All-22: Issues For Foles Vs. Carolina

Nick Foles completed 16 of 21 passes for 119 yards in Monday night’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Offensively, the Eagles (wisely) relied on the legs of Bryce Brown and a quick passing attack. The offensive line actually held up pretty well – in part because Foles got rid of the ball quickly for the most part.

Here’s the breakdown of his throws by distance. Short is 5 yards or less from the line of scrimmage. Middle is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25 yards. And Bomb is more than 25 yards.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short91139
Middle6864
Deep1116
Bomb01N/A

As you can see, a lot of short throws – 11 of Foles’ 21 attempts were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and 19 of his 21 throws were within 15 yards.

He had some success on the intermediate throws, but once again, was not able to get the ball downfield. The one Bomb attempt was to Jeremy Maclin, and it drew a highly questionable 51-yard pass interference penalty.

To be fair, when I watched the All-22, I didn’t see a lot of missed opportunities downfield. The Eagles were playing without DeSean Jackson for most of the game, and the game-plan called for a more efficient, less explosive attack. The Eagles scored on four of their first five drives and only punted twice all game. Sean McDermott’s defense only blitzed Foles twice (1-for-2, 15 yards).

But once again, turnovers were the difference.

And while Foles wasn’t credited with any giveaways, there were three instances where he came awfully close to making a major mistake.

The first two came on the Eagles’ opening drive. They got the ball in the red zone, but then once again fell apart. On first down, Foles made a bad decision, targeting Jeremy Maclin (red circle) over the middle.


Maclin’s route leads him right into safety Sherrod Martin, who undercuts him and nearly comes away with an interception. Foles was late with the throw. He might have had a chance to hit Maclin earlier, but the Panthers had a linebacker dropping, so it would have been a difficult completion.

DeSean Jackson (bottom of the screen) was open for a shorter gain, or Foles could have waited for Riley Cooper (top of the screen) to get open against single coverage. Protection was actually pretty good. But instead, Foles forced one to Maclin.

After a botched snap, the Eagles faced third down on the same drive, and Foles was nearly picked off by Martin again. Here, you can see what he was looking at.


There’s a small window in the zone where Foles tries to squeeze a throw in to Maclin (yellow arrow). But he stares down the receiver from the time the ball is snapped, and Martin has a read on it the whole time. Not only that, but the defensive back at the top of the screen comes over to help too.


You can see with the close-up angle that by the time the ball arrives, it’s nearly picked off. And with the second defender behind Maclin, the pass has no chance of being complete. The first photo shows Foles didn’t have an open receiver, but he could have run, thrown the ball away or taken a sack since the Eagles were already in field-goal range.

And finally, later in the game, with the Eagles facing a third down in field-goal range, Foles almost turned it over again. This time, he had some pressure off the edge, but there was room to step up and make a throw. The safe play was dumping it off to Brown (red circle) and seeing if he could make a defender miss.


But Foles hesitated as he stepped up in the pocket and was late with the throw. By the time he unloaded, he had given cornerback Josh Norman time to break on the ball, and Foles threw behind the receiver.

The result was yet another near interception.

It was only his second career start, but clearly, better decision-making is something the coaches will harp on with Foles this week in practice.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • ben

    He didn’t do to bad more film study more reps = better choices

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

      He doesn’t have “IT.” I watched Bryce Brown start a game and even with the fumbles he clearly had “IT” Two and three-quarter Games of Foles and there’s nothing there, but possibly a career backup.

      • Kimbafuzz

        Exactly. He’s a game manager at this point.

        • 1972

          I hate game managers. last game manager to win a championship was 10 years ago, and u need a top 3 defense to boot

      • xlGmanlx

        Yet he put the ball on the ground twice and cost the igg’s the game. We need less turn overs not more. I also think RB is the easier of the two to show impact immediately.

  • smashmouth

    passing in the RZ has been a horror story with all Eagles QBs in the Mornhinweg offense. Can’t say that problem is Nick Foles only. Wondering why MM suddenly calls pass when the ground game has moved the ball well and gotten team into RZ.

  • alnguyen386

    Sheil, you have an axe to grind against Foles. The negative slant is unjustified. He played an efficient game. The offense consistently moved the ball. If it wasn’t for the fumbles and bad defense Foles and the offense would have had opportunities to make big plays in the second half. For a rookie I think he’s making progress. The big plays will come.

    • morgan c

      Ya, why are you only showing the three almost picks? I can’t remember your last All-22 post dedicated solely to almost-picks. Key word as well is almost. Ya, they were bad throws. But they weren’t picks. All that matters is an INT. A perfectly thrown ball that is tipped and picked-off is worse than a near-pick. I know you are trying to prove a point (Foles made bad decisions), but again, the results were zero picks.

      Furthermore, we all know they were bad throws. Please find something else to show us about Foles (either bad or good plays), but not the same stuff we already knew and saw and had highlighted to us ad nauseum by Gruden during the game.

      Come on Sheil, you’re much better than that.

