And just got this feeling about him…signed him the next day and he was a big part of winning me fantasy FB last year….as for an Eagle. Hmmm let me think. have to get back to you. I’m sure it has happened

  • Joe Jones

    Well written Tommy, thanks. In a wordy, balanced….which is so difficult because the quarterback situation is so polarizing. Primarily because Mike Vick is so polarizing. Pretty hard to find Vick supporters in the media and the majority of blogs. And any balanced critique of Foles is attacked and demeaned and met with reasons why Nick may have underwhelmed in any area.

    I cant speak for others as to why this is the case, but I’d speculate that subconsciously, Foles criticism=Vick support.

    As an Eagles fan, I want to win every game. I dont believe in throw away games or seasons. Whoever is going to lead the team to the most victories should be the starter. I understand that as far as securing a franchise QB for years to come, it would be clearer if Nick won. But I choose not to root for either guy. I’ll watch and wait and trust.

    My conclusion is simple, I trust Chip.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think it helps to discuss each QB on his own merits at times. That stops the us vs them mentality. That’s why I want the focus in this thread on Foles.

    • GEagle

      I would prefer seeing what the young kids could do, but because you decided to bring Vick back and not cut him, opening up a competition, I think it’s more important to show credibility by giving the position to whoever truly deserves it the most..If that’s going to be Vick, I will root for him like a maniac like I have done for any player to ever wear an eagles jersey…but I certainly can’t root for it to be Vick. I root for what’s best for the franchise, and nothing would be better to this franchise than already having a young franchise Qb on the roster…the only thing that could be better is already having two young franchise guys on our roster lol. I don’t believe in Vick any more, but if Foles can’t beat out 33yr old Vick, and I don’t think Vick is good, than what does it say about Foles? So I can’t just say that Foles should start no matter what. If he can’t beat out Vick, and we don’t cut Vick before Camp, then Vick should start…unless Barkley beats them out both, which is highly unlikely since Ai hear his arm needs ATleast a year of development..

      so basically, I’m with you, I just took a different path to reach your conclusion. may the best man win,..
      ..
      In Chip we trust

      • TommyLawlor

        GE…easy on the Vick talk. Not for this thread.

        • GEagle

          Sorry…but not really an indictment on Vick…more of an Age for where we are right now in this point of time discussion. I understand if you want to delete it tho…appologies..I’m not as anti Vick as I probably come across. more of a Pro young QB approach. Which doesn’t even necessarily have to be foles

      • Joe Jones

        I hear you GE. 35 days til training camp….gonna be fun.

        • GEagle

          I need these days to fly by brother. only the beginning of the chip Kelly era could make me completely not care about summer.

  • GEagle

    With all due respect, I think the Luck comparison is apples and Oranges. lucks been the man in Indy, having an entire team Tailored around him since months before the draft even took place. back ups infamously don’t get any reps under Andy Ried..that means he got significantly less work than Luck got during the Offseason, it also means that when the season started Foles basically saw very little first team reps for almost 2 months before being thrust into a horrific situation no one would have been successful in. Vick played in a significantly better situation last year than Foles did…
    ..
    I also think its deeper then just playing behind a make shift line. Countless times Foles bailed us out with a big 3rd and long completion under pressure only to have it called back because Dunlap and Bell were pathetic. Foles did his job on those plays, and who knows how different it would have looked had those throws counted extending drives. he also got hurt during the redskin game. There was a very good chance that had he not gotten hurt, he had a good chance at leading his second come from behind win in a month. people crucified him for that grossly short deep throw he didn’t complete to Maclin. two days later we find out he broke his throwing hand 3 plays earlier, and it says a lot about what kind of competitor he is, to have broken his throwing hand, and still out there attempting to throw deep passes.
    ..
    is he going to be a top franchise guy that the entire city will embrace? Who knows..we won’t know what he will really be until he gets a season, preferably two of playing time in a situation possible to find some success in. One thing we can count on, is he has no chance to develope into the guy until we play him. Im just excited to find out as much as we can, before going into a very important QB heavy draft, so we can make the most informed decisions possible at a crucial point in our future. Fortunately for me, I have a feeling that Chip will give him that chance this year..But If I don’t get to see what Foles can do, I hope it’s because we are finding out what Barkley can do

    • TommyLawlor

      The Foles-Luck comparison is strictly in the sense that they played for teams that didn’t have top talent and didn’t have top OLs or playmaking defenses.

      You’re letting Foles off the hook too much in that 2nd paragraph. Nick made his share of mistakes. There were times when he let the OL and skill players down by making a bad read or poor throw.

      Part of the point in here is getting people to understand that Foles isn’t the kind of player who can overcome mistakes, be they his or his teammates, due strictly to natural talent.

      When a play broke down, Luck, RG3 or Wilson all had the ability to make something of it. Foles doesn’t have those kinds of physical gifts. He’ll improve in this area as he learns to use experience and polished QB skills to help him when plays break down.

