Eagles Wake-Up Call: Offseason Shouldn’t Center Around Foles

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Coach, then quarterback.

In a couple of weeks, after the Eagles close their season out against the Giants, those are expected to be the two top priorities for Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and the rest of the team’s brain trust.

But how closely will the two decisions be linked?

We’ve seen Nick Foles start five games, surrounded by mostly backups. And by the end of the season, that number figures to be seven. There have been some positives – his ability to sense pressure and make throws downfield while on the move, his inclination to get rid of the ball quickly when he has to.

And some things that need work – his mechanics on several errant deep throws, along with some questionable decisions that have (or could have) resulted in turnovers.

The Eagles should plan on continuing to develop Foles in the offseason. But they shouldn’t anoint him the quarterback of the future and shut the door on the position when shaping their roster in the coming months. That means paying close attention to quarterbacks in the draft, in free agency, on the trade block, etc.

I know there’s not a projected Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in this class. But the Eagles will do their own evaluations and form their own conclusions. If they’re in a position to take a quarterback they perceive to have a higher ceiling or a greater chance of success than Foles, they have to strongly consider taking him. It’s perfectly reasonable to create some competition. As we’ve seen throughout the years, good quarterbacks are assets that can be flipped for valuable compensation.

It’s important to acknowledge that quarterbacks taken in the third round or later generally don’t have a lot of success. Does that mean Foles is destined for failure? Of course not. His career is just beginning, and it will be shaped by coaching, opportunity and the talent around him.

But take a look at the list of some of the names we’re talking about here. Since 2008, 38 quarterbacks have been taken in the third round or later; 24 of them have never started an NFL game. Foles is already in select company. Only seven of the 38 have started five games or more: Colt McCoy, John Skelton, Russell Wilson, Curtis PainterT.J. Yates, Josh Johnson and Foles.

By my count, 25 of the 32 current starters (discounting injuries) in the league were taken in the first or second rounds. The exceptions are Tom Brady (sixth round), Tony Romo (undrafted), Foles (third round), Wilson (third round), Ryan Fitzpatrick (seventh round), Matt Schaub (third round) and Matt Cassel (seventh round).

Again, the point is not that Foles can’t succeed. The point is that the Eagles need to pay attention to recent history and make sure they’re giving themselves the best chance to find a quarterback they can win with. That might be Foles, but it might not be. They need to prepare themselves for both scenarios.

There’s also the question of how the quarterback situation affects the coaching search. Andy Reid’s potential replacement will almost certainly be the one who decides on the QB. But if I’m Lurie, what the candidates think of Foles would be just part of the equation. I’d obviously get their opinion of him. But even if I had no intentions of bringing Michael Vick back, I’d also ask what kind of offense they’d run with him. I’d want to know their strategy for potentially developing a rookie too.

Finding a coach who can adapt to personnel is of the utmost importance. Scheme matters too. But we know there will be injuries, free agency, changes to the coaching staff and opponents making adjustments. Talent is always key. But finding a way to maximize talent when things don’t go according to plan is crucial.

Developing Foles in 2013 may end up making the most sense for the Eagles. But they shouldn’t arrive at that conclusion based on the seven-game tryout. They should arrive at it only after having explored all their options.


Speaking of Foles, here’s the All-22 breakdown of his performance from last week. The rookie didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates.

From Reid to Foles to mock drafts, here’s a roundup of what they’re saying about the Eagles this week.

Tight end Clay Harbor has been placed on injured reserve.

From DeMeco Ryans to Fletcher Cox to the national perception of Reid, here are five Eagles numbers that matter.

If you missed this week’s episode of Birds 24/7 Radio, here are the podcast links.

What will the scene be like at what will almost certainly be Reid’s final home game at the Linc? T-Mac offers his take.


