Eagles Wake-Up Call: Too Early To Rule On Foles

It was dangerous to make any sweeping judgments about Nick Foles after a few preseason games. It is equally dangerous to label him following six-plus quarters of regular-season play.

That hasn’t stopped a whole slew of fans and pundits alike from jumping right off the Foles train, of course. From Chosen One to just another bum, in 90 minutes flat.

Before you write him off completely, take a look at how the other rookie quarterbacks performed in their first starts this season:

 
Result
Completion Percentage
TD
INT
QB Rating
Andrew LuckLost to Bears, 41-2151.11352.9
RGIIIDefeated Saints, 40-3273.120139.9
Ryan TannehillLost to Texans, 30-1055.60339.0
Brandon WeedenLost to Eagles, 17-1634.3045.1
Russell WilsonLost to Cardinals, 20-1652.91162.5
Nick FolesLost to Redskins, 31-645.70240.5

As you can see, RGIII is the outlier. Every other QB lost. Not only that, but the rest of the signal-callers combined for just two touchdowns while chucking up 13 interceptions.

As the season has progressed, each of the quarterbacks not named Griffin have seen their numbers and quarterback rating jump up.

It is very possibile that Foles follows suit.

“He learned an awful lot. I will say I am excited about this ballgame coming up because not always but normally that second start for a quarterback is normally a little better. So I’m excited about that,” said Marty Mornhinweg. “Now we’ve got to help him. I’ve got to help him, the line [has] got to help him, [and] the receivers have to help him. We dropped a host of balls [against Washington] so we’ve got to cumulatively get it to the next level so Nick can have some success.”

Foles’ challenge is all the greater playing behind a patchwork offensive line and for a team in a total tailspin. For that reason, it may be tough to get a real gauge of his potential even if he does start the rest of the season.

For now, the goal is to see gradual improvement, starting Monday against Carolina.

“I thought this week’s practices were better than last week’s. I thought he was just more comfortable in there playing,” said Andy Reid. “He doesn’t have any problems spitting all that stuff out and knowing it. Just knowing how to take your drops and make your drops work with the coverages and then the players that you’re playing with, making sure you have a good feel for them.”

Added Foles: “I feel more comfortable. I definitely feel like this week I’ve improved a lot. Just have to take it into the game.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil unveils his cheat sheet for the Eagles’ defense, which explores the big questions facing this team in the secondary.

The Eagles may be lacking in some key areas, but they are doing just fine in the confidence department. From “Dream Team” to “dynasty,” a look at some of the memorable quotes this group has put out there.

Bryce Brown will start in a meaningful  game for the first time since high school.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Michael Vick has taken another step forward in his recovery from a concussion. From the team’s website.

Quarterback Michael Vick threw Sunday at the NovaCare Complex, another critical step forward in his recovery from the concussion he suffered two weeks earlier against the Dallas Cowboys. Vick remains on the schedule head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder set forth on Saturday, and the next step as Vick reaches Phase 4 of his recovery is that he takes another ImPACT test on Monday to see if he has recovered to his baseline measurements.

The Nnamdi Asomugha  signing contributed to the Eagles’ downfall, according to Pro Football Focus. Via ESPN.com:

Asomugha’s reputation was inflated by being somewhat sheltered in Oakland. He played almost exclusively man coverage for the Raiders and rarely played anywhere other than the right side of the defense, the blind side for right-handed quarterbacks. While top corners move around to shadow top receivers, Asomugha played 82 percent of his snaps at right corner over his past two seasons in Oakland. Quarterbacks naturally target their open side more frequently, and given the other players in the Raiders’ secondary, Asomugha was simply avoided for the most part.

Over his last three seasons for the Raiders he averaged just 29 targets a season, fewer than two per game. In the past three fully-healthy seasons Darrelle Revis has played, he has averaged 93 targets per season, three times more than Asomugha.

In his first season with the Eagles, Asomugha’s targets rose to 47, and he allowed 61.7 percent of those passes to be caught, coughing up four touchdowns in the process. This season things are even worse: He has already been thrown at 41 times and given up three scores, while being beaten for an average of 17 yards per catch as he struggles badly to adjust to life playing zone coverage.

COMING UP

Eagles host the Panthers under the lights. Make sure you join us for our live chat beginning at kickoff. (Hey, you’ll need to vent somewhere.)

  • JofreyRice

    I guess the key for me is to see “gradual improvement”; considering how far Foles has to go to be a franchise QB, he’s pretty much got to show significant improvement every week. He can take the occasional step back, but he probably needs 3 forward, to make up for it. The thing that sticks in my craw about Foles’ first start is that It’s tough to point to any area of the game and say he looked like an NFL QB. He just didn’t–forcing balls into coverage, questionable accuracy and zip on anything more than 5 yards from the LOS, poor pocket awareness and movement–the game looked way too big for him.

    When one criticizes Vick–and Vick has deserved the criticism he’s received–it’s always done in the context of Vick as a very good runner with very good arm-talent that has huge holes in his game, preventing him from being a consistently good QB. With Foles, I don’t know that he has that same baseline of unquestioned NFL talent. It’s all going to depend on where he goes from here.

    • Joe Jones

      Well said. I think all Eagles fans want Nick to succeed. Finding the right QB ranks right there with finding the right coach. So obviously, we all want the guy to succeed. But wanting him to succeed should not enter into any analysis of his potential to be the guy going forward. Its unfair to reach any definitive conclusions after 1 start, but its also not right to qualify every turnover and mistake.

      Some were quick to justify every mistake as, “cant put that on Nick.” Mostly from the same people who were quick to put everything on Vick. We saw a small sample and a very uneven performance from Kevin Kolb and it turned out to be exactly who he was…..inconsistent and not quite good enough. But in our haste to find a successor to McNabb, many were quick to anoint Kevin as the real deal…..he isnt. He was handed the starting job in AZ and for 2 years, couldnt keep it due to injury and poor performance. Now after wasting the time, a starting corner, a 2nd rd pick and lots of money…..the Cards are gonna be back in the market for a qb.
      I agree with your analysis and hope that Eagles management and fans dont confuse our desire for Nick to succeed with his actual ability to succeed. Its analagous to the wrenching over the last few roster spots after camp. Its always, “man, I’d hate to lose this guy” or “I dont wanna risk so and so to the practice squad…” This year we cut a 2nd round pick in his 2nd year and the guy hasnt been able to catch on to an NFL roster. Every team and most fans overvalue their own talent.

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    Foles looked bad in areas I’m not sure he’s going to improve upon. His arm strength is in question. His accuracy is in question. And his toughness is in question…he doesn’t take a hit well, and if he’s playing behind this line he’s gonna get hit. But, we will see.