Good Coaching

Posted: December 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 98 Comments »

More than a few of you were bothered by some of my comments in the previous post. Let’s get into a few of the topics.

* Arm Strength – Many of you are quick to assume that a QB with a strong arm is defined only by that strong arm. Joe Flacco and Matt Stafford are gifted passers. They have the 2 best arms in the NFL, but that’s not all they do. Those guys can throw touch passes. They can make incredibly accurate throws. There are times when they look great.

I think pure arm strength is absolutely overrated. But let’s not come up with a double standard and hold it against QBs. Nick Foles has a good enough arm. He’ll never be in the Top 10 arms in the NFL, but that’s fine. He knows how to play without having a great arm. Accuracy and decision-making are more critical to being a good QB than an explosive arm.

A QB with an explosive arm has an advantage. He can make throws that another QB can’t. Go watch the Stafford pass to Kris Durham late in the Dallas game. Nick Foles couldn’t make that throw if you gave him 50 chances. Stafford did it perfectly and it helped them to steal a game. The ball wasn’t just thrown hard. It was accurate and catchable. That was a special throw. Colin Kaepernick made an incredible throw on Sunday for a long TD.

Foles is fine as is, but I think it is silly to act as though him having a stronger arm would be a bad thing.

* Mike Vick in Kelly’s offense – After my thought about what it would be like to see a really gifted QB in Kelly’s offense, some of you responded that we already saw that with Vick. Yes and no. Vick is incredibly gifted. No one disputes that. But he’s not a polished QB.

I was thinking about a QB who had physical gifts and polished pocket passer skills. My #1 choice would be Aaron Rodgers. I think he could do amazing things in this offense.

* The Kelly Factor – LeSean McCoy is having his best season. DeSean Jackson is having his best season. Foles is playing brilliantly. Riley Cooper is having a breakout season. And so on. When we speculate about other players in this offense, we have to imagine that playing for Chip Kelly would have a serious effect on them.

Kelly has the offense doing some historically good things. That’s not an accident. The man is a great offensive coach. And when you factor in the sports science stuff, there is no doubt in my mind he would bring out the best in most QBs. Vick had his highest rated consecutive games in Weeks 1 & 2 this year.

This isn’t to say that Nick Foles is the product of a system. Foles is playing really well. Kelly and his systems (on/off the field) are bringing out the best in Foles.

I don’t think nearly enough people realize the importance of circumstances to the success of players. Few guys step from the draft into the NFL and shine regardless of where they play and who they play for. Most guys need the right situation. Joe Montana became a great QB because he was coached by Bill Walsh. He might have had a good NFL career elsewhere, but going to SF brought out the best in him. He was perfect for the WCO. And he was the right guy to be the centerpiece of Walsh’s team.

Just look at John Elway. He was a very good player for Dan Reeves. He managed to put 3 teams on his back and get them to the Super Bowl. But he played his best football under Mike Shanahan, starting in 1995. Shanny was able to develop a consistent running game and that meant Elway no longer had to carry the team on his back. How often can you look at a player’s final 4 seasons and say they were the best of his career? That’s crazy. That’s also the impact of the right coach/system on a player.

Look no farther than Brian Dawkins. He was headed for a good career under Ray Rhodes. It was Andy Reid and Jim Johnson that turned him into a player that has a shot to get into the Hall of Fame.

Foles was a great player in high school. He was a very good QB at Arizona. He had success under Reid last year. He’s not just a product of Kelly’s system. Foles is playing great partly due to the system. It brings out the best in him.

My point that got all of this going was to wonder what Kelly’s system might to for another QB who happens to have even better physical gifts than Foles. Obviously the player would only thrive if he also made good decisions and was an accurate passer.

* * * * *

Safety Keelan Johnson was added to the roster today. Both Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson are banged up. Johnson offers depth and the chance to help on STs. He’s been here for quite a while so he should be fairly familiar with the scheme.

I’m interested to see how Johnson does. Anderson is such a good STer that he’s a near lock to be back. Coleman is solid, but not a special player. He’s likely gone. Johnson could take his spot next year.

Someone asked me about Roc Carmichael today. Let’s talk about all the DBs for a second. Brandon Boykin is a good Nickel CB and STer. Nate Allen is worth bringing back if the price is right. Earl Wolff should be a starter or competing for a starting role next year.

Beyond them, everyone is expendable. You keep who you want, but none of them have looked so good you don’t at least try to upgrade on them. There could be another massive change in the secondary this offseason. The Eagles need at least one top talent in the back end, be it a CB or S. Offenses need at least one player to be concerned about.