Some have asked about Joe Flacco potentially hitting the open market. That’s not going to happen, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com:

Flacco’s erratic play has undoubtedly lowered the Ravens’ confidence in him. But it hasn’t lessened his chances of returning. The Ravens won’t — and honestly can’t — let him walk. This isn’t necessarily an endorsement of Flacco. It’s just the reality of the situation. Although Flacco’s play has been frustrating, a look at the quarterbacks who will be available this offseason makes Flacco seem like Tom Brady. Would the Ravens do any better with Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb or Ryan Fitzpatrick? The same goes for the draft, where there’s no prospect a team would take over Flacco. Plus, the Ravens know how long it took to find a quarterback with the talent of Flacco (think back to the days of Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright and Jeff Blake and Chris Redman).

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 28th in his power rankings:

Best evidence that Garrett Reid wasn’t distributing steroids?  The team’s won-loss record.


The Eagles return to practice, and Reid speaks. We’ll have it all covered.

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

    Wow how perceptions change after a few weeks. Very good article Sheil. The days of giving these QBs 1-2-3 years to develop and hope they are good is over. Franchise ready college QBs is the new norm. Newton, Luck, RG3 and Wilson have set that standard. Look at the Jets and the wasted years waiting for Sanchez to develop a top 10 pick. Anyone here believe Ponder, Weeden or Locker is gonna lead thier teams to greatness? You wont win a superbowl without a stud or dynamic QB. Has Foles even remotely looked in the same class as Wilson, Luck, RG3 or even Kapernick? Please dont bring up his performance against the worst pass defense in the NFL who were beat 41-0 last weekend. We need a franchise QB.

    • Johngiam

      excuse me, but how the hell do you know what Foles is? And what Foles will be? Your extensive evaluation of watching him play with backs ups against starting defenses?

    • The Guru

      So I guess Flacco and Alex Smith are “franchise QBs” right? Flacco was one dropped TD from going to the Super Bowl and Alex Smith was two dropped punts from going to the Super Bowl. I guess Matt Schaub and his 12-2 record is fraudulent too. This idea you need Brady, Manning, or Rodgers to win in this league just isn’t true. You can absolutely win with running the ball, playing great defense, and not turning the ball over. Mark Sanchez is the worst QB in the league and even he went to two AFC title games.

      • morgan c

        I would totally go with Foles over Flacco. They project to be basically the same-type QB, only Flacco is older, and has categorically proven, as of this year, that he is nothing above average. In a contract year, with an offense designed to cater to him even more, he has just been bad. Foles can already read defenses and audible better than Flacco (not to mention pocket awareness). Still, I agree with the article – we can’t be tied to Foles at all. I’m just saying I would take him over Flacco; he’s garbage.

      • daggolden

        Yeah you are right Matt Jacobs. If you bring in a great oline, a great running game, a great defense a great special teams and a great coaching staff I guess most QBs can succeed. Thats all you need. I agree. Wonder why every team in NFL isnt great.

        • FMWarner

          Say what you will about the difficulty of assembling a team like that, but Matt’s right. Unless you think Brad Johnson, David Woodley, Trent Dilfer, Matt Hasselbeck, Rich Gannon, Tony Eason, Jim McMahon, Neil O’Donnell, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Stan Humphries, Kerry Collins, Rex Grossman, Chris Chandler and Jake freaking Delhomme are Hall of Famers. They’ve all been Super Bowl quarterbacks in the last 25 years or so.

        • The Guru

          Wow are you stupid. What’s easier? Building a defense and a running game? Or finding the next Aaron Rodgers?