      • GEagle

        I don’t disagree, not even in the 2nd paragraph…where we differ is that in my mind, the mistakes are already understood when talking about a rookie 3rd rounder…So basically, the way I look at young QBs, is I look at what they can do, take note of what they need work on..so that I can then go back and see how much they improve on their weaknesses…I already expect plenty of bad mistakes out of rookies. How could I not after going back and watching the great Peyton Mannings putrid rookie season this year?..so for me, the rookie mistakes are just a measuring stick for me about how much, and how fast a young QB improves. SO while I acknowledge countless mistakes, I automatically expect them. This reasoning is why I’m so he’ll bent on seeing Oles, yet I don’t make the same case for Barkley. because we got to see Foles last year, I’m dying to see how much has he improved? How much he has corrected…so while I don’t mean to sound like im letting him off the hooks for mistakes or pretend that he is some sure fire franchise QB, I expect those mistakes, and I don’t see a point in dwelling on them until I see at the very least his second year, preferably his 3rd year as well…If you put a gun to my head and made me give you my honest oppinion right now on Nick Foles, all you would get out of me is…”Encouraging, but incomplete”..I think how much the players who got time as rookies improve in their second year is very valuable intel..and I’m just eager and excited to find out

  • austinfan

    The key with a young QB is improvement.

    Eli Manning was horrid as a rookie, far worse than Foles, Aikman was 1-15.

    Now coaches give more time to guys with exceptional skills, because there’s more upside, but those skills didn’t save Ryan Leaf or Akili Smith.

    Foles started slow, not so much because he was a rookie, but because most backup QBs struggle the first couple games they get thrown into action, after not getting reps with the #1s for two months, see Garcia in 2006, for example.

    However, last five games Foles completes over 60%, for 7.5 YPA and 5 TD to 2 Int. Solid numbers which translate to a rating over 80. Then in the offseason he works hard to improve his mechanics, and shows a much better long ball in OTAs. A guy working hard to improve his game.

    Now where will he end up?

    Not a great arm or great athlete, but an arm not far behind Eli, as good as Matt Ryan, and a better athlete than both of them. So his arm is good enough IF he polishes his mechanics, his athleticism is good enough given he’s gonna fill out to 240-245 lbs of muscle and can shrug off pass rushers like Eli or Big Ben.

    So his upside will be defined by his QB IQ, enough physical skills to be a top ten QB if he develops the mental awareness to process information and make good decisions quickly. He’s shown natural pocket instincts and can remain cool under pressure, so he has the QB intangibles.

    Foles is certainly not a sure thing, but there is no reason to see his upside as a mere backup or marginal starter until he stops showing progress.

    • TommyLawlor

      Did Foles pass the eye test for you?

      • austinfan

        Yes and no.
        He was obviously raw with his mechanics, he could be very accurate on some throws and lost on others, especially deep throws.
        But he showed a very good arm within 25 yards with good zip and placement.

        The most impressive thing about Foles was his pocket presence, he moved naturally within the pocket, and a lot of QBs never learn to do that, stepping up or sliding out to avoid pressure (his Arizona experience prepared him for the OL he had to play behind in 2012). Nor did he show Kolb’s nervous feet (though Kolb did improve last year behind a terrible OL before he got his bell rung).

        I think he’s a work in progress, but shows more potential than Feeley ever did or even Hoying, both of whom were “fastball” QBs, could throw hard to an open guy but lacked the vision and touch needed in today’s NFL.

        McNabb is a good example of a QB who improved to a certain point, then flat lined – never really worked on his mechanics and never became an accurate QB or developed anticipation, but he did learn how to throw a nice deep ball from Blake.

        That’s why I’m guardedly optimistic with Foles, I like that he shows steady improvement, I’m uncertain how far he can continue to progrses.

        • GEagle

          Very well put. I don’t really think any of us can say that he passed the sniff test, but I dont really see how he failed it either. For me he showed enough, and improved enough, that I would like to see more. however I have no clue what his real ceiling is

        • aub32

          Would you say, in a vacuum, he showed enough to be a starter in the NFL, strictly based on last season? Just to emphasize, I am not asking starter over Vick. I am asking if you had to Foles with Foles or try looking elsewhere, which would you do in order to have the best 2013 possible?

          • austinfan

            Relative to what? Right now I’d peg him in the bottom third of potential NFL starting QBs based off last season, but what will he be this year?

            Obviously, as an inexperienced rookie he’s not as safe as a mediocre veteran starter, but he played as well as a number of veteran starters, Fitzpatrick, Freeman, Vick, Henne, Sanchez.

            He played as well or better than a number of young QBs with more experience, Ponder, Stafford, Gabbert, Luck, Tannehill, Locker, Weeden.

            Now I wouldn’t take him over Luck, who played a full season in tough circumstances and has a lot more upside, but the rest of the list were in better situations (compare Weeden’s OL for example) and did not show they were better bets.

            The real key with all young QBs is improvement, most QBs hit their peak by their fifth season, so year 2-3 are crucial, they have to show improvement in most aspects of their games to project them as reliable long-term starters. Simply too early to tell.

