Eagles Wake-Up Call: Foles Shows Signs

With 13:28 left in the second quarter, Nick Foles took the snap from under center and faked a handoff to Bryce Brown.

He turned his head around quickly, as the Cowboys blitzed slot cornerback Mike Jenkins and linebacker Ernie Sims. Brown picked up Jenkins, but Sims came unblocked. Foles remained calm and delivered on-target to Brent Celek for a 19-yard gain over the middle just as Sims hit him.

It’s the kind of throw Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg, Howie Roseman and Eagles fans want to see out of the rookie quarterback at this stage in his career.

“I was really proud of the guys,” Foles said after the team’s 38-33 loss. “The guys up front did a great job blocking all night. Our running backs did a great job running. I thought we were pretty efficient in the passing game. I missed a few throws that I’m going to keep working on that I’ve got to hit. It just shows you that you’ve got to be solid all throughout the game.”

It was far from a perfect performance, but with Foles, you want to see signs. Signs of the player he might eventually become. I’m not sure there were many of those in losses to the Redskins and Panthers. But against Dallas, he completed 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. Foles was sacked just once and spread the ball around to seven different receivers.

In the third quarter, with the game tied, Foles changed the play at the line of scrimmage and let Riley Cooper make a play on a 15-yard touchdown down the right sideline.

“It was just a play that was designed for a certain coverage and they didn’t give me the coverage I wanted,” Foles said. “I saw a matchup with Riley, and I just took it.”

On the flip side, Foles failed to convert a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter. It looked like he had Brown wide open, but Foles looked for Jason Avant in the back of the end zone and threw incomplete.

“I’ve got to make a better throw,” Foles said. “You all saw the throw. I know you all saw it. I’ve got to put it on Jason. Jason did a great job with his route, and it’s my job to put it on him. I missed him. I’m going to hit that throw in practice in a few days and get that thing right.

“That was on me. That was all on me. I made a bad throw.”

Of course, the question now is: What’s next? Reid has maintained throughout that Vick would be the starter when healthy. We’ll find out Monday whether he’s made progress from a concussion sustained in the first meeting against Dallas. If Foles was a complete disaster, you could make the case for going back to Vick. But considering that the rookie’s showing improvement, it would seem to make sense to see more of him.

“The only way to get better is to continue to take reps and play,” Foles said. “My job is to worry about right now and think about the game tonight. Coaches make all the decisions. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles announced early Monday morning that they’ve fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Under Todd Bowles, the Eagles’ secondary has been a mess, writes McManus.

Despite another fumble, Bryce Brown showed tremendous promise vs. Dallas

Here are my instant observations from the 38-33 loss.

Reid says he takes the eight-game losing streak personally. He’s also tired of answering questions about his job security.

If the 49ers part ways with Alex Smith this offseason, would the Eagles be interested? Tim takes a look.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

LeSean McCoy is still recovering from his concussion, but he was watching the game and Tweeting. After the Bryce Brown fumble:

And on the two-point conversion:

B.brown wide open — Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) December 3, 2012

Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com notes the Cowboys’ offensive improvement in the second half:

Romo was fantastic in the second half, completing 10 of 10 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. It was Romo’s best game of the season, better than the Week 1 victory over the Giants. Overall, Romo completed 22 of 27 passes for 303 yards with the three scores. Romo didn’t make a bad throw all night despite getting knocked around in the first half and didn’t encounter much pressure in the final 30 minutes.

COMING UP

We’ll hear from Reid at noon and review some of the players’ performances. Tonight at 6, we’ve got Birds 24/7 Radio on 97.5 The Fanatic. For the Philly readers, we’ll be broadcasting live from 19th and Chestnut. Come stop by if you’re around.

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  • dislikedisqus

    Foles was excellent, more than just “some signs”. A high completion percentage and hardly any negative yardage plays. And he clearly was not being limited to a conservative pasding game. Too bad the pass defense cost them the game again. They should stick with him the rest of the year. Vick could not do any better and going back to him will just stagnate Foles.

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

      Foles did Okay. He wasn’t excellent. And they did limit it to a conservative passing game ’cause most of his attempts downfield were awful. As far as Vick…I don’t know why the comparison, but whatever you think about him he shows up for divisional games. With him in this may have been a W and Not an impressive L.

      • The Guru

        No Vick would have turned it over 3 times and been sacked 6 times. Did you see Foles change plays and protection? Vick NEVER did that….and who cares if they win or lose. It’s better to lose right now anyway.

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

          WTF? Vick changed plays and protection all year. Where did you think those big Shady runs were coming from. Not Reid and MM. What was our record against the division last year. I’ll wait. Vick haters kill me. You want to make a legitimate critique of the guy…that’s fine…but what you’re saying is pure silliness. Reid RARELY calls a game this balanced. And when he does, you usually get good results. And the diff between Foles and Vick is that Vick likely could have won this one. One last thing – you do realize the games where Vick threw the most INTs we won right? Oh. Okay.

          • The Guru

            Vick apologists kill me. It’s not silliness. Go back and re-read the all 22’s. Vick continually missed open receivers, didn’t check out of plays, and had to have the protection calls removed from his responsibility. What’s silly is you thinking more INTs leads to wins. They won IN SPITE of Vick. And your beloved Vick is going to get his third coach fired in 10 years.