    • Johngiam

      lol do you really think, if you took Foles out, and dropped Andrew luck into this dysfunctional mess hat he would be plaing any theater the Foles is? love to see Luck play with the entire second string offense every single week against starting defenses fighting for their playoff lives, oh and btw wih bad coaching, abandoning the run in he second quarter and forcing a kid, who has sat on the bench for two damn months since training camp to throw 50 times a game. Anyonethink RG3 would do any better in Foles shoes They had to tailor an entire college offense around RG3 to make him a successful year one pro. Stupidest thing I have ever seen. As if he nfl wont catch up, and figure this silly college defense out. They wasted a year in Rg3 qb development so hat they could show off what a talent he is. Cam Newton looked just like him last year. let’s see RG3 drp back 50 times under a back up line and throw I back up receivers who let balls hit them in he head and chest, and fumble anytime he start getting into a rhythm. Foles has handled this situation admirably if you ask me. it shows a heckuva lot to fight thru this mess. anyone remember Peyton mannings rookie year? Enough over analyzing every deep ball he doesn’t complete. I seen him complete PLENTY of bombs in the preseason. that throw I snt any less real because the games didn’t count. The kid can make all he throws on the field, he has a great pocket presence, eyes always down field inspight of the crap that is blocking for him. Gets cracked, dusts himself off gets up and is ready to let it fly again. teammates believe un the kid…I’m ready to commit next year to him, to see if he takes that year 2 leap that the great ones like manning took…Foles will on
      Y be placed in a much better situation next year, can’t get any worse then this. This was the DEFINITION OF BAPTISM BY FIRE! And I loved the wayhe has handled himself. As crazy as it sounds, I give Foles a much better chance at improving and taking the next step next year n year two…then Ai do of RG3 who defenses will soon figure out his gimmicky college offense.

      We don’t have to build around Foles yet, but we do have to give him the free reigns to grow and show us who he truly is in year two, I a healthy environment…it helps that we have a pretty decent offense returning from injury I place…and that most f our resources need to go into fixing the defense this year.So you don’t need to invest much, in seeing who Foles really is next year…all you outta do is give him healthy coaching, a healthy environment and starters who aren’t on injured reserves. INvest heavily in rebuilding the defense, and after next season yu can evaluate if Foles is the franchise or not. it’s much wiser to know who you have, before you start investing high draft picks and spend big free agent dollars on more quarterbacks. a revolving door at QB sets franchises back a decade. We need to have the patience required to get this right and find he right QB to lead us into a new era of eagles fooTball. Gotta give the reigns to Foles for next season!

      • daggolden

        Wow now Luck comparisons. My goodness what was I thinking. Foles probably should of went #1.

        • Johngiam

          Do you have some sort of problem with reading comprehension? What you should have taken away from my post is that not always should you expect instant gratification when you have a rookie qb. different players are put in different situations, some find success from day one, others like Aaron Rogers find success 4 years later. not once did I suggest that I have any clue if Foles is a franchise qb or not….what I will say, is there isn’t a damn thing he has shown to this point that says HE CAN’T BE that guy…,that is a very different statement then saying he will go on to be that guy! is English not your first language? In your era of instant gratification, would you have spent another draft pick in the first three rounds after Peyton mannings underwhelming disaster of a rookie season?

          It’s really sad, that I visit this site every single day for one purpose, to talk football and exchange ideas yet classless people feel the need to attack people. Please don’t address me unless you are willing to have an intelligent and respectful debate…and if you are going to disagree and try to debate a topic, make sure your reading comprehension is on point, and that you are arguing about the right thing.

          only a fool would read my post and suggest that from what I have seen of Foles, that I think he is the next Peyton manning. Excuse me if I don’t induct RG3 into the hall of fame, after 13games of a franchise completely tailoring a college offense to suit him, which most likely, defenses will catch on by next year, and they will have to go back, and actually install an nfl offense, comp.etely wasting year 1 in his developments .

          And if you think that Andrew Luck for as good as he has looked in Indy, would have played any better then Foles…had he sat on the bench since August, on,y to be thrust into a game mid November, with a completely injured offense relying on all back ups, a coaching staff that’s completely dysfunctional that does the QB NO FAVORS, playing against starting defenses who are fighting for their playoff lives….if you think the great Andrew joe Montana luck would do any better then Foles in this mess of a franchise, then I should probably find someone more intelligent to debate. Thank you, enjoy your day!

