Cosell: Foles Outing Was ‘the Perfect Storm’

foles2_400_110313Nick Foles played very well against the Raiders. That was plain to see.

But out of all the quarterbacks that have caught fire in the history of the league, Foles is one of only seven to finish the day with seven touchdowns. How did this happen? How is it that he went from the worst performance of his career to one of the best statistical performances in league history? And how should we feel about the QB after nine professional starts?

For answers, we turned to NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell.

“There are two elements to this,” said Cosell of the Eagles’ 49-20 romp in Oakland. “One, they played at the fastest tempo they have played all season. Two, the Raiders for some reason did not understand what the Eagles offense was about.”

First, the tempo. Members of the Raiders defense admitted they had no answer for the pace the Eagles were running at. Cosell echoed what Evan Mathis said immediately after the game: that when you run a tempo offense, you prevent the opposing defense from running exotic blitzes. There is no time for disguises; you are forced to line up and play. That took away a big  facet of Oakland’s game.

To illustrate his point about Oakland’s lack of preparedness, Cosell pointed to the Eagles’ second offensive play from scrimmage — a bubble screen to Riley Cooper that went 42 yards.

“They made the game too easy for the Eagles,” he said. “That play is a staple of the Eagles offense, and they had two over three.” [Meaning two defenders against three Eagles receivers.]

Cooper final 1

The Raiders have no chance. They don’t have the numbers and they’re not challenging at the line of scrimmage. Easy pickings for Foles.

cooper final 2

“That’s a throw you or I could have made. You start out with your first pass on the second play of the game and it gets 42 yards. You throw it eight yards behind the line of scrimmage and it’s a 42-yard gain because they played two-over-three with a very soft cushion.”

Foles was on point, no question. He made the right reads, didn’t settle for the easier throws when big gains were to be had, and threw the ball accurately. But he was clearly aided by a Raiders’ defense that didn’t do enough homework and a secondary that had trouble keeping its footing.

“They played the fastest [they have all season] and they played a defense that conceptually didn’t match up well. So it was sort of the perfect storm,” said Cosell.

“I don’t think this was a hard game in a strict sense. You’re not going, ‘Wow he’s making some difficult throws.’ Some guys were wide open.”

The ups and downs

We asked players and coaches this week: what is the sample size needed before you can pass judgement on a quarterback? How many games do you need to see them play? No one provided a straight answer. We presented Cosell with the same question, and he was kind enough to throw us a number. He went with 20 starts.

Foles is at nine — six his rookie season and three this year. He has been up and down. Some of that is about consistency of mechanics.

“He doesn’t have any glaring issues,” Cosell said. “He has a tendency at times to not drive through his throws, and he loses velocity and accuracy.”

Cosell also mentioned that when the second-year quarterback gets mobile, he will sometimes fail to reset before making the throw. He pointed to a pass to DeSean Jackson this past week in the second quarter against Oakland. Foles hit Jackson for a 20-yard gain in this particular instance, but it’s the type of throw that has gotten him into trouble before.

Foles 11813 1

Interestingly, Cosell said that there were no technical flaws that stood out on the Dallas tape.

“It would be easy to say that he just needed to work on his footwork or work on his mechanics, but he also made a number of throws against Dallas where the footwork and the mechanics were fine and he was very inaccurate. It’s hard to say what was wrong against Dallas.”

That’s actually more concerning than if it was a technical issue; the more tangible the problem the easier it is to correct. The breakdown against the Cowboys is a little more difficult to diagnose. That is part of the reason why a larger body of work is required.

Cosell has seen more positives than negatives overall in Foles, but isn’t prepared to call it one way or another. As far as he is concerned, only half the evidence is in.

“It’s about consistency of execution,” he said.

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  • cliff henny

    how many more starts…easy answer…7 more! ’12 starts don’t count, he played with JV squad. if he looks like Tampa, improves off of that, then oakland offsets Dallas. plus, he has rematch week 17, find out alot about him, team, kelly if they can get there healthy.

    • Token

      One thing I came away with this last week, was when Kelce said Foles was much more vocal during the week, more of a leader. Thats what I wanna see. I wanna see him step up in that regard. Be a leader out there. Get more confident in what hes doing.

      And pace is obviously important. Like was said it limits what a defense can do. But to run at pace you need to execute consistently. Id like to see him be able to perform both at a fast pace and at a slower pace.