          • aub32

            I am not referring to years down the line. I am referring to this year. I agree. Foles’ career cannot be foreseen by the 7 games he played in his rookie season, but I did not see a starter last year. He did ok for a rookie, but I wouldn’t categorize him with players like Luck, Stafford, Tannehill, or Ponder. Thses players proved they should be starters based on their play, not their potential. That’s my question. My question is based off of his play where woul he fall. Personally, Foles falls into the bottom 8th along with Gabbert, Locker, and Palmer based solely on his play last year.

          • GEagle

            Why would you expect the same Foles this year, that you saw last year? This kid is going to look nothing like he looked last year…so have some patience and see what the kid can grow into

          • aub32

            And what if he doesn’t progress as much as you’ve hoped? I in no way feel we have seen all of what Nick is or will be, however I am of the mindset of going off of what I have seen and not projections of potential. And what I saw last year was not a starting QB. I saw a project, which is exactly what he is/was. Just because he got a little playing time does not change that.

          • joe

            What did Foles show/not show that allowed you to determine he’s not a starter?

          • GEagle

            What kind of argument is that? There have been about 5 great QBs who might have looked like starting Qbs there rookie season. Did Peyton Manning look like a starter as a rookie? you better not say YES lol. took Eli years of playing time be for he resembled anything other than a bust. Alex smith is a starting QB, did he seem like one as a rookie?..

            drafting a starting QB is hard enough, if you are going to make it even harder by only wanting to draft starting QBs who can be studs as rookies…we might go Another 20 years before we find a young starting Qb…I don’t even see how you can have this discussion without projecting.
            ..
            Foles is going to be better this year. The only question is will it be a marginal improvement, or a drastic improvement. After what I saw last year with a practice squad around him, no defense, and terribly predictable coaching..and reading the significant improvements he is showing thus far in arm strength(which he always had) and eye manipulation..IMO, I’m expecting a Drastic improvement this season under the kid, which in the grand scheme of things means nothing unless he continues to progress the following two seasons..you are certainly entitled to view him differently, it’s surely far from an exact science..but I don’t see how a smart kid, who works hard, doesn’t get rattled and will feel like he is surrounded by Super Bowl talent this year compared to what he had to work with last year, doesn’t improve. How is that even possible? I think we can count on the game slowing down for all the kids who got playing time last year, and he can’t possibly be given any less time from the Oline than he was given last year…So how could you expect this kid not to be better

          • austinfan

            Stafford is an experienced QB who had almost a 1-1 TD/Int ratio, 59.8% complete, 6.8 YPA in his 4th season despite throwing to the most talented skill player in the league.

            Ponder improved over a rookie season that was worse than Foles, but only averaged 6.1 YPA.

            You’d be hard pressed to show that Tannheill outplayed Foles as a rookie. He throw for 200 yards or more in only 9 of 16 starts.

            Foles is solidly in the bottom third as a rookie.

    • Neil

      I’ve also thought the big Ben comparison was valid, assuming Foles can bulk up like that. Not quite the same arm, but the same lumbering movement and knack for avoiding people and manipulating the pocket.

      • GEagle

        Yeah Big Ben was probably the best comparison I could come up with as well..Of course we are talking about stylistically, and potentially. but I can’t think of a more realistic best case scenario for Foles than developing into Big Ben, Minus the jerk creep part

  • Dave

    I posted it before and I’ll post it again, I believe Foles has a high intelligence. He passed the smell test last year both in the preseason and the regular season. Does anyone else remember Andy saying in preseason that Foles learned all the plays and where everybody was supposed to be almost immediately. He threw with anticipation because he knew where the receiver was supposed to be, not waiting to see the white of his eyes.

    When the name Montana is reference, people think intelligence, not athletic ability. Matt Barkley’s college career can be summed up on his intelligence over athletic ability.

    Tommy, surely scouts take into account intelligence in the most important position on the team? Is Andrew Luck a freak of nature because of his athletic ability or because of his intelligence? I would say intelligence. Same with Brady and Manning. Nobody is going to confuse Manning with Jeff George based on arm strength or intelligence. Comparing Foles to RGIII or Wilson is just as silly.

    • Neil

      I’d say both on Luck. I saw him throw a 50-yard touchdown (no RAC) rolling out to his left once. Scary.

    • TommyLawlor

      Luck is a freak because he is so talented, big, smart, experienced and focused/humble.

      • TommyLawlor

        Experienced meaning he grew up with an NFL dad and then started for a major college using an NFL type system for 3 years.

        • Dave

          Tommy, you points above along with your scouting report back up my point even more. Luck is an above average athlete with excellent intangibles. I’m just saying the most important intangible is his intelligence.

          Here is your 2011/12 scouting report on Luck.

          “Above average athlete, which he proved on the field and at the Combine. Luck isn’t a great prospect based on some dynamic physical element or collegiate production. He doesn’t have an elite arm. He didn’t throw for record totals of TDs or yards. He never led Stanford on a dramatic 2 or 3-TD comeback to beat a Top 5 team. Luck’s greatness is in the little things.”

          Luck seems to get all kinds of credit for being intelligent but Foles is more of an afterthought since his dad was not an AD and he didn’t go to Stanford and have Elway drooling over him on a national stage.