          • FMWarner

            He read you exactly right. It’s not that you said Foles needs time or that rookie QBs don’t always show their full development in year 1. Those things are true. It’s that you dismissed the early success of Luck and RGIII. You said that Luck wouldn’t have dealt with this train wreck of a season as well as Foles (which is nothing but your unsupported gut feeling, and kind of crazy to boot) and you said RGIII’s rookie success is a gimmick, which is 100% false because the Redskins haven’t changed the offense as much as you have implied. You’ve discounted the very real success of two highly sought-after, highly drafted rookie QBs who have performed astonishingly well in order to make Foles look better by comparison.

          • Johngiam

            Not talking X’s and O’s…I’m talking the intangibles on the situation. n my eyes there is something to be said for a player who can stay focused and afloat in utter and complete chaos. There Are some extremely talented players who would crumble in such chaos and NEVER recover. the poise Foles shows to me is extremely impressive. in no way did I intend to discredit anything that Andrew luck did. even Nicks mother would trade her son for Andrew luck straight up. Different quarterbacks strive in differ situations…RG3 wouldn’t be as good as Luck is in Indy’s system, and luck wouldn’t be as good as RG3 is in Washington system, which IMO is silly! I don’t think the system in place in Washington is a system that they can build on and keep in place for the next five years, but that’s a different discussion, cause we have much bigger things to worry about then what Washington does… The only point I really care to get across is that when this season is over, it’s no where near enough to properly evaluate if Foles is our franchise qb. I think it would be a huge mistake to try and make that decision regardless of which side you chose after this season..and I do not believe in investing major assets in acquiring another qb UNIL WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT FOLES IS! AND WHAT HE ISN’T! We have enough holes to fill, And a run game to lean on, that I strongly believe that for NEXT YEAR:
            A) Find the right coach, who will bring in the defensive coordinator that we are starving for, and that will bring stability to a franchise that has become the joke of the nfl! Call me crazy, but I believe this year is more of a disast then kotites last year! And it takes a special type of leader to not be engulfed by it all. I’m not talking about who is about quarterback, but I highly doubt both luck or rg3 coud have done a better job in Foles situation
            Thanks again captain save a hoe lol

          • daggolden

            There you go again comparing Luck and Joe Montana to Foles again. Yes genius I do think those QBs would do better on this team with this offense. Pssst they are better than Foles thats why. Thanks for clearing up that defenses will catch up to RG3 next year,Maybe you should call Shanahan and express your concerns since obviously his first year is a waste according to you the football guru. “Hey Shanahan this is Nick Foles mom form the internet I think RG3 wont be successful next year because you dont know what your doing. Signed Nick foles mom.

      • daggolden

        You really just said Foles over RG3. Really? wow. Then you mentioned Peyton Manning? This must be Foles mom posting this. lmao

  • Corry

    You forgot Brees in your count of QBs who are starting who have not been drafted in the first or second rounds.

    I don’t think Foles will ever be the type of quarterback who can carry a team, but in the right offense I think he could do quite well. A Gary Kubiak type offense would probably be ideal for Foles.

    • The Guru

      Brees was selected first pick in the 2nd round.

      • Corry

        For some reason I thought he was 3rd round.

        • The Guru

          No worries. I agree with you about the Kubiak style offense.

    • Joe Jones

      Dree Brees was a 2nd rd pick of the Chargers. They traded down with Atlanta, the Falcons selected Vick while SD got Tomlinson and Brees. Pretty nice trade, huh?

  • Wilbert M.

    I’d like to see the Eagles bring in a Matt (Moore or Flynn) and draft a QB in the 3rd or 4th round, keep Edwards and have a full out QB competition at camp.

  • Joe Jones

    As usual, a thoughtful and balanced article. Exactly what I’ve come to expect at 24/7. I’m sure Nick will have an opportunity to win the job next year, but I dont think any coach is going to wanna go into next season with Nick unchallenged for the job. Thats lunacy.

    As impressed as many fans are here in Philadelphia, I dont think any coach, particularly one who has no stake, no investment in the guy, is going to want his future tied solely to Nick Foles. The NFL is not a league of “lets take a year and see what Nick can do?” Despite the fact that the Eagles will probably be 12-20 over the last 2 seasons, a new coach, a top 5 pick and some free agent signings are probably going to generate a lot optimism and ramp up expectations. Super Bowl? Not really, but competitive in the division type expectations.

