Eagles Wake-Up Call: Did Foles Miss Lazor?
MOBILE, Ala. — Today’s question comes from reader Ricky, via e-mail.
I’m starting to think a big reason for Nick Foles’ decline in 2014 was the change at QB coach. Bill Lazor led Ryan Tannehill to a career year in 2014, while Bill Musgrave led the Eagles to a league-high 21 interceptions. Is it possible that the Eagles need to rethink their current QB coach heading into 2015?
I may need to make Ricky an official source for Birds 24/7. His e-mail came in at 2:03 p.m. About seven hours later, news broke that Musgrave was headed to Oakland to become the Raiders offensive coordinator.
As for the question, evaluating position coaches can be a difficult task. Basically, all we can go on is results and what the players tell us.
In one season under Lazor, Foles completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged 9.1 YPA and threw 27 touchdowns against two interceptions. In two seasons under other quarterbacks coaches, he completed 60.2 percent of his passes, averaged 6.7 YPA and threw 19 TDs against 15 interceptions.
Now, those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. In 2013, Foles had a healthy offensive line, Chip Kelly was unveiling his offense for the first time, the run game was a huge weapon, and DeSean Jackson was on the outside.
But consider Lazor’s work with Tannehill. In his first two years in the league, Tannehill completed 59.4 percent of his passes and averaged 6.72 YPA. He threw 36 touchdowns against 30 picks. Last year, he completed 66.4 percent of his passes, averaged 6.9 YPA and threw 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.
Again, some of that has been the natural progression of a young QB, but there’s no denying that Lazor has produced results. There were reports last year that he and Foles butted heads somewhat, but in terms of getting quarterbacks to play to their potential, Lazor has done well for himself the past two seasons.
Musgrave was in a tough spot, given that Foles was bound to regress somewhat, the offensive line was dealing with injuries, and Jackson was gone. But in terms of results, there really wasn’t a lot to point to.
Foles will now be playing for his fourth quarterbacks coach in as many years. Right now, he is the favorite to start next season, but plenty can change between now and September. Both Kelly and Foles are hoping that the new hire will be able to help the QB recapture some of the magic we saw in 2013.
Kelly is here in Mobile for the week, and his plate is full. He needs to find a quarterbacks coach and a personnel exec. Oh, and he’ll be scouting/interviewing prospects too as he prepares for his first draft without Howie Roseman or Tom Gamble. Good thing the guy is a football junkie. There’s plenty to do in the coming days.
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WHAT YOU MISSED
Several Eagles coaching staff changes were announced Monday.
The Bucs reportedly denied Kelly’s request to interview Jon Robinson.
Ten observations: An Eagles slant to the weekend.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Bob Brookover of the Inquirer takes a look at what Jeffrey Lurie can learn from the league’s elite teams:
There is no concrete decision-making structure among the elite.
Belichick has the same sort of absolute power that Chip Kelly just won in his power fight with former Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. Carroll also has final say on the 53-man roster, but he works closely and congenially with Seahawks general manager John Schneider. The Packers have arguably the best general manager in football in Ted Thompson, and former Eagles player personnel director Ryan Grigson is a rising star as Indy’s GM.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz looks at secondary questions:
Nate Allen has to go. Bradley Fletcher needs to go. That leaves Cary Williams as the player to consider keeping. He has a high cap figure this year (about $8.1M) and there is no way the Eagles will pay that. Would you keep him if he took a pay cut?
I’m far from Williams biggest fan, but there is something to be said for keeping him, signing a top free agent and then drafting a CB early. The goal is to build a secondary that has some talent and some depth. Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins could challenge for starting roles in 2015, but you sure can’t count on that.
We’ll have reports from Mobile as practices get under way.