Weekend Reading: Foles And the Contract

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Some links to pass along as we inch closer to Eagles-Cardinals:

Bill Barnwell of Grantland tackles the quarterback contract issue in great depth including the future for Nick Foles and the rest of the 2012 quarterback class:

And then, finally, we’re left with the six young starting quarterbacks in the NFL who have a reasonable expectation of receiving a long-term contract extension from their current team in the next two years. They each face different circumstances, and the combination of their skills, past production, and work to be done over the remainder of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 will help dictate the size of their next deals.

Foles is obviously having a very curious season. The Eagles are 5-1, and Foles has led them to fourth-quarter comebacks twice, but it doesn’t even require close observation to see how he’s left big plays on the field and made mistakes on a weekly basis. His numbers are down across the board, looking far more like the Foles who was a rookie quarterback under Andy Reid in 2012 than the passer who posted one of the best half-seasons in NFL history under Chip Kelly last year.

Then again, with his offensive line getting healthy, there’s the possibility that Foles’s running game picks up and he suddenly gets hot again during the second half. Because he was a third-round pick, the Eagles won’t have a fifth-year option for Foles. Given the way he’s performed over the past two seasons, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Philadelphia borrow the structure of the Kaepernick contract for Foles, which would allow them to pay him reasonably well on an annual basis while allowing for an easy escape from the contract if he loses the job.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com put together an All-22 analysis of both the Eagles and Cardinals in preparation for their Sunday clash:

The Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals square off Sunday in a midseason heavyweight battle between two 5-1 teams. This game pits one of the league’s most explosive offenses against a stellar defensive unit that has played surprisingly well despite a bevy of key personnel losses. The looming chess match between Chip Kelly and Todd Bowles inspired me to take a look at the All-22 Coaches Film to unearth potential strategies for each wily play caller.

While I examined the Eagles’ offense a few weeks ago, I wanted to look at the challenges this unit will provide for Bowles as he attempts to build a winning game plan this week.

Peter King of the MMQB lists Eagles-Cardinals as the number one things he’ll be watching for this weekend:

1. Eagles at Cards. Battle of the 5-1 teams, and who woulda thunk it? Carson Palmer is back playing well, which is good news, considering he’s 10-2 in his last 12 starts. And now he has one of the league’s best new weapons: Pittsburg (Kans.) State rookie wideout John Brown, who’s had as much impact as any offensive rookie in football this year. The Eagles certainly will try to be physical with Brown in the five-yard bump zone, but that hasn’t worked well for anyone so far.

2. The kickers in Arizona. You do not know Cody Parkey. You do not know Chandler Catanzaro. There’s a good chance one of them will decide this contest of NFC topsiders. Combined, Eagles kicker Parkey and Cards kicker Catanzaro are 27 of 28 in field-goal attempts this season, and no one in Philly or Phoenix is clamoring for the trusted vets anymore.

Kent Somers of the of AZCentral (affiliate site of the Arizona Republic) writes about the brothers Acho and their first competitive meeting:

Other than informal games in yards and parks, brothers Sam and Emmanuel Acho have never played football against each other.

That will change on Sunday when Sam’s team, the Cardinals, plays Emmanuel’s, the Eagles, at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mom, Dad and the boys’ two sisters will be among the nine or so family members in attendance.

“It’s going to weird, but it’s going to be fun,” Sam said. “I always root for him. This will be interesting. I’ll be rooting for him to make plays but not enough plays to change the game.”

Both Achos played at Texas. Sam, 26, is two years older and is in his fourth season. Emmanuel was drafted in the sixth round by the Browns in 2013 and spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com delivers the Week 8 Elo Ratings and playoff odds:

The NFC, almost inevitably, will feature a ferocious battle for the wild card positions. Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Detroit, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle all have somewhere between a 22 and 32 percent chance of winning a wild card. Three of those teams (barring a miraculous run by a team like the Chicago Bears) will win their divisions, but that leaves four teams fighting for two slots.

The Arizona Cardinals, incidentally, have a chance to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Although Arizona is probably weaker than either San Francisco or Seattle, it has a leg up in the NFC West by virtue of its 5-1 start. Elo gives the Cardinals a 15 percent chance of making the Super Bowl and an 8 percent chance of winning it.