_


  • Anders

    Regarding Vick, I just assumed you meant something like him because you began to talk about RG3 right after.

    Aaron Rodgers or even Andrew Luck is most likely the prototypical QB for any system, so they would look great/good in any system.

    • D-von

      Aaron Rodgers – yes. Don’t know about luck. Luck doesn’t have the running speed or passing ability that Rodgers has.

      • TommyLawlor

        Luck is faster than you think.

        • D-von

          40 speed he does but playing speed I don’t see it

      • Anders

        Luck has 365 rushing yards and ran a 4.67 at the combine, Rodgers ran a 4.71 and his career high in rushing is 356.

        To compare McNabb ran 4.64 and career high of 629

        • D-von

          Ok I admit that I was wrong about luck’s speed but his play has dropped of after the loss of Wayne. I don’t think he is on the same level as Rodgers

          • Anders

            I agree he isnt on that level yet, but Luck is the “perfect” QB prospect (Jamies Winston will be an even more “perfect” prospect tho)

          • D-von

            I think Winston will be good. He’s a QB first and a runner second which excites me. Any team that gets him will be lucky… Unless it’s the raiders or the cowboys. They would ruin him

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            As long as he doesn’t keep up the Roethlisberger impersonation, that is.

        • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

          Luck ran a 4.59 in his other 40.

          Kid’s a beast.

  • D-von

    Do you really think stafford can make the same plays with our smallish WRs? I never understood people’s love affair with stafford. His numbers are inflated with megatron.

    • TommyLawlor

      Stafford uses Megatron because he’s available. I was a huge fan of his at UGA. He can get the ball to any receiver he wants to. Really gifted passer.

      • D-von

        He throws into coverage too much. Tied for 3rd in ints this year with 17. That’s a problem. He probably would have more if not for megatron.

        • Anders

          Stafford forces a lot of throws to Megatron, maybe he would have less ints if he didnt have Megatron?

          • bill

            I’ve said it before – losing that massively dominant receiver can sometimes be good for a QB. Forces him to focus more on making good reads. Or it can shatter him. Only one way to find out, though…

        • TommyLawlor

          I don’t dispute that INTs are a problem. Stafford forces too many passes. Bad habit of his.

          • D-von

            The reason the eagles are were they are right now is because they take care of the football. Stafford ints would have killed this defense.

          • TommyLawlor

            Re-read the article above. Kelly’s system and Kelly’s coaching would have a substantial impact on Stafford. That’s one of my key points.

          • D-von

            I don’t see how you can come to that conclusion. You’re dealing with hypotheticals. For all we know stafford could play worse here than in Detroit.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            It’s not conjecture that Kelly would have an impact on Stafford. Coaches have an impact on players. That isn’t an arguable point.

            You can argue that the impact wouldn’t be significant, or even that the impact wouldn’t be positive, but saying that Kelly would have an impact on Stafford isn’t a hypothetical.

          • D-von

            We don’t know what would happen if chip kelly ever coached stafford. Lawlor thinks he would play better. That’s his hypothesis therefore a hypothetical

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Do you have a quote? The closest he comes to saying that Stafford would play better is the comment saying “Kelly’s coaching would have a substantial impact on Stafford.”

            In the article, he says “Obviously the player would only thrive if he also made good decisions and was an accurate passer.” That’s not disagreeing with your proposition that Stafford wouldn’t do well because he doesn’t make good decisions.

          • D-von

            He brings up McCoy’s, Jackson’s and Cooper’s career seasons and then proceeds to say “When we speculate about other players in this offense, we have to
            imagine that playing for Chip Kelly would have a serious effect on them.” By stating this together he believes that Kelly would have a “substantial impact,” as you put it,on a variety of offensive players including Stafford in a positive effect and not a negative. I not saying he is wrong but that is still hypothetical. If Kelly could bring the best out of people why was Barkley terrible when he played. What happened Demaris Johnson and James Casey. If you can’t see that then I don’t know what else to say to you.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Why was Barkley terrible when he played?

            Really? You’re using a 23 year old rookie 4th rounder performing poorly after being thrown into games the Eagles were losing, after injuries to the starter, as an example of Chip not bringing out the best in people?

            Really?

            Also, nothing “happened” to Damaris Johnson. He wasn’t any good last year either. A UFA who has never done anything outside of the preseason not performing well in the regular season isn’t surprising. It’s normal.

            As for Casey, the only thing that’s happened to him is that Ertz, Celek and Shady are all better receivers than he is, and Celek is a much better blocker. He isn’t performing poorly, he just isn’t good enough to crack the lineup.