          • TommyLawlor

            Part of Luck’s intelligence is that he spent 3 years at Stanford in a pro system. He didn’t have as much of a learning curve when he hit the NFL.

            It could be that Foles is just as smart IQ wise, but Luck also throws in the knowledge of a pro offense and that makes a huge difference.

            If Albert Einstein played in the spread for his HS and college career, he’d struggle with learning the NFL style of offense. And Al was a bright fellow.

    • aub32

      I may be misunderstanding, but are you suggesting that comparing Foles to RG3 or Wilson is silly because they rely on athleticism and he relies on intelligence? If so, I completely disagree. Wilson, RG3, and Luck are all very good athletes and highly intelligent, hence their success.
      Also please rewatch the preseason. Many of those throws you’re thinking of were late or poorly thrown. The deep TD to Gilyard was horribly underthrown, but the CB wasn’t paying attention (probably because he was a 3rd or 4th stringer). Gilyard made a great adjustment, but Foles got the credit. That’s just to give one example.

      • Dave

        Nope, I’m saying that the first thing that stands regarding RGII and Wilson are their athleticism. They also seem pretty intelligent.

        That play to Gilyard is cherry picking one play out of an entire preseason and regular season. Do you remember when he hit Avant in the helmet because Avant was so used to turning around and waiting for the QB to see him open and then fire the ball. Foles anticipated the comeback route and had the ball waiting for Jason as he turned around giving him a chance to make a play after the catch before the defender was all over him.

        • aub32

          I stated I was picking out one play. If I had to site every play, I might as well start my own blog.

  • cliff henny

    good article, the only part i didnt like is using Foles’ stats from last year. i’ve seen them twisted and turned every which way from sunday, good and bad. as you said, it’s part of the same old fustrating arguement. by the end, all i knew was he deserved a chance. seems like he’s doing something with that opportunity, all you can ask. if reports are correct that his arm strength has improved and his release is quicker, i’m excited to see him play in August.

  • GEagle

    Question..If the Colts offer you Brandon Weeden straight up for Foles, do you take it?

    • atb124

      No, because I’m not accepting an offer of something they don’t have to offer.

    • cliff henny

      browns, and straight up for watkins, we give them 29 yr old 3rd yr bust, and they give us 28 yr old 2nd yr bust. seems fair. same as the havilli for gaethers trade, except more money

    • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

      Nope. Weeden is an Old man.

      • GEagle

        I wouldn’t take Weeden either…just curious to see how little people think of Foles. Cause I think Weeden is trash

    • TommyLawlor

      No thanks for Weeden…but only because of his age and our system. If we ran the WCO and he was 25, I’d strongly consider it. I’d have to study his tape to be sure, but I think Weeden gets overly criticized.

      • GEagle

        I’m actually right there with you…then again, it was probably a dumb idea to ask a group of fans who have been burnt by a 56 year old Canadian Fireman….Let’s just say our sample group has probably been compromised lol

    • Tumtum

      I can’t see taking any of the young guys from around the league over Foles. Obviously that excludes the big three. The only one I might consider is Tannehill, and he was the 9 pick. Really more because of the schematic fit he would be. I do like Tannehill, but I’m not sold on him like some others. I’m certainly not sold on Foles, but I think he showed enough to get at least mildly excited about. Really you can take this back a couple years. Include guys like Ponder and Gabbert in this as well. Ponder is another guy I like too.

      Do I know Foles will be a star? No.. but I do know even at last year’s levels he is a guy that can start in this league. I think he showed he at least can be a guy that won’t be the reason you lost. I just don’t t know of he is going to be a guy who is going to win you games.

    • aub32

      I see what you’re doing as far as a guage, but I don’t think Weeden is a good test because of his age. I think a much better guage would be Tannehill, in whch I think there could be a much netter argument raised.

      • GEagle

        I purposely picked WeedeN, a QB I think so little of to try and gauge how little some people think about Foles

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    I like Foles. At arizone he had criner and that was it lol.. He should of had Gronk for a season but of course gronk was hurt. But Foles threw for 4300 yards and 69% comp rate his last season at arizona in the spread offense with some uptempo stuff as well. I got some faith in foles. He came inlast year and really made some great throws under pressure. When he came in for vick you sense a difference, plays seemed to run in time, and were more crisp. The team offense looked more focused. It was refreshing. And foles got better as each game went on.

    As for his athletic ability, he looked very fluid. Fast? No. But hes agile, he can throw off of different platforms and when he decides to take off theres a tiny burst, go back to that bucs game, no, not the TD play, there was another play he ran on and he got 7-8 yards and then he slid ahahaha i know right foles at 6’6 240 can slide better then vick, i mean it wasnt the prettyest slide but he did it. LOL

    • GEagle

      The reason I desperately want to see him start is because of the offense around him that’s in place. This offense doesn’t need a Homerun hitter at QB. it’s going to require more of a decisive decision maker.Quick correct reads, get the ball out fast into the hands of your playmakers in stride so that they can YAC it up..He is experienced in the spread,, option routes, and has so much talent around him that he doesn’t have to carry the offense…I’m excited to see him because I expect us to have an offense that he can be successful in..and iM so anxious to see how different he might look, from when he was placed in the most dysfunctional situation a rookie has ever been placed in lol..I think we can learn so much about him if we play him, because of the experience he got last year..and If Chip plays him, I believe Chip would expect ascertain degree of success out of him..so I’m excited and anxious to see the year two leap he makes.

  • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

    rememebr that play vs the bucs, where if foles would of done something i forget what, but it would of been a flag thrown, but instead made a smart decision and completed a pass.. what was that all about??? Andy one remember???

    • GEagle

      Dont remember that…but I do remember watching a very simple play..where Foles was at the line, read the defensive pressure correctly, audibles into a simple screen pass, that ended up being the perfect call, burning the defense for a big first down gain..after watching the decision made all year from the QB position, a simple play like that really got me excited and stuck out in my mind.

    • Pennguino

      I thought it was a screen and he saw the lineman out in front and knew not to throw it. I remember the event but not the particular play. Add in the Buc’s game. He tells Avant to alter his route based on what he has been seeing all game. Then he calls his own play to win the game.

      • http://www.hazepiffbudweedcheeba/blazeituppleasepeacetocheeba.com micksick

        yeah, that what it was, heady call by him, i think he could have massive potential.

  • Ian Patrick

    tommy, im getting tired of your ease the brakes on foles take. i had friends and coworkers who were non eagles fan who told me the kid was doing something with nothing. granted he needs work but he is a gamer. he is a leader. barkley should beat him out but not by season opener. all things being equal barkley edges him out. that said, not sure barkleys intangibles are of the quality of Nicks. can only hope but time will tell. until then, be equal parts blogger and fan. quite changing your stance like some off balance bret favre passes that only work because you make the statements.

    • TommyLawlor

      Huh? How am I changing my stance on Foles?

      I want him to do well, but anyone who thinks we can make a definitive read on last year’s sample is reaching a premature conclusion, whether good or bad.

      Just last week I re-watched 100 of Foles passes. There are things to like, but also concerns.

      Back in 1997/98 I made the mistake of overrating Bobby Hoying based on a small sample size. He took the field in 1998 as the proclaimed franchise QB and was beyond awful. Don’t want to get fooled again.

      I hope Foles is legit, but I’m not willing to say that right now.

      • the midatlantic

        Someone didn’t have their PBR Smoothie today. And his name is Ian.

        • HipDaDip

          I dunno, looks like he just got fed one to me!

      • GEagle

        I Don’t think anyone can pound the table with certainty that Foles is legit..but we won’t ever know until he gets some extended playing time in a healthy situation…I don’t even think its so simple as is Foles legit or not. He can be legit. Why not? But that’s far from a lock..How he develops swill determine how legit Foles is…I really believe it can go either way with him.
        ..
        We now have two young Qbs with potential.
        ..
        “QBs are like tea bags, you never know what you have until you put it in hot water”-Chip Kelly.
        ..
        So now we have two players who within the next 3 years need extended time being dunked in Hot Water..So, I would strongly suggest not wasting any more time trying to discover the Super Bowl caliber QB Bill Lazor likes to talk about and start playing our young players now…and this isn’t even just at QBs.
        I wouldn’t want to see Cole keep Graham on the bench for extended periods of time. I wouldn’t want to see Maclin benched for Avant. I wouldn’t want to see Ertz benched for Celek. This is year 1 of a new era. This year it’s important for chip to see which young plays he can build around, and which young players just don’t fit his vision going forward. Who will sacrifice for the good of the team? WHo will play selfish football?…
        There is literally only 1 veteran I wouldn’t mind seeing play over a young player, and that’s sopoaga on first and 2nd down, and that’s because I don’t expect Logan to be ready to log big minutes in September, and because Sopo’s Charecter, and mentoring will keep him here in 2014. We are a very young team almost every except the Oline..I believe it’s important for Chip to have some success this year to show players that their is a good reason for them buying in, but I don’t want to see us be successful if it’s stunting the growth of a young player..If there is no chance you will be here in 2015, and there is a young talent behind you on the roster, I want to see the young play play.
        ….
        Its crucial this year to find a balance between success, developing young players, and having a year long tryout to see who will be here in the future, and who just doesn’t fit Chips vision…I have no desire to watch a successful team in 2013, if it’s a fools gold success like the sixers of 2012…In 2012 sixers coach Doug Collins irresponsibly decided to make a playoff run with veterans(Knowing he would get rid of all those veterans once the playoffs were over). It was a very entertaining playoff run, but we knew it had an expiration date that would Manifest before winning the NBA championship, yet Doug Collins refused to play a promising young player like Vucevic, who went on to be traded that offseason. This year Vucevic exploded and took the league by storm. I’m sure we knew Vucevic could be good, but because DC wanted to play limited Vetarans, he had no idea how good Vucevic could be, so we traded him, and vUcevic went on to explode this year as one of the NBAs most promising young players…I do not need to see limited success in 2013, if it keeps promising young players on the bench..Had DC played Vucevic, nIkola would probably still be here, and the sixers wouldn’t be the laughing stock of the nba

  • GEagle

    here is another question..besides mobility/speed…is anyone seeing any fatal flaws or limitations that he doesn’t ATleast have a chance to improve on and overcome with a few years of seasoning?