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah some of the comments from his teammates is what really excited me….like I’m really starting to get the impression that they view him as a young stud that they believe in…ERTZY talked about what a great QB he is, and how they knew what an ANOMOLY the Dallas game was..Kelce talked about having “a different look in his eye, and that you could just sense that he was going to probably have a big performance”..Kelce said you could see him be more vocal! and different mannerism and really taking a leadership role. I get the impression that Riley thinks highly of Nicks game as well, even tho they are obviously friends

        • knighn

          Glad you mentioned “mannerisms” – I thought he did not potray confidence from the very start of the Dallas game. I saw the way he stepped out there and actually thought, “Uh Oh.” If you still have the game on DVR, or can find a full copy: go ahead and watch Foles when he first steps on the field in Dallas. And then watch when he first steps on the field versus Oakland. Two different players, and it showed up in the results.

          • GEAGLE

            I will def go back and take a look at it…thanks mate

      • Chris

        agree, that’s something i’m looking for too. probably tough for him to try to step in a be a “leader” and be vocal with guys who view Vick as the leader, he may have been worried about the locker room but it seems like he has the support of the team, needs to keep executing. excited about this game

    • Richard Colton

      wondering how Chip will deal with the questions once Vick isn’t limited in practice.

      • cliff henny

        2 more nice games, name him starter for rest of season the weds of bye week. let the philly press vultures at him during bye week, crap storm blows over and he can get down to business the following monday.

        • GEAGLE

          I like you style cliff…

      • RIP illa

        Those should be pretty easy for him if Foles continues to play well and barring injury. He’s gotta role w/ Foles. It would be stupid in the eyes of the fans, media, and team otherwise. If Foles is up and down…then it becomes more of an issue for him, but mostly for us fans! The last time I can remember a situation of QBs/injury was w/ the Pats and Bledsoe v Brady. Don’t think I recall “Beli” balking at anytime when he made the decision. Sure it was probably not the easiest for him, but I don’t think it was all too hard, knowing what type of coach he is. I think Chip has that same kind of edge to him.

  • evanphilly

    The way I see it, Foles played what, 12 quarters so far? (2 against the Giants, 4 against TB, 3 against Dallas and 3 against Oakland). He has looked pretty darn good in 9 of them. Hopefully that hiccup against Dallas was just that…a hiccup. Not saying to be Oakland-good every week, but overall a very good one.

  • Ebrano

    It is fun to see the national media trying to downplay Nick’s record, and I think Philly is taking the big win in stride… we’ve ben trained not to get too excited by success in one game. Nick and the birds need to win a mfing home game first…

    • Nah__Roots

      Objectiveness ≠ Downplaying

      • Ebrano

        I was referring to Mike Freeman… he was blaming Foles’ record performance on the rules of the game favoring passing or whatever. When Peyton threw 7 TDs it had nothing to do w the rules, etc…

        • anon

          Well it was also against the reigning SB champions — not a team that has had a losing record for as long as anyone can remember. So it’s different. If Foles had tosses 7 against a NFC North team i’m sure it’d be a little different.

          I think commentators are also confused b/c he made it look so easy (that’s scheme). I’m not downplaying Foles i think Cosell’s article is accurate.

          • Maggie

            Technically the Ravens are not really the Superbowl winning team anymore. They kind of gutted themselves to pay Joe.

      • Richard Colton

        Nothing objective about trying to minimize a record setting performance. If anything, it reeks of anti-Foles agenda. Kind of like the one you have Roots.

        • Nah__Roots

          “Reeks of anti-Foles agenda” If you really believe that, then bless your little heart.

          • Richard Colton

            here you go. your post from the other day. Seems like an agenda to me. But if you want to backpedal or explain, I’m here to listen. Your other option is to log in as Gweeg and downvote me again. That stings. downvotes go on our permanent record.

            “Uh, speak for yourself. I don’t get how you can sit there and be like “yeah, let’s just throw Foles out there again and see if he doesn’t suck as much as we all know he does.” He HAD his chance. He’s had multiple chances. He couldn’t get it done over the summer and he sure as hell didn’t help his case a week ago. We can WIN the division this year. There’s no point in wasting any more games on “maybes” and “hope-he-cans” and (my favorite) “the future”. NEWS FLASH – not every player on this team is part of the future. All they want to do is win. Don’t you? Unless Vick still doesn’t feel right going into this game you have to start him.”