          • D-von

            Its fine if you don’t like my examples but that still doesn’t dispute the fact that he is using hypotheticals

          • Mike Flick

            Since Kelly doesn’t deal with hypotheticals, he could have never coached a hypothetical Stafford. :)

          • BlindChow

            Hypothetical Stafford would be nothing without Hypothetical Megatron.

          • Patrick

            He could also play better or get injured and be done in the league. I don’t think Jim Schwartz is the kind of coach who gets on Stafford for throwing an interception, just look at how undisciplined that entire team is.

            Look at Darwin Walker who failed miserable in Buffalo but became an above average player here. Look how Nate Allen is playing. Look how Chip and the guys didn’t trust Graham and Curry in the beginning of the season because they didn’t something other than they should be doing. Coaching is everything in the NFL, the player brings the talent with him and the team needs to develop that and put the player in the right position. Yeah, Peyton Manning would have been good regardless, but Tom Moore took that dude to the level of his legacy. A lot of people wouldn’t touch Philip Rivers because of his throwing mechanics, his attitude and him throwing to many interceptions, it worked out well in SD.

            Besides, I think the discussion about Stafford throwing in to coverage is wildly inaccurate. You can’t cover Megatron. Throwing like he does to the other lions WRs or for instance throwing the same passes to DeSean, yeah, huge mistake, but i’ll take the chance lobbing it to Calvin and hoping for the best. Statistically i think i would come out on top on that. San Fran threw tons of passes that they really shouldn’t have towards Jerry Rice.

          • Andy124

            You’re dealing with hypotheticals.
            He’s not coach Kelly, he’s allowed to deal in hypotheticals.

          • BlindChow

            Well, Vick had a serious turnover problem before Kelly came to town; and other than the KC game, he’s been much better.

            I don’t think it’s an unreasonable inference that Stafford would respond likewise.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            I think that the INTs might partially stem from having such a special arm. He’s always been able to make throws that other people can’t, so he never learned not to make throws that he shouldn’t.

          • Mike Flick

            But more likely it is a product of throwing bad passes into triple coverage.

            With Megatron doubled/tripled every play there are other players who are open. Stafford makes bad decisions frequently, and at inopportune times.

          • deg0ey

            It also helps that even when he throws passes he shouldn’t, Megatron’s probably still going to catch it. When you’ve got a receiver like that, there’s an extent to which you’ve just gotta chuck it in his direction and let him do what he do – it’s gonna turn out positively more times than not.

  • Sean

    We use the term “system QB” pejoratively, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a guy who wouldn’t have the same level of success in another offensive scheme. Most QBs are system quarterbacks, even some great ones. Drew Brees was a good, if not unspectacular, QB in San Diego. He teamed with Sean Payton and is now headed to the HOF. Foles might just be an excellent system QB and that’s fine.

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      *cough*Tom Brady*cough*

  • shah8

    Of course, I disagree with two points here:

    1) Nick Foles does not have plus arm strength. Practically, on field, he might not even have average arm strength. My bar is effectively Matt Ryan. You must have, and be able to effectively use, the amount of arm strength Matt Ryan has. Anything under that, like Schaub, or Dalton, and it’s basically hopeless for winning big without A LOT of luck or defensive domination. I do not think Nick Foles has a practically strong arm because I see him struggle to make throws even marginal QBs ought to be able to make. Over the post Giants period, virtually every time I see him attempt a throw intermediate-deep, and at the numbers or further outside, the only times these throws are accurate is when they are lofted and not driven. And that’s what arm strength really is about: driving balls and being accurate at that velocity. You can spend lots of time pretending that Foles has a strong enough arm, but I’ve heard this story before with Ponder. And Ponder has a stronger arm than Foles. Ponder is simply even less accurate when he drives the ball to the outside, and unlike Foles who lofts balls, Ponder tries to cut velocity trying to aim his passes. Either way, I’m seeing a lot of passes not only give defenders a chance, but are late to boot. Go back to the Detroit Lions game. Rashean Mathis had a couple of passes defended, and I think both, but I know one–the knocked down potential TD pass to Cooper, was possible at all because the pass.was.slow.

    In general, Foles’ play since the start of the second half of the Redskins has been highly problematic, outside a few series.

