For First Time, Foles Goes Backwards

Nick Foles was asked during his postgame press conference what he felt the biggest difference was between his performance on Thursday night compared to Sunday’s outing against the Bucs.

“We lost,” he said. “That’s it.”

But it isn’t.

We are learning that Foles prefers to talk about the overall good of the team rather than focusing on himself. Meanwhile, the public is focusing on him because, well, they are also interested in the overall good of the team and want to know if he is capable of leading the charge back to sound health.

His play against the Bengals was less than ideal. The rookie went 16-of-33 for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 62.9 quarterback rating. He was also credited with a lost fumble. It is a step back from his stellar game in Tampa, which led Jeremy Maclin to say: “You guys are seeing Nick Foles grow into a phenomenal quarterback right in front of your eyes.”

In the locker room Thursday night, he stood by the young quarterback.

“I think he is maturing as a quarterback each week. I think he shows signs that he can be a good — not good, but great quarterback in this league,” said Maclin. “We’ll continue to roll with him.”

Andy Reid  confirmed as much. Michael Vick has been cleared for a return by an independent neurologist and could be available Sunday against the Redskins, but Reid said, “I’m going to stick with Nick.”

(Sounds like a campaign slogan.)

Foles had a decent enough first half (145 yards, TD, 82.8 rating) and the Eagles took a 13-10 lead into the locker room. Everything went downhill following his interception with about six minutes to play, as his throw down the left sideline to a streaking Maclin came up well short and was intercepted by Leon Hall.

“Just got to spin it,” said Foles. “It started fluttering towards the end and I under-threw Jeremy…It was a bad throw, one that I cannot have. Next time that happens just really throw it out there.”

Added Reid: “He’s got a real strong arm. You can put his arm up against anybody in the league. You just have to make sure that he’s taking time to look people off, and you have to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing that. You have to make sure you get your feet around and that you have enough momentum to get your body and legs into the throw.”

The Bengals capitalized with a touchdown. On the next possession a Foles handoff to Bryce Brown went awry and resulted in seven points the other way. Suddenly 13-10 was 24-13, and Cincinnati was off to the races.

Foles showed improvement in each of his first four starts. The fifth, against a quality Bengals defense and in a short week, was a step back.  Now there are two games remaining in the regular season. There is little time left to evaluate the young signal-caller before major decisions are made.

“I’m going to keep pushing, keep working,” said Foles. “I’m going to learn. I’m going to grind. I want to win these games.”

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  • Myke Lowery

    some very poor under throws this week and again questionable decision making. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic that he’ll have a better have next week due to more prep time than this short turnaround Thursday night game.

    • morgan c

      Agree with johngiam, ken, unclecarm, mattjacobs… he made more good throws and decisions than bad ones. Ya, he wasn’t great, but the team around him was terrible. In the fist half, in particular, he was actually quite good. Can’t do much when your team fumbles after perfect throws and good gains (Maclin, Harbor). Again, I’m not saying he will be great, but it’s counterproductive to micro-analyze every game and try to use that to conclude whether he will be good or bad. We just don’t know. Personally, I think he will be good, but who knows?! The point is, last night’s game, if you watched carefully, doesn’t really make me worry any more than blowing up against TB makes me think he will be the next Joe Montana…

  • daggolden

    That was expected he didnt play the worst pass defense in the NFL.

  • I hate jeffry

    whole thing is a debacle. because Lurie is a wimp, he is leaving Reid to embarrass himself week by week. tough to be an eagles fan…when does blind loyalty end due to a douche owner, numbnuts GM, bad coach…….yuck….

  • 1972

    I hope foles can throw in bad weather. He is a kid from texas and played at arizona..all his deep balls were short last night. thats not a good sign

  • dislikedisqus

    Look, each week at least 2/3 of NFL QBs are “less than ideal”. And the Patriots and Broncos aren’t trading Brady and Manning. You need a reasonable standard to evaluate a QB. There were 5 To’s counting the blocked punt that weren’t his fault. There were 6 penalties including one on first and goal that others committed.Who knows what his stats wd be if his teammates played better? He wasn’t perfect but he’s working off three days rest after throwing 51 passes and taking 6 sacks. There are HOF pitchers who suck on 3 days rest. So you need to be realistic. He was the better QB last night by every metric and Sunday 1/3 of all QB’s will play worse.