    • Tumtum

      He needs a hair cut.

    • aub32

      I don’t think you can make that call about anyone. Plenty of players have fixed a myriad of things after their rookie season. At the same time, there are others who were never able to get away from their bad habits. Look at Gabbert. He fears the rush. Kolb did so as well but looked better last year before getting hurt. Foles has plenty of flaws. He chooses receivers before leaving the huddle. Does he fix that? He can, but it doesn’t mean he will. Potential is just that. It doesn’t mean tons of upside. He has just as much potential to be awful.

  • shah8

    Jimmy Bama used passer rating… Here’s an article about that: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/03/25/stat-sheet-misconceptions-passer-rating/

    I take a quick look at AY/A, but when it comes to young QBs, what really shows up is TD%. Nick Foles had a really horrible 2.3 TD%, and this showed up in the games, where he’d get yards between the red zones, and like Philly’s offense in general, have a really hard time getting the ball in the end zone, and I don’t remember there being very many short field goals either. He did leave a lot of plays on the table if the going got hard, in general. RG3 and Russell Wilson were sporting TD% of over 5, more than twice as good as Foles, and Wilson was actually almost *three* times as good as Foles.

    Peeps hear know what I think of Foles already, and I tried to say something different this time around.

    • Neil

      Aye.

      The problem with that reasoning is what Tommy said. Foles had easily the worst situation out of any rookie and Vick. He also had a coach with an established pattern of redzone horribleness with another quarterback spanning multiple years.

      • GEagle

        Foles might have been thrust into the most dysfunctional situation a rookie QB had ever seen. last year was pathetically bad. I’m talking about so bad that it made Kotites last year look like a happy episode of the Cosby show

    • TommyLawlor

      @ shah,

      I appreciate this dissent. Fresh material. And this is an angle that is fair to question. Nick only had 6 TD passes in 6 starts (7 games). That’s not good.

      He did have some bad circumstances that can be factored in. Evan Moore dropped a TD in the WAS game. Matt Tennant dropped one in the CIN game. There was a play, vs Dallas I think, where Damaris had a chance to run in for a TD, but went out of bounds. Weird play.

      Still, there is no question that the RZ is a huge issue. I wrote this back in December after studying a game:

      “2 big areas that Nick must work on: 1) deep balls 2) Red Zone play. We’ve talked about the deep balls quite a lot. In the RZ, Nick is erratic. Sometimes he hesitates and misses open guys. Other times he rushes his throws and is either off target or has made a poor decision. This is an issue that all young QBs must deal with. Nick isn’t special in this regard, but it is critical. You must be able to score TDs in the RZ if you want to win games. “

      • austinfan

        To be fair, they’ve had serious red zone problems with the veteran QBs the last few years, and that’s with much better personnel on the field.

        Teams that are good in the red zone tend to be able to pound it on the ground and have one or two reliable targets for the QB because it’s so bang bang you can’t go through your reads.

      • aub32

        To be fair if Foles completes the pass to Maclin, Evan Moore never drops that pass.

        • GEagle

          Are you talking about the Reskins game when he broke his throwing hand 3plays prior to the pass to Maclin? I am way more impressed with the fact that he still tried to throw bomb with a broken throwing hand, then I am worried about the pass grossly falling short

          • aub32

            It wasn’t a bomb first off. I believe it was a 19 yard pass. Also, it wasn’t only that he grossly underthrew it. He was very late on the throw as well.

    • atb124

      Thanks for the link shah, that was in interesting read.

      I think we all agree that quarterback rating is imperfect, but it’s far from worthless. If you take a look and the top of the ratings rankings, you see a very high correlation between the best quarterbacks and the best ratings. Likewise, a very high correlation between the worst quarterbacks and the worst ratings.

      Also, did anybody else notice how self defeating the author’s example was?

      A quarterback who completes a third of his passes on average at a 30 yard/completion clip is going to go 3 and out about 30% of the time. And assuming he starts inside his 40, he’s going to have to complete 3 passes without going 3-and-out, which should happen, on average about 34% of the time.

      Meanwhile, the guy that completes 100% of his passess for 3 yards a pop is going to go for it on every 4th and 1, and score touchdowns on 100% of his drives. So yeah, he should have a higher quarterback rating.

      To think that anyone is going to duplicate those numbers over any kind of a reasonable sample size is obviously absurd. It just illustrates the problems with trying to dismiss a metric that relies on a large sample size with an example of 3. It’s simply not a valid line of reasoning.

    • Mac

      No one is going to come on here and argue that Nick Foles is going to become a RZ juggernaut. I think it is reasonable to believe that he will improve with a better o-line (hypothetically it can’t be any worse than last year) and hopefully healthy targets who have increased in size (larger WR and more multi tight end sets).