    2) We have seen what Vick is in this offense, and I’d like that dominating rush offense that doesn’t have quite so many three-and-outs, and still takes plenty of those shots downfield. More than that, Vick is simply not a marginal passer. I like and admire Vick in very large part *because* he is a good passer, and Vick is substantially a more reliable passer than either Stafford or Flacco. I find it very hard to think that Vick is “unpolished”. He’s clearly better at it than Donovan McNabb, so would you say that McNabb is unrefined? What does “unpolished” even mean here, anyways? When I think unpolished in the positive way, I think Joe Webb. When I think of it in the negative way, for a consistent starter, I think Jake Skelton or Brandon Weeden. When I think of someone who’s been around awhile, I think of Derek Anderson or Chad Henne. Vick doesn’t look like Rex Grossman or Patrick Fitzgerald, or if you’re think of the other hard throwers, would he at all look like Kyle Boller? I mean, Vick is a lot better at being a pocket QB than someone like Sam Bradford, and Sam Bradford is a long way from being incompetent, even if he’s not amazing. It never really ceases to amaze me just how *hard* people try to pretend that Vick isn’t any good. It’s just football, guys. It’s not a topsy turvy scary world if the person you don’t like is at the helm.

    • D-von

      Vick is not better than McNabb. Nowhere close.

      • shah8

        Much more accurate, much more likely to trust his reads and throw, and better able to extend plays.

        Remember, oftentimes, a low INT percentage is an artifact of excessive conservatism. If a dude has *really* low INTs, you can infer that he’s not taking any sort of risks at all. That tends to be bad. Sometimes, like Foles, or Alex Smith, you’re still winding up with TDs, but with both, many of those TDs aren’t at maximum utility, so to speak.

        • D-von

          Whatever man

          • shah8

            Not much to say to that, eh?

          • D-von

            Nope

        • shah8

          On the contrary, take a look at Aaron Rogers. He gets his low INT ratios because he’s really freaking awesome at placing his balls, and most of his passes are very hard for any defenders to get to.

        • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

          Vick is nowhere near as good as McNabb.

          McNabb has a higher CMP%, a higher TD%, a lower INT% and a much lower Sack%, oh and only 4 more fumbles in 40 more games played.

          There isn’t an argument.

          • shah8

            By and large, on much better teams, even given Pinkston, Thrash, and Fred-Ex. I mean, Vick’s still the dude with the highest career Eagles QB rating, last I heard, right?

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Well, if you only cherry pick Vick’s best seasons, he still has a higher INT%. He does improve enough to have the same TD% and Sack% as McNabb, though, and his CMP% does move from 3 points below McNabb’s career average to .5 ahead.

            Of course, if you do an apples to apples comparison and only take McNabb’s stats from 30-33 (the ages Vick has started for the Eagles), he then goes back to being better than Vick by every measurable other than Y/A.

          • shah8

            Well, technically, I wasn’t really going from stats. I was going from the play on the tape. I wouldn’t deny that McNabb had better stats, but seriously, being on good teams can really inflate stats by a bunch, consider Cassel just now. Was that 63.4% completion at NE at all reflective of his real talents? Or the high 50s in KC? Just two winning seasons and one postseason where he got plastered. Or you could consider Schaub! Schaub has had a few killer years, you know. On the other hand, what do you think happens to him when he’s up against real talent when they mean it? Schaub tends to fold. Kyle Orton has also had some really awesome years. Doesn’t mean that he was any better than Scott Mitchell or John Kitna. This is not to say that DMac wasn’t a good to great QB, but Vick 2010+ was no dropoff, and probably better from the technical standpoint.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Vick has had a shitload more offensive talent from 30-33 (10-13) than McNabb did at the same age (06-09).

            McNabb’s best receiver in 2006 was Reggie Brown. His best receiver in 2007 was Kevin Curtis. He got Desean in 08 and Maclin in 09. Vick had both for his entire run with the Eagles.

            Vick also has had a much better run game, since Shady is just flat out better than Westy was from 06-09.

            Then there’s the fact that Celek only cracked the starting lineup and gave the Eagles a viable TE receiver in 2009, when he had his best season with McNabb as the passer. Vick has had him as the starter for all four years.

          • shah8

            Well, don’t forget to include the OL and Defense, yo!

            Or Brian Westbrook, however much he was getting old, he was still having career years then!

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            I remembered Westbrook. Westbrook was great, but Shady is better.

            McNabb did have a better O-Line. That’s true.

            As for the defense, only the ’08 defense was especially good. The ’07 defense was essentially equivalent to the ’11 defense, and the ’09 defense was pretty much the same as the ’10 defense. ’06 was perfectly average and ’12 was outright terrible, though.

            McNabb gets the edge, but it’s not as big a separation as one might think, and is more than offset by the disparity in offensive talent.