    • barry_nic

      To add to your argument, who leads the NFL in INT’s? Drew Breese.

  • Joe Jones

    Of course a young QB is going to have some uneven performances, I just wish the same people who are so quick to point to good performances as proof that Nick is the real deal, wouldnt be so defensive when he doesnt do well. “It wasnt Nick’s fault,” “cant put that on NIck….” “cant evaluate NIck without this guy or that guy….”
    Last night Nick didnt pass the eye test, nor were his stats anything to write home about. When the majority of your throws are bubble screens and slants, yet you complete less than 50% of passes and your deep passes are woefully inaccurate….not a good thing. The long completion to Maclin(where is that great run after catch ability Maclin was advertised to have?) was short, Maclin had to wait on it. The INT was ridiculously underthrown……Last week, in his best game, he had Mcnutt for a sure TD and missed by a mile.
    Phil Sheridan wrote an article blaming the playcalling for Foles struggles….again, the rush to defend Nick is maddening. Lets evaluate on NIck on what he actually does instead of worrying about what we cant evaluate because of the line, personnel and playcalling. Nice pocket presence at times, love the ability to feel where pressure is coming from and step up while keeping his eyes downfield. Good timing and touch on short throws and most intermediate throws. Downfield throws have been terrible. Not gonna get into the whole, “he coulda thrown more INTs but they were dropped….” Yeah, he threw some into coverage that were probably not good decisions.
    Conclusion? I dont know yet…..but lets be honest and stop making excuses when he struggles. We know he’s a rookie…we know the line stinks but that doesnt mean everything that happens is “not NIck’s fault…”

    • livingonapear

      I think it’s hard to evaluate a QB when he gets the ball for so little time in the second half. It was a bad game no doubt, but he didn’t look lost, just off. The whole team looked off, and that is going to happen.

      It was a strange game all around, and while you can’t just wave it off, I’d be cautious about looking at it is the norm. You are correct, let’s not make excuses, but let’s also see the game for what it was: a giant train wreck that Foles exited with a bloody nose.

      Also, the Maclin pass was odd (the completed one, the INT was turrible. Turrible.) in that you had a DB over the top, so Foles had to kind of drop it in there. Hitting Maclin in stride wasn’t really an option. Certainly not a pretty pass, but nothing to sound the alarm bell about.

      I am concerned about his deep balls (*snicker*). Someone mentioned that he underthrew them in college, last week he overthrew them, and this time he underthrew. Hopefully that’s just him working toward communication with receivers, but it is something to watch.

      Above all, I’d say that he looked bad, but not lost. He certainly didn’t look like Kafka, didn’t look like Kolb against the Ravens, and he looked better than someone like Sanchez looked during his rookie season. I’m concerned, but not panicked.

  • Ken

    You have to be kidding!
    Foles had no real chance to win this game.
    He would have to be perfect just to keep it close.

  • Philly_Bigz

    He is a ROOKIE and he did just play on Sunday. What would you expect? He hasn’t been around the league to be able to adjust from playing on Sunday and having to go out there on Thursday. The season doesn’t matter no more so just let the kid go out there and get some much needed playing time.

  • 85

    It’s strange to watch the difference between Foles’ quick and mid-level throws and the balls he tries to throw deep. Even when he’s moving to his left, where it seems like he’s found Avant all the time the last two games, he throws with zip. The first play of the game, a 7 or 8 yard hitch to Cooper, plenty of zip. Between the hashes with pressure in his face, enough zip. But whether it’s mental and he’s trying to be too cute and drop it right in the receiver’s hands, or if it’s a mechanical difference, the ball seems to be floating out there. Foles isn’t driving the deep ball like he does with other throws.