      All that aside… I think we have to consider Foles’ low interception rate as a major positive. Foles has at least the beginnings of an understanding of how to play at the NFL level. Can he sustain that kind of play? Could he play a 16 game season and finish with less than 2% interceptions while getting rid of the ball and avoiding sacks? If he can do that, and can improve even just up to the 4% mark of TDs with a healthy team then I think he can give the Eagles enough to win games this year.

      Just my .02

      • holeplug

        Wouldn’t read too much into his int %. Foles ran hot with dropped int last year ala Vick in 2010.

        • Mac

          Fair enough. I didn’t remember that but looking at football outsiders shows that he had 8 drops in 6 games, which is a pretty high number.

  • Pennguino

    I would like to add a little more weight to the preseason. Yes, I know it’s preseason. Vanilla O and D. But the angle that has been missed is talent level. When Nick was on the field and his supporting cast was on par with the defense he shined. Regardless whether it was 1st string or 3rd string. When the talent level was equal on both sides he was a top 5 QB.

    In the regular season, he was starting with 2nd and 3rd stringers against 1st string defenses. A team that was in complete disarray. I feel if he had equal talent on the offense you would have seen a lot more from Nick.

    The main part I love about him is his head for the game. He understands the game. He sees what the defense is doing. You saw him grow as the season went along. In the TB game he was telling Avant to alter his route because he could recognize the defensive scheme and he knew he could exploit that. He then called his own play to win the game. This is coming from a rookie making his fourth start.

    Talent wise, I don’t see Nick as a 35-40 TD a season kind of guy. I don’t see him taking over a game and with highlight reels. I see him more as a 25-28 TD’s a year with maybe sneaking 2-3 on the ground. I see him growing more into a Troy Aikman type of QB but with slightly better numbers. Maybe not in the leadership style of Troy but more in the game manager that will beat your scheme with heady QB’ing. Troy never really put up gaudy numbers. Great ground game and a great defense is why Troy is in the HOF. I see Nick posting better numbers because its the style of the league today. A perfect pass beats perfect coverage every time. Maybe he will turn into a Schaub/Flako type of player. I am not saying Nick will be a HOF’er.

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/A/AikmTr00.htm

    • aub32

      I think you are over blowing the talent thing way too much. Nick still played against NFL talent, and they had their share of injuries too. Foles face 2 of the worst 3 passing defenses in the league in 3 of the 6 games he started. Not to mention WAS was missing their 2 best pass rushers, and he played them twice. I think it’s ok to think Foles may have done better with better talent but 25-28 TDs??? He only scored 6 in the 7 games he played. And where you and others keep pointing to that moment in TB, how about the many other times where he threw the ball late or chose a receiver before the ball was snapped? Did you ever think that may be he was abe to read TB because they were the worst secondary in the league? And though you may not be saying Foles will be a HOFer, projecting he will have better numbers than one isn’t too far off.

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  • aub32

    My reluctance of buying into Nick Foles stems from the level of competition he faced and the fact that he played for Reid. Reid had a knack for making backup QBs put up decent to good numbers. I also can’t shake the PC when MM was asked if they changed the offense for Foles. He said something to the effect of absolutely. All of a sudden we started seeing a significant increase in the number of screens and short passes called. However, Foles failed to put points on the board, throwing only 6 TDs in 7 games. That’s not what I equate to potetial starter in the NFL, especially considering the competition he faced. Foles had the benefit of going against 2 of the 3 worst secondaries for 3 of his game. In two of those games he amassed half of his TDs and 40% of his yards. To put that in perspective he had 381 and 345 passing yards against the Bucs and WAS respectively. In no other game did he have more than 260. Clearly his stats average was helped a lot by this. Speaking of his stats, Jimmy pimts out Foles had a higher passer rating

    Foles had a decent passer rating as Jimmy points out but only scored 6 TDs in 7 games. Also, passer rating doesn’t account for fumbles or those many near INTs. Then there’s the late thrown balls that he lucked up completing thanks to the awful secondaries he played against.

    • GEagle

      Who on that team was going to score more then 6 TDs for him?

    • Ben Hert

      “All of a sudden we started seeing a significant increase in the number of screens and short passes called. However, Foles failed to put points on the board, throwing only 6 TDs in 7 games.”

      Not to sound too accusatory, but how is it Foles’ fault if we can’t score off of those plays? The point of that kind of game is to take the pressure off of your QB to make the plays and put it in the hands of your playmakers, which they failed to do…because we didn’t really have any at that point.

      One of the most common arguments I see against Foles is that he only put up good numbers against bad secondaries, like that’s a bad thing. Thats what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? Good defenses are going to make any QB’s numbers drop, especially a 4th round rookie on a crap team with nothing to fight for. I really don’t think people account enough for the fact that he was about 2-3 starters away from going up against NFL teams with the second string offense, and a dryer sheet of a defense.

      What did people expect from Foles last year in that given situation? There were no training wheels for Nick last year. Wilson and RG3 got to learn the position as rookies on Segways, while Foles was given a 25 dollar Craiglist bike with 2 flat tires and one pedal. The team had already given up by the time he took over. He was like the general who takes over an army after the commanding officer shoots himself to avoid capture. The outcome was already decided; there was no reason to keep fighting. And yet he still managed to go out there and impress people with all the intangibles needed to be a NFL caliber QB. He deserves a lot more credit than his detractors give him. Can we say the same of Vick, who is the only other option for us this year?