          • Cafone

            Shady is a better running back, but Westbrook was a better receiver, and crutch for McNabb.

            I’ll take Vick over McNabb because Vick cares more, works harder, and is more of a leader.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Vick works harder and cares more than just about anyone else in this league. That’s nice and all, but it doesn’t make him a good QB.

            I’ll take the more touchdowns and fewer interceptions and injuries, myself. Scoring points, staying in the game and not giving the other team the ball are always nice things to fall back on when you aren’t great at inspiring everyone….

            Uh, I mean…something, something…puked in the Super Bowl! Something something…smiles too much! McNabb is TEH SUXORZ!

          • shah8

            Remember, I watched Dmac in Minn. Didn’t see much of his DC games. He wasn’t as bad as the haters said, and he was working with a terrible WR corps in a malformed scheme caused by the lockout situation. However, he did have pieces like Percy Harvin. McNabb always had some misfires, as you know, but he was a very tentative passer who didn’t elevate the rest of his offense much. By the time he was finally technically playing well in the Chicago game, Speilman had Frazier put his man Ponder in, and the horror story began. Andy Reid really did protect McNabb in away he did not Vick in 2011 and 2012, in terms of having to run anything like a sophisticated passing offense. Vick also was a key factor in the emergence of Shady, and was a major impact on DJax having a historically high y/c. A full season of Vick may well have meant that DJax would have had as historic a season as Torry Holt has had.

          • Cafone

            Vick was able to adapt to and shine in a new system. McNabb went to Washington and couldn’t be bothered to learn the plays.

            Can anyone seriously imagine McNabb in this offense if Kelly got here 5 years sooner? The idea is laughable. If Kelly stuck with him, we would have all been talking about how the Chip Kelly offense can’t work in the NFL.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            If you are both paying attention to the situation in Washington right now and giving Shanahan the benefit of the doubt with regards to the McNabb situation, then have I got a bridge for you.

          • BlindChow

            shah8 doesn’t look at stats, though, because they don’t support his theories. You’ll need a more esoteric argument, preferably based on passing your own personal eye test. It’s hard to refute assertions when they’re based solely on subjective observations with unknown parameters!

          • Andy124

            Vick’s still the dude with the highest career Eagles QB rating

            So stats mean nothing unless they support your argument eh? Although, last I heard, Foles now has enough attempts to qualify, and is the Eagles career leader in passer rating.

          • Finlay Jones

            ” I mean, Vick’s still the dude with the highest career Eagles QB rating, last I heard, right?” nope, its Foles.

    • Sean

      Vick is in no way a substantially more reliable passer than Stafford, Flacco, or even Bradford. Besides, any discussion about Vick and his relative merits is academic – he can’t stay healthy. He’ll get hurt and it will hinder his play significantly until he gets hurt even worse and has to miss a stretch of games. If 100% healthy Vick could be the QB for 16 games, the Eagles would really have something. Unfortunately, we know he simply cannot.

      • shah8

        Have you seen Joe Flacco’s numbers this year? Even last year, with better numbers, he was, in practice, quite pedestrian until the playoffs. And what’s on the tape that causes those numbers is that Flacco is a very pedestrian (and non-instinctual) reader of defenses. Conservative on the wrong time, agressive on the wrong times too. But a good arm? Fixes many problems like that. Two games in a row, won by a monster throw under two different adverse circumstance.

        And Stafford, hey, what his record for victories against winning teams now? Must’ve improved with victories against Dallas, Chi, GB this year. Stafford’s mechanics are really really wonky. Sometimes that helps him, but oftentimes, it just spirals out of hand when he’s off balance. Good arm? Fixes many problems like that.

        Vick isn’t super great at reading defenses, but when I watch him, I see him make more or less the right reads most of the time.

        As for injuries? Much of that is simply bad luck. You wanna know whose career is really in trouble for injuries? Jake Locker–’cause he’s getting badly hurt on nothing plays, akin to a Bob Sanders.

        • Cafone

          Most of Vick’s injuries have been bad luck, but not the latest one… Pulling up with a bad hammy without being touched? That’s an old man’s injury.

          • shah8

            Yup, understood, but that’s still random.

            And when I say bad luck, it’s pretty freaky stuff, like breaking a leg on a slide (Brian Hoyer’s ACL injury brought bad memories). Others, it was just being a tad too brave, like going for that TD and getting sandwiched as hard as he was in DC. He doesn’t get hurt then, he’s probably in better (or maybe worse shape, if nagging injuries got to heal) shape for the postseason in ’10. That’s on him. And much of it was just abuse, like what happened in 2012. Nobody really will be getting on his ass about that other than worry about recurring concussions, since he clearly was playing through small ones before getting his bad one last year.