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

            You’re BEYOND silly. VIck checked out of plays REPEATEDLY this year. Once again – where do you think all those runs were coming from? Reynolds is still calling protections if I’m not mistaken – he was at least for the first couple games Foles played. You can’t win IN SPITE of your QB when he’s the one who had to engineer the fourth quarter drives for them to win. Where did I say more INTS lead to wins? I said you’re complaining about INTs when the bulk of them came in games we won. SO it’s a moot point. And I will ask you again – what was our record against the division last year. I’ll wait. Who was playing QB when we beat the Giants this year? I’ll wait. You selectively choose what you want to be mad about – which further proves your level of silliness. Oh and that atrocious Oline – you know the one that made Foles look silly his first two games, but looked MUCH better this game ’cause they actually used the run to set up the pass. But yeah..Vick was the team’s biggest problem.

          • The Guru

            The centers were calling the protection because Vick couldn’t handle it in ’11! All-22 articles all contradict your statements about Vick calling audibles. Who cares what the division record is last year? Or what team he beat this year? Not counting those 4 meaningless games at the end of last year, Vick is 6-13 in his starts the last two years. Even if you want to count them, he’s still 10-13! That’s the only number that matters. 25 TDs over the last 2 seasons….25 INTs and 20 fumbles.

            But I’m sure that’s his coaches fault too. Or it’s the offensive lines. Or the WRs. Or the playcalling. Just never Vick’s….

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

            And Vick isn’t getting Reid fired. Reid is getting Reid fired. Those really horrible assistant/coordinator choices are coming back to bite him. Plain and simple. Oh and Vick’s previous coaches are Hall of Famers right? They have storied coaching careers since having VIck as their QB?

          • The Guru

            Dan Reeves had a pretty good coaching career. Mora took Vick to the NFC championship (which is impressive considered the guy passed the ball 15 times/game). And I’m sure you know Reid’s resume. Not exactly Rod Marrinelli’s…..

            I just find it amazing that any coach that tied his ship to Vick ends up unemployed. You can point the fingers at everyone else, but there is a common denominator in these equations.

          • meh1988

            Yeah because I’m sure we’d be killing it if we’d kept Kolb over Vick. Just look at the Cardinals! Oh wait…

            This team’s been on the decline for a couple years. Vick just prolonged the inevitable.

          • The Guru

            Where did I say keep Kolb? All I said is Vick is, and never has been, the answer.

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

          And it is NEVER better to lose against the Cowboys. NEVER.

      • dislikedisqus

        Well, working with mostly second stringers and on the road, Foles got them the most points they’ve scored all year. And he never had a short field to work from because the D sucked and until the last minute so did the return game. Those were all drives. His rating was 96, which Vick beat only 2X against NYG and DET. I think that’s a pretty good third start for his career.

  • Elias Rappaport

    I was very impressed with Foles play. He ran the game well and came through in big moments. Just shows how much a good running attack and capable OL can do for a young QB.

  • jon h

    The safeties are killing us on D

    • BlindChow

      And they put in Colt Anderson when Coleman went down. Doesn’t look good for Sims…

  • Kimbafuzz

    I think Foles started off strong, but fell apart down the stretch. He wasn’t excellent, but he wasn’t a lifeless as the previous 2 weeks either. He should be a decent new AJ Feely.

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

      Agreed. But it’s AMAZING what a balanced game plan can do for a young QB and a struggling oline.

      • Kimbafuzz

        So true!!! Imagine what could have happened had they called consistent first half running plays all season.

    • dislikedisqus

      Running out of steam is normal for a new QB. The mental effort is exhausting. That’s why he needs reps and why he will improve over time.

  • 1972

    Good game,now lets gradually get him better at throwing down the middle on time.Thats where the tall qb have success. like brady and big ben. i love how efficeint a team can be when u run at the five instead of a empty backfield.i need a reporter to ask these idiots why they threw so much at the goaline with vick ???? God i hate this coaching staff.. only 4 more games..

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

      ” need a reporter to ask these idiots why they threw so much at the goaline with vick ????” And that’s where we agree. I wanna know the same thing.

  • Loke2112

    I can’t stand when certain players like McCoy and jackson use that Ebonic crap. Look at that Tweet up there^^. Did he not go to class at Pitt or whatever HS he attended? Or is he just trying to be cool? Pathetic…

    Anyway, on to the game. Foles is definitely worth a shot in 2013. He has the intangibles he just needs game experience with a quality supporting cast.

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

      Because your English is so on point. Ebonics crap? Really?

    • 1972

      relax tony, there’s cultural differences. he’s young and from the hip hop generation . u understood what he meant by that tweet. Dont call the guy pathetic

    • meh1988

      “He has the intangibles he just needs game experience with a quality supporting cast.”

      That, sir, is a run-on sentence. There should be a semi-colon or comma between the words “intangibles” and “he”.

      Isn’t it annoying when people correct your grammar?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1340276463 Paul Costello

      One need not be an English major to criticize another person’s grammar. I need not be a policeman to have an opinion on their conduct, and so on. It’s a public forum, and it’s a worthwhile question to ask: These men all graduated both high school AND college, and Twitter aside, are oftentimes difficult to understand. That’s all Tony is saying, and he has a perfectly valid point.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I really wish Reid would call the same balanced game with his starting QB’s. He always left McNabb to get killed and did the same with Vick. Heck, he called a balanced game when Vick first came in off the bench and the results were great, but as soon as Vick showed some promise it was back to the mad scientist crap again.

  • Sensei

    I’m confused as to why running the ball is now so important with the back up but when McCoy was healthy the play calling was so unbalanced? It’s amazing what happens when you recognize strengths and weaknesses among your players

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1340276463 Paul Costello

    I know this article was written before Reid’s QB decision, so don’t take this as a criticism, merely an addendum: Foles will be the starting QB for the rest of the season, according to Reid.