          • GEAGLE

            Wait what? People are still clamoring for Vick? Are you guys “punking” me right now? Smh “ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead…

          • Richard Colton

            im serious Geagle – some of the Vickophants left, some turned into Foles haters out of spite. See above.

          • Dutch

            You’re mistaken, we have been this avenue as Eagles fans time after time with similar QBs who are back up quality and have stepped in, to have outstanding games.

            I thought this Cosell guy was someone you guys respected? Even he says above it’s the inconsistency in Foles that gives reason to pause.

            That’s not hating, that’s deduced from Foles body of work. It’s a mistake to take more away from the Raiders game than this guy had the moon and stars aligned exactly as he needed them for an outstanding game and a benefit to be at times lucky than good. There s no accounting for Reily Cooper’s day in support of Foles brilliance.

            Who expects anything close to that day to happen again soon?

          • Richard Colton

            Well you were never a Vickadelphia Eagles fan Dutch, but you were 100% convinced that Foles couldn’t play. I think you need to admit that there’s a chance he’s the franchise guy we’re looking for. Or are you sticking to your previous position?

  • theycallmerob

    I hope Dutch takes the time to mail Cosell a strongly-worded letter, explaining how you need nothing more than Foles’ 5th grade report card to clearly show he lacks the tools necessary for success at this level.

    • GEAGLE

      Has he posted since Sunday?

      • theycallmerob

        Pry off defending Incognito on the fins blogs, calling Martin less-than-a-man and other things. That news set off his Delta-radar

        • cliff henny

          haha, yeah, bet he is in rare form. can hear the ‘you wouldnt understand, never played at high level’ or, surprisingly, he was very hr department over cooper so he could be more ‘in your world, maybe that’s exceptable, but educated people rise above’ of chocolates is dutch.

          • GEAGLE

            Poor kid :)

          • Richard Colton

            if you think otherwise than I want some of what you’re unicorn tied up in you’re backyard is smoking. anything else is meaningless drivel posted on Philadelphia area blogs.

          • cliff henny

            to get the full dutch experience, does need to have qb involved. and no one but dutch should ever go ‘full-dutch’

        • Dutch

          I doubt he entire story has come out in Miami. I don’t think there’s enough information available to the public to draw a conclusion on that matter.

    • Dutch

      Relax, the kid had a good game and Cosell’s opinion is pretty much on par with what I seen. Foles caught the right team at the right time. I could see no indorsement by Cosell on Foles status as a starter or any prognostication this kid is going to be a productive asset with the tools needed for the Eagles and anyone else at the NFL level.

      “It would be easy to say that he just needed to work on his footwork or work on his mechanics, but he also made a number of throws against Dallas where the footwork and the mechanics were fine and he was very inaccurate…”

      The trouble with Foles is obvious, he’s not consistent which has been shown

      “It’s about consistency of execution,” he said.

      I’d concur with Cosell’s assessment. The difference between a franchise QB and a back up is that the Back ups can’t do the simple things with any consistency

      Saying that, I’d like to see a repeat performance and, or anything close. But I don’t believe it’s possible. and have doubt anything close will happen again.


    I basically already echoed everything Cossel said..which is why when you talk about FOles brilliant performance it’s important to always credit Chip and the play of the supporting offense. FOles flat out threw perfect balls all day long, but Chip’s tempo offense and the execution of the supporting cast made it easier on the RAINMAKER aka young gunner, aka THE saint,,,

    The tempo and the offense really made the raiders look bad, but that shouldn’t diminish what Nick did. All he can do is strive to throw perfect balls and make the right reads, well he did it at the highest level in the history of this game..