        • Sean

          Why are you wasting your time in a comments section? You obviously have a masterful eye for evaluating QBs. You’ve come up with some sort of system for determining how good they are at “making reads.” I think the scouting community needs your invaluable input.

    • Finlay Jones

      “Vick is simply not a marginal passer. I like and admire Vick in very large part *because* he is a good passer, and Vick is substantially a more reliable passer than either Stafford or Flacco”
      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
      good one bro. you’re a total fool.

      • BlindChow

        Over his last three games Vick was completing less than 50% of his passes. Those are Tebow numbers.

        • Finlay Jones

          This dude’s just the absolute worst. He’s like all the worst
          vicktrolls on the EMB combined into one super vicktroll.

          • BlindChow

            Actually, Vick’s passing numbers are even worse than that in the red zone this year:

            5 of 19 for 38 yards (26%), 1 TD, 57.1 rating

            One of the problems we had in the KC, Denver, and (the first half of) the Giants games was having to settle for FG’s once we hit the RZ.

            I don’t mind the argument that Foles isn’t “the guy,” but to say that Vick is clearly the superior passing option is terrible revisionism.

        • Jernst

          Don’t you realize that stats don’t matter? They’re stupid…all that matters is how pretty and fast the ball gets there not whether it’s completed. Also, who cares that Vick was terrible in the red zone and Foles is 20-28 w 15 tds(3rushing)? Didn’t you see what a noodle arm Foles has when he drove the ball 60yards down field in an epic blizzard.

    • RobNE

      Shah8: I don’t want the game well enough to comment on your point #2, but your point #1 was well said. It painted a picture in my mind and presented easy benchmarks. I’ve been frustrated in the past by your “can’t make all the throws comments”. This makes it more clear for me. I watch the Bengals with Dalton just cannot seem to get over that hump, or Schaub, and is that Foles’ ceiling? I don’t know (I know you think you do). But I am concerned about that.

      On the other hand, watching Vick turn the ball over in the red zone is just heartbreaking.

      In the end, these discussions of would you take Foles or Stafford are fun, but really, these are make believe questions. You can’t (99% likely) make those trades. Is Foles good enough in this system with this coach to allow the team to spend resources elsewhere, or else how are you going to upgrade Foles? I know you don’t have the answer I’m just re-framing the question a lot of people have posed.

      Also, can Foles with more lifting and experience reach the Matt Ryan bar you have set? You say no now, but is that no forever? Because casting away a QB resource is expensive, you should be really sure.

    • CrackSammich

      You seem to rate quarterbacks in a numerical rating system like they would be in Madden. I mean, that’s fine, in a video game. It just doesn’t really translate to real life. I see your argument that you don’t think Foles will end up being anything special. That, too, is fine. But he’s racking up stats you can’t simply dismiss however hard you try.

      • BlindChow

        Oh, he can dismiss them all right.

  • SteveH

    Cyprien man, I wanted Cyprien.

    I’m ok with Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams still being on the roster next year as long as we bring in someone else, whether its a draft pick or a FA, to push the both of them. At safety, Earl Wolff and Nate Allen is a so-so plan, but again I would not hesitate to bring in someone else to push those two. Boykin is a stellar slot guy, we got that part down at least.

    • D-von

      I wanted Cyprien too but Ertz is a nice consolation prize.

  • shah8

    Ah, one other thing, not that this is really contrary to the thrust of the piece, but Kelly’s system for Foles is substantially different than for Vick, particularly on second and third down. When it comes to some other talent, you probably can expect strong differences in play structure, for a Stafford, or Flacco.

  • SteveH

    Tommy what did you think of Cary Williams comments referenced in this article:

    http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2013/12/17/5221996/cary-williams-im-glad-we-lost-eagles-vikings

    If that was the vibe around the locker room then a little humble pie might have been just what the doctor ordered.

  • Vick or Nick

    People are always quick to pin point a player, coach, or scheme for failure or success. It really is a combination of everything.

    RE: Prototypical QB

    Having the arm strength to make a highlight throw that may win you a game is nice, but a luxury.

    The one biggest attribute for Elite QBs is decision making.
    Rodgers, Brees, Manning, and Brady all make great decisions with the football.

    What was most exciting (in my opinion) about what Foles was doing during his hot streak, was that he was making great decisions. He didn’t necessarily make any highlight throws. He just made the right throw at the right time.