    I am definitely excited for this season to end. Hopefully, a new coach in January, combine in February, free agency in March and the draft in April, minicamps in May(maybe earlier cause we’ll have a new coach)…Eagles 365/24/7!!!

  • metaReign

    It may not seem like Vick is remaining in midnight green. Actions speaks more than words, Eagles will need to chance a pick on a QB. It doesn’t have to be within the first 2 rounds, but they need to pick one.

    I would rather the first 2 rounds be for BPA for OL, DL or Secondary. The 3rd round thereafter, Secondary, DL, OL, WR and QB (whichever order).

    Should Manti Te’o or Joeckel be available with Eagles first pick, who will be calling the shots? Skip on one for the other, I’m fine with that, but pass on both, BPA for a QB or someone else. I’ll do some head-scratching about the one who made that call, whether or not he knows what he’s doing.

    I’m just a fan, like usual we wonder what’s going on in the FO and just hope things comes out pretty good. This draft season started off really well until the season opens. I don’t want another desa vous, like we’ve been down that road once too many.

  • 1972

    we’re not getting flynn, and i dont want alex smith, so u kinda have to build around him . At least partially. if u get stronger safties and focus on the running game, that is indirectly centering around foles. his skill set is traditional pocket passer. Most great qb’s are that, so that should be the type of players we get.. no chip kelly, runnning the qb getting him hurt every game.. u wanna run?? get 3 running backs and pound the rock!!!And have ur defense not give up 28 + points a game.

    • Johngiam

      well said. All you really need to do is place a healthy environment around Foles, and give him the reigns ti see what kind of leap he can take in year two. get a coach that wont ask him to chuck it 50 times, and just get the starters back from IR. we can still invest most f our resources into building that Philly style defense this city has been issuing for years. invest heavy in defense, get the offensive starters back, run the ball, and switch back to a traditional bLOCKING SCHEME. MUDDS way of blocking is so drastically different from the way players blocked their entire lives that it was an absolute joke o hireudd without a 5yr commitment from him. DANNY WATKINS is a COMPLETE BUST in Howard MUDDS scheme! But for all we know, he could be good, going back to blocking the way he has blocked in college. Even a stone cold bum like Dametress. he was never asked to play this crap before. for all we know he could be the second coming of Jason peters in a traditional blocking scheme that he has blocked in for his entire life. I. Can’t think of a bigger DISGRACE it was to hire two GIMICKY LINE COACHES who would ask players to play football, in a way that’s as tidally different from the game they played their entire life. unless you were going to commit to these cockamamie schemes for five years, how was this ever a good idea. How did Andy let this happen? What a joke!

      • 1972

        He’s definitely lost his way john. He would have never let this happen 10 years ago

  • shawn

    I think that if Geno Smith there at the pick 4 then we take him hands down. Geno defintely has a higher ceiling that foles.

    • Johngiam

      What a COLLOSAL is take it would be to invest any major resources on ANY QB until you find out who Foles is really is…which you can’t do until you give him the reigns to see what kind of leap he takes in year two, when he has some healthy coaching/environment and starters to actually help him play against hungry starting defenses fighting for playoff spots. WASTING a first round pick on a qb before you know who Foles is, is probably the biggest mistake that this franchise could make, aside from the next coach that they hire

      • 1972

        Environment is the perfect word here…Players causing this lacklaster eviornment have to go with the coaches

        nnamdi, cullen jenkins,maclin.. these guys gave us nothing when the games mattered.Asamougha’s so non chalant it seems like it rubs off on the rest of the team.. i need more defenders with passion.. Colt anderson has showed me more in two games than the entire d all year..Reid better not put coleman back in there, healthy or not..