    I think he has the arm, but he clearly needs work on those throws. It might be a confidence issue, or maybe he hasn’t had the reps with guys that can run like Maclin (who was the intended receiver on both the underthrown completion and the pick), but as of now I think that’s the biggest hole in his game.

  • The Guru

    First, let’s stop with the INT that was under thrown. Didinger said it slipped out of his hand and saw it on tape. Next, he’s a rookie in his 4th game playing with 9 guys who aren’t starters! Was he good last night? Not even a little. Was he responsible for the loss? Not even a little. Last night was part of the growing pains against a good defense. There are things he’ll take out of this game and learn from them.

    • johngiam

      soon as he threw it I knew he slipped. I dont see how anyone can be down on foles after last night. how many frigging times does he have to hit his recievers in the head and chest with a ball? Foles teamates DID him no favors last night. Im honestly not down on Nick at all today

    • Run Eagles Run

      no, ray said it didnt slip, and mentioned that foles said nothing about it slipping. excuses excuses.

      • The Guru

        Funny, he said it on 610 and said he 100% slipped. Angelo’s show Friday morning right around 7:45 am. BOOM!

        • Run Eagles Run

          you listen to angelo, thats all i need to know about you. you’re a grade a moron, and the type of fan that needs to just shut up and sit down. angelo is a clown and so is anyone who listens to his garbage.

          • The Guru

            Son, I’ve forgotten more about this sport than you’ll ever know. Go back to learning this game from Madden. Leave the intelligent conversations to people who actually PLAYED.

  • Sensei

    And once again I have no idea what to think about Foles

    • Philly_Bigz

      nothing to think about…he’ll be alright! Back to the drawing board and move on…

  • Wilbert M.

    Other than the underthrown bomb, I thought Foles looked pretty good. He just needs reps on the long balls.

    • LostInChiTown

      Agree. He overthrew a few last week and underthrew a few last night. Experience and some consistency in who he’s throwing to will help.

      It can be tough to analyze what’s fixable and what’s not with a QB. This is fixable. The question is, will he progress by fixing it?

  • LostInChiTown

    Let’s keep some perspective. He’s a rookie! Let’s look at historical passer rating for young QB’s in their first 6 games.

    Foles -85.3, 40.5, 89.2, 96.6, 98.6, 62.9
    Luck -52.9, 107.5, 75.7, 81, 51.3, 74.8
    Peyton – 58.6, 51.1, 39.3, 63.2, 66.8, 62.6
    Brady – 62.9, 79.6, 58.7, 93.4, 148.3, 57.1
    Roethlisberger – 82.5, 74.6, 101.1, 107.4, 125.5, 126.4
    Bobby Hoying – 101.5, 89.4, 97, 106.5, 38.9, 60.9

    Brady didn’t start 6 regular season games until 2001. He was drafted in 1999. Had no idea how crazy good Big Ben was as a rookie. Always thought he was overrated until a few years ago…

    The point is that Foles is having a normal rookie season! He compares favorably with many great NFL players and some NFL washouts. We won’t know where he ends up for a few years.

    What we can see is that he has the necessary innate tools to succeed. From what I’ve seen and read, he has excellent pocket presence, a Big Ben-esque style of escaping pressure to extend plays, and doesn’t get rattled or lose confidence from bad play or big hits. He also has the physical tools like arm strength, height, etc. You can’t teach some of these attributes.

    With a good coach, more offseason work as the starter, and more game experience, I think he could develop into a franchise QB. Maybe not a Tom Brady, but the kind of guy you could win a superbowl with if the defense and run game are good.

    • Run Eagles Run

      in typical eagles fan fashion, you have completely overrated. bobby hoying, get used to comparing foles to him hahaha!

  • UncleCarm

    I must have watched a different game. In the first half Foles was unflappable. He saved plays by moving around in the pocket, but was getting no help from the rest of the team. The underthrow was bad, but it was his first interception in a month. Not too shabby for a rookie with most of the offensive starters out. The second half was just painful all around, but exceept for the interception, the blame should not fall on Foles. The fumble he got charged with was squarely on Brown. It was right in his breadbasket but he just did not hold on to it. Don’t confuse a stat thing with a bad play. Foles was cool under pressure and will only get better.

