Eagles Wake-Up Call: Will Foles Answer the Skeptics?
The debate around Nick Foles this week: How much of his success on Sunday can be attributed to the fact that he was going up against the worst pass defense in the NFL?
The answer: We’ll find out Thursday.
The Bengals are ranked 10th against the pass and are sixth overall as a defense. They lead the league in sacks (42) and are considered one of the most disruptive units in the game. This is a big step up in class for the rookie.
“They do a lot of things with fire zones and blitzes that you have to be ready for, and I’m talking from a quarterback’s standpoint and a protections standpoint,” said Andy Reid. “They do everything they can do to maximize a defense, and they’re going to show you. From a young quarterback’s standpoint, you have to put in the time and make sure that you are in there and exhaust the little bit of time that you have.”
Foles has been staying at NovaCare late into the night to try and get ready, according to Reid, but it will be difficult to get a firm grasp of the scheme he will be facing given the quick turnaround.
While Marvin Lewis‘ group has its own unique approach, there will at least be some elements that should look familiar.
“It’s similar to what Washington runs where they’re going to bring their middle linebackers up into the A-Gaps over the center, and that puts a lot of stress on your protections,” explained Trent Edwards. “You have to know where guys are going, where the center is blocking, where the line is blocking. And things happen so fast — they’re not coming from depth — if they’re blitzing and you’re hot, you have to make a decision really quick. It’s not a defense that you face every week. You have to react quickly and kind of know where the ball is supposed to go.”
That game against Washington was Foles’ first start and he fumbled three times and was intercepted twice in a 31-6 Eagles loss. The Redskins also sacked Foles four times and racked up seven quarterback hits. Against Tampa those numbers jumped to six sacks and 13 QB hits. The quarterback play improved dramatically from Foles’ first outing, but the same thing cannot be said for the line.
“I know it’s a great task for our offensive linemen and I know they’re going to be ready to go, so blitz pickup and just one-on-one is going to be big,” said Foles. “We just have to win the battles.”
The skeptics will be looking on to see if Foles will win his against a higher level of competition.
WHAT YOU MISSED
LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick got back on the practice field and have not yet been ruled out for Thursday.
Jeremy Maclin is on the injury report. Turns out, he got hurt by his own teammate.
Sheil does a really nice job using the All-22 tape to break down Foles’ performance against Tampa.
A round-up of all the latest coaching buzz.
If you missed Birds 24/7 on the radio, here’ the podcast. (Pure gold.)
Kapadia’s DL review examines if there was success post-Washburn.
The linebackers aren’t exactly broken up about the death of the Wide-9.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Rodney Harrison spent plenty of time with Josh McDaniels in New England and talked to 97.5 The Fanatic about what may have gone wrong with McDaniels’ head-coaching stint in Denver. McDaniels could get another shot this offseason.
“I think what he has learned from the first time is, I can’t be Bill Belichick. I have to be myself. And I think he got into a situation where he started trying to be like Bill Belichick because he learned from Bill Belichick, so it’s only natural. So now …I think he’ll rely try to establish his own identity.”
The Eagles shot up three spots in ESPN’s power rankings after their win over Tampa, and now sit at No. 27.
For the first time in 70 days, they won a game. Welcome to Philadelphia, Nick Foles. Stay awhile.
A walkthrough for the Eagles as they finish preparations for Thursday’s game against the Bengals. The Eagles are three-point underdogs.