      • A_T_G

        Your analogies made me laugh. Good stuff all around.

      • aub32

        What good defenses did he face? Arguably the Bengals, but who else?

    • BillC

      I don’t want to break the taboo on the other QB, but I think it is unfair to assume that the change to a more screen friendly game plan was all about Foles’s shortcomings; it appeared that Vick was historically bad at the screen game, which had always been featured in Reid’s offenses until Vick came along. The fact that the game plan was changed to feature them more (when everyone’s had been screaming for more of them to counter the blitzes Vick was seeing) I believe had less to do with Foles’s shortcomings than with Vick’s.

      It’s also important, when pointing out that Foles was facing sub-par opponents, to keep in mind that he had essentially the Eagles’ JV offense surrounding him. It’s probably more fair to judge him on those games where the other factors were pretty much equal rather than judging him on his ability, as a rookie project, to lead a bunch of scrubs to victory over first-line NFL talent.

      That’s why I think the fairest evaluation is “incomplete.” For a rookie, who most people pegged as a project when he was drafted, he appeared ahead of schedule; however, he clearly has a lot to work on before he could be counted on as a NFL starter. As such, I think it is kind of ridiculous to assume that he will never be anything more than he was last year. That’s a possibility, but it doesn’t appear to be the most likely one.
      He’ll get better, the question to be asked is whether he can improve enough over the next few years. Anybody who claims to have that answer needs to be employed by an NFL franchise pronto, because they obviously will be winning multiple rings in that role in the future…

      • aub32

        I find it funny how Foles supporters always rush to the injury excuse. The make it seem like he lost against top level competition, when in reality the majority of the teams he faced had their woes as well.
        He played WAS who had the 3rd worst secondary and lost their two best pass rushers
        He played TB who had the worst secondary in the league.
        He played DAL who lost their 2 starting MLBs, Ware was playing hurt, and their #2 CB was no less a rookie than Foles.
        He played CAR which had one of the worst pass rushes of any team last season.
        The only complete team he faced was the Bengals, and he caused the play that changed the entire game around for the worse in my opinion.
        Stop givin him excuses. He played with NFL talent against NFL talent.

        • BillC

          Less a defense of Foles than pointing out the fallacious reasoning of your argument. Let me simplify:
          1. You argue that we MUST downgrade Foles’s successes (as admittedly limited as they were in the context of a rookie project being pressed into service) due to the lack of talent on the defenses he faced.
          2. At the very same time, you argue that we can’t consider the lack of talent surrounding Foles when he faced these and other teams.
          Pick one or the other – either judge Foles solely on what he did, regardless of the other talent on the field, or judge him in the context of ALL the talent on the field.
          As I noted, my evaluation is that Foles is ahead of where I thought he should be given his rookie project status last year. However, he still has a long way to go to prove that he can be a starting grade QB in the NFL. I expect he will improve from what he was last year, but no one (including me) knows whether he will ever improve enough, and history says it’s unlikely but not impossible.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Magical Andy and Marty Show

    It’s been suggested that Foles’ performance should be discounted because Reid/MM had a penchant for making crappy QBs look good — alluding to Kolb and Feeley.

    Foles was a rookie last year. When Kolb and Feeley filled in under Ried, they were both 2nd-year players.

    I think the best assessment here (made by several people) is the grade on Foles is *incomplete* right now.

  • Ark87

    Very nice article. This sort of article is great because at the moment not a lot of people are really looking at Foles in the context of potential, rookie-performance, etc.

    In a way we are really looking at him out of context. You are trying to examine him without starting a Foles v Vick crap storm. Why do these inevitably happen? Because the context of QB discussion in Philly is the QB competition. I’ll put it this way: whichever player loses this competition, faces what could be a career killing label/consequences. If Vick loses he is officially old and on the decline, the mercenary life until he retires. If Foles loses he will have a severe struggle to ever establish himself as anything but a career back-up (at the very least it is unlikely he will ever get a chance this good to show what he’s got again).

    There is a major cross road immediately in front of both of these players, It’s hard to talk about either player out of that context. But you performed admirably.

    • A Roy

      Are you kidding? Trying to examine one of the three potential QBs in Philadelphia and not start that storm? They’re still arguing McNabb or Kolb.

  • shah8

    Just saw a vid of Manziel vs Alabama and general Mariota highlights..

    1) Manziel is not NFL grade as a potential passer. He is much faster and more nimble than I thought he was. Very much like Vick, but doesn’t have the kind of true eliteness to get away with what he does in the pros on the ground. Think Dexter McCluster in college versus him in the pros.

    2) Mariota is slower than I thought he was, slower than Jake Locker. Not really that nimble, either. Does have NFL grade arm, not sure he has a cannon, though. Has poor-mediocre form when passing.

    As of now, neither are top of the first QBs in 2014.

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