One of the discussions that came out of the previous post was how to separate Nick Foles from previous young Eagles QBs Kevin Kolb and AJ Feeley.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing. Kolb started 7 games as an Eagle. Feeley started 7 games as an Eagle. Kolb never started more than 3 games in a row. Feeley started 5 in a row as a rookie.
Foles has already started 11 games. He started 6 consecutive games last year. He has started 3 games in a row and 5 of the last 6 this year. We’re getting a bigger sample size from Foles. The decision that Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly make on Foles in January will be better informed than any decision made on Feeley or Kolb. There will be less of a projection.
And the performance aspect isn’t even close.
We do need to acknowledge there are some circumstances at play. Foles has better skill players than Feeley did. Foles has a better OL than Kolb did. Last year when Foles had lesser skill players and a crappy OL, he put up lesser numbers. The flip side is that he was playing as a rookie, which the other guys didn’t really do.
In terms of skills, Kolb was the best athlete of the trio. Feeley had the best arm. Foles has the best combination of mechanics and pocket presence. Kolb did not handle pressure well. Feeley was fine there, but had too much of a gunslinger mentality. Instead of asking why he asked “why not?”.
Neither Kolb nor Feeley ever came close to leading the league in passer rating. The production we’re seeing from Foles is on a whole other level. Chip Kelly’s offense has been a big help to Foles, but the other guys usually played in a somewhat balanced attack. Feeley and Kolb each had 2 games with 36 or more pass attempts. Andy Reid dialed things back for them to protect the young QBs.
As a starter, Kolb led the Eagles to a pair of 30-point games. Feeley did it just once. Foles has already done it 3 times. Foles is the only one to produce 40 or more points.
If you just go by the eye test, Foles is clearly the best of the trio. The TD pass to Celek in the Giants game was a great throw. Sunday’s pass to Shady down the sideline was a tough throw. Foles uses pump fakes and eye movement better than the other two did. Foles moves better in the pocket and throws better on the run. He’s also run for 165 yards and 3 TDs as an Eagle. Feeley and Kolb combined for 96 yards and 1 TD.
Someone asked the question of why certain Eagles fans are so hesitant to fully buy in on Foles. The Eagles have been blessed with some great talent at QB over the years, but things never pan out as hoped. Randall Cunningham was more focused on being a star than a star QB. Donovan McNabb did turn out to be a franchise QB, but he never could get to the Brady/Manning level. Kolb was supposed to be the QB of the future and that didn’t work out. Michael Vick was a revelation in 2010 and has mostly disappointed since then.
Whether it is Foles, Kelly’s offense or blind luck, you cannot ignore the numbers that Foles and the offense are putting up right now. This is beyond anything we’ve seen from a young QB. This feels a bit like Vick and the run he had in 2010. That proved to be fool’s gold. The challenge for Foles and Kelly is to show that this is real and sustainable.