    Brady does this better than anyone right now. He scans the entire field and almost always makes a defense pay for leaving someone open. Hence why he continues to win with a different set of receivers every year.

    Foles’ ceiling is Brady-like. And I don’t say this lightly. I know what Brady has done and continues to do. With the right experience and growth Foles can develop into that type of Elite QB.

    I don’t think he will ever have Manning’s intelligence, Brees’ accuracy, or Rodgers’ touch. But he can match Brady’s ability to see the field and make the right decision at the right time.

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      I agree. Brees, Rodgers, Manning and Brady are pretty much the archetypes right now, and Foles is a Brady-style QB.

      That isn’t to say that he’ll be anywhere near as successful as Brady, just that they play the game in a similar fashion.

  • deg0ey

    I still think that, when considering the strengths and weaknesses, Foles is most like Tom Brady. The obvious caveat here (before people overreact to what I just said) is that he’s not as good yet, but if you consider the areas of Nick’s game that he’s particularly good at (short/intermediate throws, decision making, looking off safeties etc) you tend to come up with a similar list of things to what Brady does well. Likewise, you’d also probably say that the biggest weaknesses in both guys are ‘chucking it deep’ and ‘being fast’.

    I think they both got drafted into similar situations; they both spent a season as a backup and then got thrown in due to injury and played well enough to win the job, they both play in a scheme that really suits their style, they’ve both benefitted from above-average OL play.

    Obviously it remains to be seen whether Foles can ever get to that level, but there are definitely some similarities there.

    • Dan

      If you are comparing him to the beginning of Brady’s career I can go with this, when he was basically told he didn’t need to win games by himself just not lose game, though now Brady is on a whole other level. It will be interesting to see how Foles can progress considering he has had only about a year in service and a lot more adversity than Brady did at the start of his career.

      • deg0ey

        Yeah, that’s kinda my point – coming into the league, they had similar skill-sets, similar situations and (relatively) similar production. If I’m being honest, I don’t see any real reason why Foles couldn’t become just as good of a QB; let’s just hope he can make it happen :-)

        • bill

          I think the Brady comparison is dangerous. First, Brady had the confidence builder of the Belicheat system, and it can’t be denied that maintaining confidence is one of the hardest things for a young NFL QB. It also gave him the ability to completely trust the system and not develop bad habits.
          Second, Brady had a tremendous work ethic, and substantially improved several aspects of his game AFTER his first season of being “the guy.” Just to make the NFL, most guys have to have a great work ethic (compared to the average joe), but Brady’s was unusually high for non-rookies. If Foles has that same quality, then sure, the comparison is pretty valid.
          I just don’t know if Foles will have it or not, and his physical limitations are significant enough (like Brady, granted) that he needs to have it to vault above the level of middling starter in the long term. This is why I think anyone who has complete confidence in what Foles’s ceiling is right now (positive or negative) is being foolish. I think he’s established that, at worst, he can be a competent back-up in the league, but beyond that, I have no confidence in what his career will look like once it’s done.

          • austinfan

            Brady had a great defense his first few years, which gave him the luxury of throwing the ball away, knowing he’d get the ball back with the game in reach. That makes it much easier to play QB.

          • bill

            great defense, and he knew that if he did what Belicheat told him to do in the second half, he’d be pretty successful. Those two things combined made it probably the best situation a young QB could be in.

          • deg0ey

            I don’t think it’s a ‘dangerous’ comparison at all. I think it’s actually quite a useful comparison.

            Nick’s never going to be able to launch it like Stafford or run like Vick; he just doesn’t have the physical ability to do those things. Developing into a QB like Brady, however, is completely within his capability.

            I genuinely don’t see a reason why, with enough hard work and experience, Foles couldn’t reach the same level as Tom. Whether he ever gets there or not is all on him, but based on the comments from Nick and Chip so far this year, I think he’s at least got a shot.

          • bill

            I think we agree, I’m just emphasizing the unknown more than you. Foles has shown enough that I want to see what he can with a full offseason as “the guy” with Kelly and his staff able to give explicit advice on what to work on on his own time. But I still acknowledge that he may have a good work ethic, just not Brady-like, and that will make a big difference in outcome. Only way to know is to find out.

          • deg0ey

            Very true. I’m actually quite enjoying the unknown – it’s nice to have a guy who might be a stud instead of a guy that definitely isn’t for a change.

  • Cafone

    Considering Chip Kelly’s excellent conditioning program, maybe the Eagles should take a look at Jared Lorenzen.

    • TommyLawlor

      The ultimate challenge.