    Say what you want about the raiders “bad” top 10 defense, but they aren’t half as bad as our pathetic quitting, pointing defense of 2012…yet out of all the QBs we played against last year, not ONE QB came close to doing what FOles accomplished on Sunday…

    The jaguars and Giants defense are 10 times consistently worse than Oakland and none of the great QBs this year that faced off against those putrid defenses, none of them came close to doing what Nick did…why can’t the great Luck hang ATleast 6 when they outclass the jags? Why didn’t Peyton light up that BAD defense? why did Drew Brees! Sean Peyton and that high power offense struggle against Oakland?
    It’s a joke to see people try and diminish what the kid accomplished…some of the best QBs to ever play this game with hall of fame careers haven’t had close to having a game like FOles…not Marino,Montana,Brees,Brady,Rodgers,Elway,Mcnabb(as if he belongs in that list)….I mean think back to how High power we were the year we had McNabb and TO? And that offense never had a game like FOles did…you have to respect that even if it GUARENTEED nothing going forward. but people forget how well he played against the GIants and Tampa…the kid is playing at a high level

    • Explorer51

      Perfectly put…the Raiders bad Top 10 defense; is it possible that the execution of the Eagles O, from the OL play to WRs winning match-ups to Foles decisiveness and accuracy, helped that Top 10 D to look and play bad?

      BTW, checked it out and there have been close to 15,000 games played since the NFL began; yet, before Sunday, there were only six QBs that had seven TDs in a game. Foles, and the Eagles, may never come close to this again but why can’t he and the team be given credit for accomplishing this against a statistically solid D?

  • Adam

    I can finally wear this shirt I bought after week 1 and not feel like a moron

  • OregonDucker

    My fear for Sunday’s game is that the Packer’s D will play like Stanford yesterday. It’s all about match-ups and skill level. Foles will have a difficult time with his reads if our OL breaks down. I don’t think they will consistently but I worry for Foles.

    If Foles has 2 sec or more, he will kill the Packer’s D. Please, please give him time to shine OL.

    • Richard Colton

      Good point, and I think they will. Foles was hardly touched by the Raiders. The better play of the O-line is one of the biggest stories of ’13.

      • OregonDucker

        Three of the Packer’s DL are 330+. Our uptempo should hurt them bigtime. This is my expectation.

        • GEAGLE

          That’s a very good point,,,if we can get some continuity going early and get into a flow, our tempo is really going to hurt that line

        • Adam

          Another thing to think about.. Clay Matthews has seen next to no action. If you put him on the field and the Eagles go no huddle he’s stuck out there. Will be tough for GB to use him just rotationally.

          • BlindChow

            Conversely, if he’s off the field and the Eagles go no-huddle, he can’t come into the game!

          • Richard Colton

            Hope so. He’s still Clay Matthews – when I read that he was wearing a “club” cast – I had a Reggie White flashback. I don’t care how well Brent Celek’s been blocking, we’re going to need more than a chip block helping out with this guy.

          • knighn

            I think this is the perfect time for the Eagles to attempt a trade. Our Matthews brother is 100% healthy! Theirs is in a cast! Casey for Clay straight up. Surely the Packers would go for that trade!

            When Clay gets healthy, the Eagles would get their OLB / pass-rusher that they really need, and the Green Bay fan-base would have a player to obsess over and pick on, which would distract them from all of the other problems the Packers have. This seems like a win-win for both teams. Get it done, Howie!

          • Richard Colton

            don’t forget; our’s is younger. Clay has a lot of miles on that body. From Green Bay’s perspective, I don’t see why they wouldn’t do it.

          • knighn

            And Casey plays Special Teams! Does Clay?! I doubt it. I can’t believe Green Bay didn’t make this trade a long time ago!

    • GEAGLE

      NO FEAR my friend…we have the RAINMAKER!!!
      Oline should be fine, especially with FOles pocket presence and the Line actually knowing where in the pocket FOles will be

      • cliff henny

        defense, foles, draft looking setup for eagles…world must be rainbows and unicorns in Geagle-land

        • GEAGLE

          Lol yes sir…weathered the storm..let’s go reap some rewards the second half of the season!!!! Vick era is no longer wasting our time…rookies and young players developing well, I no longer have to read what a dope Billy Davis is or how bad Riley is…all is well in the world

          • EaglePete

            unless its pouring rain again on Sunday, not literally. If somehow Wallace and Lacy do damage it could be an entirely new set of threads next week. Funny game this football is.

          • GEAGLE

            Absolutely….but I believe in the kid, and I think negative energy won’t help…so petey Pablo that ish, and waive your shirt around your head like a helicopter getting rowdy!

      • #7

        Dude you are flying on the moon with happiness lol

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I think he’s dancing in the yard listening to Tiny Tim’s tiptoe through the tulips.

        • GEAGLE

          Sucks to be you :)

  • Adam

    What’s going on with Datone Jones in GB anyways? 3 tackles and 1 sack? Is he only seeing limited snaps?

