Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Foles Factor
It’s safe to assume last week was a good one for Nick Foles.
The Eagles’ starting QB saw the front office lock up four of the guys who make his job easier: left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce and wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
Of that group, Cooper specifically offered a big thank you to the guy who threw him the ball in 2013.
“A lot,” Cooper said, when asked how much Foles’ presence factored into his decision. “I mean, I wouldn’t be put in this situation I’m in now if it wasn’t for Nick. He came in and what a tremendous player and a tremendous guy. He believes in me. He likes throwing me the ball. He’s a great player, and without him I wouldn’t be here to be honest with you. We definitely have good chemistry, and that weighed in a lot into the decision.”
Cooper finished the season with 47 catches for 835 yards; 34 and 673 of those came from Foles.
The Eagles’ signal-caller threw the ball Cooper’s way even when he wasn’t necessarily open. Cooper saw plenty of man coverage without safety help, and Foles realized sometimes his best option was just throwing the ball up and letting his wide receiver make a play.
To Cooper’s credit, he did an outstanding job of tracking the ball downfield, averaging 17.8 yards per catch, third-best in the league.
There was a common theme last week when the four re-signed players addressed the media. They all talked about a good feeling surrounding the organization after last year’s turnaround. There was a sense that the culture has changed and the arrow is pointing in the right direction.
A big part of that is Chip Kelly, but Foles is certainly a factor as well. For offensive players, there’s not much more important than stability at the quarterback position. And Foles’ 27-touchdown, two-interception performance in 2013 opened some eyes – even among players like Maclin who never played a snap.
“You want to go somewhere where there’s a quarterback who can throw the ball and play good football,” Maclin said. “I think Nick’s gonna be a tremendous quarterback in this league for many years to come. And I’m happy I can be a part of that.”
An offseason priority for Kelly and Howie Roseman was to make sure Foles has the pieces around him he needs to be successful once again. There could still be upgrades to come – in the draft, specifically – but the QB is going to have a nice array of pass-catchers and a stable line to protect him in 2014.
With anything close to a repeat performance, Foles will be the one likely to cash in next offseason when he’s allowed to renegotiate his contract.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Jairus Byrd seems likely to hit free agency, according to reports. What does that mean for the Eagles?
What they’re saying, including the possibility of the Birds landing Brian Orakpo.
Nick Saban says officials regulated how fast Kelly could play last year.
Three leftovers on the Maclin deal, including Roseman referencing the Denver Broncos.
Maclin explains why he turned down a multi-year deal from the Eagles.
Might the Eagles look into trading for Dion Jordan?
On the Johnny Manziel visit, D’Qwell Jackson and Brandon Graham’s trade value.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his thoughts on Jordan:
Jordan should be an Eagles target, assuming that his shoulder is okay and that Kelly likes him. Kelly said a bunch of positive things about Jordan last year, but you don’t know how much of that was PR fluff and how much was legit praise for his former star player.
Originally I thought pick 22 and Brandon Graham would be a fair price to pay for Jordan, but if Miami is shopping him, the Eagles might be able to get a better deal. I’d be ecstatic if they could give Graham and a 2nd rounder for Jordan. In a fantasy world, the Eagles would then use pick 22 on a good DB and would give the defense a major boost.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times mocks Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix to the Eagles:
Philadelphia’s safeties were a disaster last season, and “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix would be a welcome upgrade.
This is the last day for teams to use the franchise tag, plus we’re eight days away from free agency.