  • Finlay Jones

    “Foles is fine as is, but I think it is silly to act as though him having a stronger arm would be a bad thing.” That certainly is not what I meant- I’d love it if he had better legs and a bigger arm, I just think sometimes people can look over the harder to define “talent”. I would say “lets not act like someone with a stronger arm would do better than Foles is”. They would have to be very close to Fole’s performance in decision making, accuracy, pocket presence, pocket courage etc, for the arm strength to make a difference.

  • Mike Flick

    Aaron Rodgers is an interesting example when talking about QBs and coaching. He fell in the draft because he was a ‘system’ QB. He landed in a place where he got to learn for 3 + years in the WCO. Which is a system perfectly suited to him. Watch what Flynn did when he was in Green Bay and what he did when he went other places. Now that he is a vet, it might be easier to move from system to system, but there is no guarantee.

    Ryan Leaf is a guy who all of the physical tools, but flamed out. If he had 3 years to mature and learn in a west coast system, would his career gone different?

    Cutler is another guy with a top arm. He may be going to his 3rd team next year.

    Going back to Foles, last game was a bad game and he threw 100+ QB rating, 3Tds 1 int 400+ yds. Repetitive accuracy, ability to be coached, understanding defenses. I think we downplay those traits that Foles by all appearance is very good at. Some of the reports from last year where he was very quick to pick up the WCO, and in his first year under Kelly picked it up. Listen to him at the press conference, he knows what defenses were played and what they were disguising. Did McNabb or Vick ever understand that?

    Maybe Kelly would hate Stafford, and he is a coach killer. A QB who is a tease will get a coach fired more assuredly than anything. Often paper upgrades (or arm strength upgrades) are not really upgrades. One dynamite throw does not make more TDs then consistent production.

  • Joseph Dubyk

    Honestly, Joe Flacco is the most mediocre QB there is when comparing him to the top QBs in the game. When you’re paid like he is you’re supposed to carry the team and make do with what you have like Brady does. I will take Foles and his potential over Flacco.

    • anon

      He’s doing enough to get them Ws. Biggest difference between he and Stafford last game — Flacco had 0 turnovers.

  • Andy124

    I do think Aaron Rodgers would be great in this system. Of course, I think Aaron Rodgers would be great in any system that isn’t just flat out broken.

    Stafford and Flacco? Keapernick? Talented guys. Not safe to assume they’d do as well as Foles under Kelly. Not safe to assume they wouldn’t either. Never going to find out.

  • CrackSammich

    Coleman will have a job somewhere next year. I’d rather it be here, though not in a starting role. Dude is a solid backup, a solid special teamer, and a good teammate. Shame he’s too small for the game.

    • P_P_K

      I’m with you. Kurt is a baller. He makes the most out of his physical abilities.

  • mg1313

    I agree that everyone else is ultimately expendable, but I’d like to keep Fletcher. I think he’s a good #2 corner and we can’t just turn over our secondary every year. I would love to see Cary Williams shopping for sconces elsewhere next year, although I imagine he won’t be since he’s signed for 2 years.

  • austinfan

    The most important attribute of a QB is field vision/decision making. You have to have adequate arm strength and functional mobility, but once you have those qualities, a great arm and/or great mobility only have marginal value, otherwise Cam Newton would be far superior to Peyton Manning.

    Joe Flacco would not look good in Chip’s scheme, he’s a “hold the ball and fire it in there” QB, like McNabb and Vick. That holds for a lot of strong arm guys, who depend too much on their arms, the same way mobile QBs tend to rely on their legs instead of their eyes.

    Jeff Garcia would have done fine with Chip until he got hurt, Rodgers would be fantastic, Brady would chew people up (though he’d have trouble on some of those Foles scrambles, not mobile enough), etc.

    Most of playing QB for Chip is quick, smart decisions, a great arm would help on 2-3 plays a game, but it requires a QB smart enough not to use that arm to force the ball into double coverage. A running QB would make the read option more potent, but how many running QBs can play QB well enough for Chip? We saw Vick’s limitations.

    • Michael Jorden

      “..a great arm would help on 2-3 plays a game, but it requires a QB smart enough not to use that arm to force the ball into double coverage..”

      This is mostly what I was trying to say in a post a while back – you said it better than I did. If the rocket arm came with Nick’s head and efficiency then great. But that’s exceedingly rare.

  • Neil

    Why stop at daydreaming about Aaron Rodgers? We could imagine genetically engineering Peyton Manning but with Elway’s arm and Vick’s ability as a runner in his early twenties.