      • JM

        What else can they show? The TD passes he threw…oh wait! The only other thing worth showing from this game was Bryce Brown rushing for more yards than Foles threw for. HA.

    • Bob A

      Agree 100%.He only threw 5 incompletions all night for a 76% completeion rate.His QB rating was 89, and it was 85 in the Dallas game; only the Redskins game was a poor job by him.In the 3 games Foles has played the Eagles have scored 23, 6, and 22. In the 8 games before that, the Eagles , with a much healthier team, only scored as many as 23 twice, against Detroit( exactly 23) and Baltimore.(24). Even an adequate defensive effort would have been enough for Foles to win 2 of his first 3. Sadly, they don’t have an adequate defense.

      • FMWarner

        Bob, your stats are correct but they don’t tell the whole story. Foles’ YPA was 5.6, which is terrible and a much better indicator of winning football than completion percentage. It’s easy to have a high completion percentage when most of your passes are dumpoffs to the back. I’m not out to get Foles, he might wind up being just fine. But he’s playing poorly right now, more poorly than Vick did. He looks like what he is: A rookie who wasn’t drafted very highly.

        • Bob A

          I agree , but this will be his 4th game, and much better QBs have had far worse starts to their careers. If you’ll notice I said that he needs to improve drastically, but I think it’s unfair to say he’s shown you nothing. His YPA is bad, but Marty had a plan, and Foles played within it. I would have loved to have seen what would happen if the Eagles actually had possession of the ball 3 more times; the 2 times Brown fumbled and Boykin’s fumble.

      • JM

        Yeah great they scored 22 points against the Panthers, on the back of Brown rushing. It had nothing to do with Foles so please don’t credit him with putting points on the board. He hasn’t thrown for a TD in his past two games and he is showing absolutely nothing to suggest he is a starter in this league.

        • Bob A

          OK, if you want to look at it that way, let’s look at the whole thing: What if Brown had just held onto the ball twice more, instead of fumbling, and Boykin didn’t cough it up at the 50 yard line? Then Foles gets 3 more shots to score , all with pretty decent field position. he played within Marty’s plan, which was to run the football, isn’t that what everyone was saying they wanted/ Again, if they win 23-17, everyone would have said he was steady , not spectacular, but since the D is that bad , they need 35 points every week, I don’t think Joe Montana could make up for the defense the Eagles play every week.

          • JohnB

            On top of all this, Foles had one starting O-lineman blocking for him, or trying to, so obviously the coaches’ plan was for him to get rid of the ball quickly. These people who want to write him off as a bust after two starts just want someone new to blame for a disastrous season. It’s been a team effort.

      • 1972

        you think the eagles scored 22 because of foles? or bryce brown?? i hate stat guys, watch the games. hes constantly late over the middle. 3 of those 5 incompletions were in the hands of the other team

        • Bob A

          Brown cost them points as well, so did Boykin, you can’t just throw away possessions ; those were worse than picks, because at least picks have a chance of happening 20 yards downfield. I actually don’t worry about stats that much, but I was making the point that he was mostly OK on all the things they measure. They move the ball with Foles in there, he makes the horrid O line look a little better by getting rid of the ball, they only punted twice all day. Now he has to finish the job in the red zone, and yes, that’s a big deal, but I do think he’ll get to the point where he does that.

      • JofreyRice

        Uhh…dude, that looked like an NFL QB to you? What would his QB Rating have been if it included 3 of the picks the Panthers dropped? How would 76% completion rating have looked, then? Outside of maybe 3 or 4 throws, what kind of NFL plays did you see? With a young QB, you should be looking for progression. If you’re going to analyze anything in a vacuum, it should be the individual plays, and how the QB performed, not stats. Look at Ryan Tannehill or Luck, their stats may not look that great on the sheet, but you they are making plays an NFL QB makes. Right now, Foles is not; like Sheil said, that’s not to say he never will. The follow on to that, is that if he’s going to be the guy for the Eagles next year, he should be progressing quickly, and the evidence shows he might not be progressing at all.

        And I say this having just rewatched the Pittsburgh game, where Vick couldn’t hold onto the ball if it was sewed to his hand. At this point, I don’t think we have a viable QB on this team, at all.

        Anyone accusing Sheil of being biased here needs to explore some other opinions on Foles, from national media, or other outlets. He might have flashed in the preseason, but during his regular season action, he’s been mostly bad.

        • Bob A

          DBs drop INTs every day, that’s why they are not WRs The Eagles drop plenty. If you want to say those are all plays that are lucky to not be INTs for this QB alone, then be consistent. That means the 2 balls that hit DJax and Celek right in the hands in the other games and got picked anyway should have been complete passes. That’s not how the game works though. I saw the game. In the first drive he looked as good as any QB until he got to the red zone, where IMO the problem lies more with the OC than anyone else. I’m seeing progression, but he may not progress by the end of the season to be a finished product. They’ll have to decide whether Geno Smith or Matt Barkley is likely to be way better than Foles, because if they aren’t, the Eagles have needs at multiple positions (S, OL,DL,etc.). Tannehill, Weeden,Wilson aren’t finished products either. Only Luck is about near where he needs to be. This will be Foles second shot at Dallas, so I’ll be interested to see what he learned in the first meeting. I wasn’t the one accusing Shiel of being biased BTW, that was someone else, I’m just saying that there are some good signs, and yes, signs that he has progressed.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, sorry if I caught you in that umbrella. I didn’t mean to, but wanted to make a general note about the accusation.