        • Johngiam

          couldn’t agree more! Some teams just suck, others are screwed up! This environment is just set ip to fail. Taking all the variables into account, Foles has been admirable in he way he has handled it. That shows me more then not finding his touch on a deep ball. This kid can make all he throws! Eyes down field no matter how much pressure is coming at him..accuracy that hits receivers in the chest and head with balls…sure he would like to get some throws back, but man if you are a realist who factors in all the elements of the situation…and have seen Peyton’s manning rookie year, and isnt blinded by the success Rg3 had with his team tailoring a college offense around him…you have to be impressed wih what you see from Foles, who gets little to no help from coaches and his back up teammates having to go to war against starting defenses fighting for their playoff lives…and oh btw, he did this all after sitting on the bench wih very limited reps since training camp. Ask rg3 to drop back to pass 50 times behind this line, and we would be booooing him out of the league by now….Foles is MY GUY NEXT YEAR NO MATTER WHAT! Gotta give him a chance in a healthy environments before anyone can tell me that he isn’t the future of the franchise…sometimes patience is requireded, and ultimately rewarded!

      • Graham

        Foles knows what he’s playin for these last 2 games, lets see what he’s got before spending a FOURTH OVERALL PICK ON ANOTHER QB… not a good idea… should be spent on OL (the position that lacked depth this season and led to the embarrassment of a season), or secondary… Foles has shown potential let’s see what he does the last 2 games with McCoy and a somewhat solidified OL…..

    • morgan c

      Higher ceiling maybe. Certainly a lower floor. I don’t trust this guy. Sorry. He comes from a gimmick offense and really cooled off once teams started figuring it out. I’d take Barkley over Smith in a heartbeat. And no, this is not a race thing, but seriously, I kind of just want a traditional pocket passer at this point, after the failed Vick experiment. So it would be no to a guy like Locker as well, if there was one.

      • 1972

        morgan i dont know if you’ve actually watch geno smith but he is a pocket passer with a 70% completion percentage.his offense was similar to weedens, or kevin kolb..Alot of spread offenses in the nfl. i think he can do fine under center

        • Johngiam

          Me thinks I would rather have Foles then ANY OF THEM! You think any of the QBs you are talkin about would have handled this disaster of a situation with the poise Foles has? Think any of the QBs you guys are talking about would have their eyes glued down field under this constant chaotic pressure? I ride wit Foles all day over any of these qbs… YEAR TWO is what defines a qb. Draft a qb, and we will have to go thru another year of rookie mistakes, til we get to year two to find out who that qb is. I would rather go into next years with Foles, give him a. Stable environment and find out if he is the futures or if we need to go investing high draft picks on a qb….Geno “Aron brooks” smith? Not unless he slips to the third round! Lol

          Just do whatever it takes to get Manti or Star in round 1, and walk away with The safety ELAM in round two! We need to get that kid.

        • morgan c

          Ya, I have seen many of his games, and he most certainly is not a traditional pocket guy. He isn’t a running quarterback, true, but I don’t really trust his ability to translate his relative success from a college style spread offense to an NFL team. I just don’t. And if you are comparing him to Weeden or Kolb, well, ya, I’ll just leave that one alone.

          • 1972

            wasnt a comparison, just an example of the offenses they played in.

          • morgan c

            okay, fine. i never said i trusted barkley, either, by the way. my opinion is there is no reason to take those two over foles, as i don’t think they give you much more relative value. i’d rather take a stud otackle or a stud dback, because they will be a bigger upgrade relative to the guys we have currently. i would take barkley over foles, with a gun to my head, as i feel he is a more nfl-style ready qb. it’s just my opinion. but i don’t want either over foles. you can disagree. it’s just my take dude.

          • morgan c

            sorry i meant “barkley over smith”

          • 1972

            but u trust barkley’s? why? what has he shown?he’s a underacheiving qb with nfl talent all around him

      • 1972

        Barkley is sanchez, lienert, palmer, and every other overhyped usc qb.. did u watch any of his games this year? In ur opinion what does he do better than geno smith?

      • FMWarner

        I think the same thing. I’m not in love with Barkley, but I’d take him over Geno Smith easy. Smith came out like gangbusters and hasn’t done a thing since October.

  • Ash

    How about Sheil for GM?