    • xlGmanlx

      Yeah, the margin for error was tiny to begin with and a slip was the tipping point. I was as happy as you could be with a loss. Defense showed some heart and fire and Foles got reps against 1’s in game time setting. If he lives at the Novacare and gets a good QB coach, he could make a big step next year.

    • Run Eagles Run

      so when it was vick running for his life, that was vicks fault, foles running for his life, its the teams fault. You’re white, I mean, right. I agree.

      • UncleCarm

        I re-read my comment three times and still can’t find where I mentioned Vick. And then the childish use of the race card. What’s the matter, don’t you have the brains to formulate a Vick argument, if thats the way you wanted to go? And for the record, I think Vick played like a warrior out there behind that offensive line, which is slightly better now with Jake Scott.

        • Run Eagles Run

          you are right, you didnt mention vick. I assumed too much from your defense of foles. it just seems like a lot of the people making excuses for foles are the same ones who wouldnt accept them for vick. the line was the best its been all year last night, and vick didnt have that luxury. I dont hate foles, but I dont think he can be any better than alex smith. i saw how vick played with a good offensive line, and I liked it. a lot more than what im seeing with foles.

    • southy

      Gotta agree with this. I remember saying to myself a couple times in the first half “Nick’s doing alright. It’s the rest of our team that’s sucking.” He moved well in the pocket and generally made good decisions. The underthrows on deep balls (counting the completion to Maclin) are a bit concerning – he’s gotta work on that.

      As for Vick, I’ve consistently defended the guy this season. He hasn’t had much to work with either. But the guy just doesn’t slide well in the open field OR in the pocket. He’s elusive, sure, but so many times he sees a defensive end coming around deep in the pocket and instead of taking the two steps forward he should and keeping his reads, he takes off to the sideline or ends up running into a sack. Different skill sets, but I’ll certainly admit Foles helps out his o-line more than Vick.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    But then why is Mike Vick a 85 in madden when Foles is only a 68?

    • limodriver2750

      Sheesh….really? youre talking fantasy Madden with the real thing? really? Get a grip on reality, son…and your grammar- “…AN 85” not “a 85”,,,maybe that basement apt. at mom’s is stifling your growth. Carry on..

  • barry_nic

    I think the guy is still improving. It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you have that many turnovers. The funny thing is today people are worried about his arm strength after the int, but really he’s been over throwing all of his long misses so far. The only enjoyment I get this point in the season is watching the young guys develop.

  • morgan c

    I don’t necessarily agree with this assessment. I mean, yes, it was a “step back” in terms of the loss, and his stats not being as sparkling as they were against TB, but it wasn’t like he was going to throw for 481 yards this time. He was playing well up until the INT. That was a bad throw, no two ways about it. A very bad throw. However, interceptions and bad throws happen. But there was no way Foles was winning that game, not with the wheels coming off all around him. The INT was on him, but the three ensuing fumbles? That was just atrocious, and completely unrelated to him. Let’s see, BB gets a fine handoff and is too preoccupied with getting hit, that he just drops the ball. Then the Special Teams blunder… Then on third down, he fires a strike to Harbor, who fumbles the ball. After that, with the team out of the game, he started making bad throws (when it didn’t really matter).

    So yes, he didn’t play great, but he didn’t alarm me in any way either. The bottom line is no one can know whether he will be terrible, or amazing. He could be either, and will likely fall in between those extremes. But I can definitely see him being the QB of this team next year, and this last game doesn’t really do anything to dissuade me from that view.

  • xlGmanlx

    How about the fact that even though the Bengals appeared to be undisciplined punks, he was able to get them to jump with a hard count multiple times. There were some glaringly obvious non-calls against them too. I think I saw a team with less discipline than the igg’s, but i’m sure all the Burfict fans were going crazy last night