            I agree he made a couple good throws on the opening drive, but his 2 decisions in the redzone that should have been intercepted had nothing to do with the call, they were just slow reads, and bad throws. I’d be fine with putting those tipped balls on the receivers, rather than Foles.

            If you want me to buy that Nick Foles can progress from here, into a viable NFL QB, maybe I’d buy that, with the caveat that it’s going to be a long road; but to say he’s looked like one so far…nope, can’t agree. I’m not expecting Foles to be a finished product, but he needs to progress quickly from the level he is now. Right now, the way they are managing him tells you what they think of where he is: very little down field throws, heavier reliance on the running game than normal, simplified reads, and slants to get the ball out quickly. The coaching staff actually asked him to do a lot less in this game, than they did against the Redskins; not a good sign for a guy that’s supposed to be getting better with each rep.

    • Vick Supporter

      He does not have an axe to grind. It’s quite clear that Foles sucks.

    • sdk152

      I can assure you that I have no axe to grind with Foles. I call it like I see it. You may notice that in the piece I said I didn’t see many receivers open downfield. I chose to broke up the All-22 posts this week. I wrote about what I perceived to be the most notable aspect of Foles’ performance. Nowhere did I write that he can’t improve or that he’s horrible.

      And in the later All-22 post about Bryce Brown, I noted that Foles audibled to one of his big runs.

      Just wanted to set the record straight. Thanks to all for reading and taking the time to comment. -SK

    • 1972

      i think sheil is one of the most unbiased bloggers in this city.Just because he’s not singing the praises of your guy doesnt mean he has a axe to grind.What did you like about foles monday? He did one thing that i liked, audibled to run plays, thats it.

    • Sensei

      You can not call him efficient because the number would’ve looked a lot worse if Bart Simpson wasn’t playing corner for the Panthers

  • Bob A

    That defensive PI on the pass to Maclin was NOT questionable, it was a clear arm bar everyone else would get called for. The Eagles have been flagged for much less and in fact WERE flagged earlier on a play much less obvious where the call went against DRC. Of course , Murphy caught that ball , so it didn’t matter, but if DRC committed PI then Maclin’s play was definitely a PI. I think sometimes writers just like to exaggerate to make a point kike Foles didn’t have a good game. That was a good decision ( not a great throw, but a good decision to throw) because Maclin was alone with one guy and was in front of him; the Panthers guy almost had to do what he did. Foles needs lots of work and needs to improve drastically, but I wouldn’t criticize him for that play.

    • FMWarner

      The PI was questionable not because of the defender’s actions, but because the ball was likely uncatchable.

  • ????

    This guy Foles sucks. What happened to all of the “pocket awareness/precence..etc etc etc” that you “fans” harped about?
    I didn’t see any of that in this start or any other start this year from him.
    He’s been EXTREMELY lucky..and I’m glad that we have someone like Shiel to point this stuff out accurately and with PROOF.

    We will have a high draft pick this year. Spend it on an o-lineman (that has played football for more than a few years and is NOT a FIREMAN) and bring back Vick next year. Before you people start talking about drafting a QB, there is not Luck or RG3 in this draft. The “he’s a rookie” excuse does not count anymore in today’s NFL. This guy should have almost 10 INTs this year. That’s what i hate about Philly fans..they always want to run the best QB on the team out of town and have some blue collar bum like Jeff Garcia run the team just because he fits the city’s blue collar persona.
    When Vick has time to throw he’s completing 69% of his passes with no INTs. A QB is only as good as his line and playcalling. Trade Maclin so we can get a big, TOUGH WR so we can have someone make the tough catches and Riley needs more PT. Get new safeties too

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

      Exactly how I feel. Shore up the Oline, get a BIG receiver, use the two-headed monster that will be Shady and Brown and we have an offense humming on all cylinders. The defense is what needs the most work starting with some competent safeties.

  • 1972

    I would really appreciate it if some of these nick foles fans would just admit that it was wishful thinking that the guy would be good because u dont like vick.one guy actually called him efficient.Did you watch the game? 3 picks, two for touchdowns if those db’s werent so bad..i understand u dont like vick. But now that everyone has seen foles in live action tell me what he does better?????Better yet , tell me what he does well at all???

  • john

    Lol hes a rookie. look at payton manning and the great tom bradys first seasons, not just games. they werent very impressive. payton threw over 20 ints. both players completed about 50 percent of passes most games. its too early too tell for foles as he adjusts to the speed of the game. us eagle fans are so used to winning, we dont have the patience for a rookie with how high expectations where for this season. honestly as bad as the eagles are, i dont think you will know until next season how good he is. sucks…..