7 Reasons to be Skeptical of Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles
7 Reasons Why Fans Still Aren't Sold On Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles
Chip Kelly recently expressed extreme confidence in his second-year quarterback, Nick Foles. He publicly proclaimed that Foles is the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback for the next ‘1000 years’. This is not the kind of hyperbole that a coach heaps on a temporary solution.
Temporary solutions do not lead the NFL with a 120.0 Passer Rating. Temporary solutions do not lead the NFL with 9.04 yards per passing attempt (YPA).
Statistically, Nick Foles is the best quarterback in the NFL. His 20-1 TD-INT ratio has football fans across the country buzzing about his unprecedented season. So if the country can’t stop talking about Nick Foles, why are Eagles fans still tempering expectations?
Philadelphia is not a transient city. Many fans were born there, and their families have been following the franchise for decades. Last year, Silver Linings Playbook won multiple Oscar awards. The movie is about a father and son with one thing in common: they are Eagles fans.
This patriarchal community does not do bandwagons. When someone from Philadelphia sees something that is too good to be true, they know it probably is. That’s why if you take a stroll through Philadelphia cafes, barber shops and taverns, you may hear sons, fathers, and grandfathers rattling off reasons why Foles might not be the elite quarterback that the rest of the country thinks he is.
Let's take a stroll through seven lingering criticisms of Nick Foles and determine which are legitimate, if any.
Matt Kelley is a Philadelphia Eagles and Fantasy Football contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @fantasy_mansion or add him to your Google network.
7. Foles Was A Third-Round Draft Pick
While first-round quarterbacks are anointed, later-round quarterbacks must wait patiently for the accolades to roll in. It took fellow third-round pick, Russell Wilson more than 20 highlight-filled starts, including a productive playoff performance, before overcoming bias against his height and draft stock. Now, he is a widely-discussed MVP candidate.
Full appreciation understandably takes longer when 32 NFL teams have recently passed you up.
6. Foles Was Beat Out By Michael Vick
While the NFL is one of the most meritocratic institutions in the world, the quarterback position cannot be properly assessed with practice and preseason reps alone. The fiery crucible of an in-season NFL pocket is the only true capabilities test — just ask Blaine Gabbert.
Even if Chip Kelly believed that Foles was the better player, starting him in Week 1 over the undisputed leader of the locker room would have alienated and demoralized some of Chip Kelly’s best players. In that context, it is easy to forgive a coach with zero NFL head coaching games under his belt for choosing the productive veteran quarterback over a then-unproven Foles.
5. He Does Not Look The Part
Despite being an imposing 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, memes comparing Foles to John Heder from Napoleon Dynamite have gone viral.
Unfortunately for Foles, the “looks bias” is not applied consistently around the NFL. Despite being a dead ringer for John Francis Daley from Freaks and Geeks, Andrew Luck was anointed the "Franchise QB for Life” title before he took a snap.
4. Lacks The Mobility To Run Chip Kelly's System
Nick Foles is perceived as slow, because he is slow. He ran a 5.14 40-yard dash at the 2012 Combine. The only current NFL starting quarterback to run a slower 40 at the Combine was Tom Brady in 2000.
But does a slow 40-yard dash time indicate a true mobility problem? No. His 2013 rushing total is 168 yards. That extrapolates to over 300 yards rushing in a full season. In 2012, the year of the read option, 300-plus yards rushing would have placed Foles sixth in the NFL in rushing yards by a quarterback.
Nick Foles is a slow, highly-mobile quarterback.
3. One Fluke Game
Foles’ critics panned his 406 yard outburst at the Oakland Raiders on November 4, characterizing it as an outlier game against an over-matched opponent.
The reality is Oakland’s pass defense held Andrew Luck, Alex Smith, and Eli Manning under 200 yards this season and is no longer a league bottom-feeder.
According to Football Outsiders, which adjusts player and team performance based on game situations and strength of schedule, Oakland features a No. 22 overall defense and is 24th against the pass. He flew across the country to a particularly hostile environment and thoroughly demolished the Raiders through three quarters before yielding to Matt Barkley to finish off the fourth quarter.
By the way, Oakland’s defense is not rated higher specifically because of the huge performance that Nick Foles had in Week 9.
Admittedly, Foles has had some lucky outcomes this year (any player with one interceptions at this point in the season has had some lucky bounces), but nothing about his epic performance at Oakland can be considered a fluke.
2. Propped Up By Chip Kelly's Offense
Nick Foles benefits from the Chip Kelly offense, if for no other reason than the uptempo scheme providing Foles with more offensive snaps in which to throw the ball.
Before jumping to the conclusion that Chip Kelly's offensive innovations transformed Foles from a mere game manager into an elite NFL quarterback, compare the production of the two QBs who have played in his system. Michael Vick compiled seven TDs over six starts. Nick Foles rang up seven TDs in three quarters.
1. Foles Benefits From The Weapons Around Him
If receivers were poker hands, Nick Foles would have a pair of jacks, and Matthew Stafford would have a full house.
But Foles has Riley Cooper! The "who made who?" quarterback vs. wide receiver chicken or egg conundrum is usually impossible solve. But in the case of Nick Foles vs. Riley Cooper, it is completely one-sided.
Riley Cooper totaled 679 receiving yards during the first three years of his career. After Nick Foles took the helm, Cooper caught eight passes for 241 yards and five touchdowns in two games. Foles has single-handedly made Riley Cooper look like Calvin Johnson.