    • cliff henny

      think he’s only playing sub-packages. agree w/ oregonducker, need to convert, get that hyper speed going run their fat boy d-line into ground, and they love those sub-package where woodson playd lbr and matthews could blitz from everywhere, keep them from getting into those.

  • Rick H

    Tim, I really like you and Sheil and this site. Greg Cosell not so much… He is someone that hangs around ex football players and learns their jargon then tries to pass himself off as some super insightful guru using said jargon. He is DEFINITELY not a guru! He is is DEFINITELY not insightful! He is is DEFINITELY not super in anything. He is an alright guy reaping the benefits via nepotism.

    • Coatesvillain

      No. Greg Cosell has gotten where he is through hard work, and knowing what he’s talking about. There’s a reason he’s so respected in NFL circles not just by writers but by teams and players.

      • Rick H

        Is this Greg’s Mom? You are not allowed to pose as football fan because you show your ignorance. Greg is as phony as his Father’s hair piece! What players or writers do you know? I know more then you and that I am confident in. They would not remotely agree. He repeats what he hears from his local buddies at NFL films. HE POLITICS/BEGS TO GET ON BOTH LOCAL SPORTS RADIO STATIONS ALL THE TIME NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
        Jaworski tells him what to say after he brown noses him for information… What a lame claim!

        • Coatesvillain

          He’s Howard Cosell’s nephew, not son. He worked for years behind the scenes at NFL Films and he’s the producer of NFL Matchup. He also did/does a great breakdown podcast with Doug Farrar. Anyone who is anyone respects him. It’s okay to not agree with him but to claim he doesn’t know what he’s talking about is unfounded.

  • UncleCarm

    Its a little off topic, but since Foles was a rookie just last year: Can anybody compare Barkley’s (rookie) play to Foles last year? Granted Foles had turnover issues with interceptions and fumbles, but he also had some skills that showed through. I want to like Barkley, but he is not helping me.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I don’t think being optimistic regarding Foles is blind optimism. As a rookie he showed poise, not necessarily promise. This year he’s played even better, albeit with new coaches & a new scheme in just his second year. In 5 of 6 of his appearances he’s performed far better than you’d expect from a 3rd rounder. Did he throw up a dud against Dallas? Yes, but it’s the overall body of work. You can’t just throw away the Dallas game because you’re a Foles supporter, just as you can’t dismiss his performance against Oakland if you’re not a supporter. You have to judge him based on where he falls in between & right now, in this system, that’s a game & half or so. Without getting overly optimistic or overly pessimistic, until he has proved what he either is or isn’t, the kid deserves a shot.

  • Coatesvillain

    I don’t blame people for being optimistic about Foles’ performance on Sunday. I think optimism is fine, but should be cautious. Instead of jumping to a conclusion one way or another let him play it out.

    I was a doubter after seeing him perform last year. Nothing about him looked like a starter. Much of his passes were short and intermediate. When he did throw deep he was inaccurate. This year he has looked better (outside of Dallas).

    I think all of us want the Eagles to be the best team possible. But instead of arguing whether or not Foles is the guy we need to see consistency. From what we know, the Dallas game and the Oakland game aren’t representative of who he is. How he performs the rest of the season will go a long way in telling us who Nick Foles is and whether he can be the guy.

    As someone who started the season not seeing it with him, I’m willing to give him a chance. Either way 9 starts isn’t significant to really hang our helmets on him as the guy.

    So here’s hoping he can stay healthy the rest of the season and prove that he is a capable starter going forward.

    • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

      Wow, 7 TDs and you’re “willing to give him a chance.” How nice of you!

      I guess if you were a Niners fan, you’d be willing to give Kapernick a chance this season because he did come within 5 or so yards of winning the Super Bowl last year.

      • Coatesvillain

        Matt Flynn threw six TDs in a game. The point is a great game isn’t enough to make someone a sure thing. Need to see him be consistent and healthy over course of season this isn’t a controversial stance.

        Also your comparison doesn’t line up. If Foles lead the Eagles to five yards from a Super Bowl win no one would question his spot as starter. No one would question if he finished this year strong. Let’s just let him do it first.

  • thefadd

    you know why this season is awesome? because Philadelphia has finally gotten tired of arguing about quarterbacks.