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Nick Foles is a Great Quarterback
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is a great quarterback. The numbers say so.
Oh, I'm not talking about this season's lackluster numbers; I'm talking about Foles' statistics from last season. Those numbers show that he can be an "elite" or "franchise" quarterback. Whatever term you want to use to determine greatness at the quarterback position, Foles demonstrated that he can play with the best of them.
Why am I only using last year's stats to make a point that Foles is a great QB? Because when you talk about a quarterback, you talk about his ceiling. How great he can possibly be? Can he lead you to the Super Bowl? Well, 2013 was obviously Foles' ceiling and his numbers were historic. He also led his team down the field for the go-ahead score in that playoff loss to the Saints before the special teams and defense blew it.
In 2013, Foles threw 27 TDs and only 2 interceptions, which is the best TD-to-INT ratio in NFL history. His QB rating of 119.2 was the third-highest total in NFL history behind only Arron Rodgers (122.5 in 2011) and Peyton Manning (121.1 in 2004). He set the Eagles franchise record for completion percentage (64.0). And no QB threw for more yards (9.1) or touchdowns (.085) per attempt last season. Again, he was historically great last season.
The reason I feel the need to bring this up is that the local Philadelphia media and fans have suddenly jumped off the Foles bandwagon because his stats or considerably worse this season. I wouldn't expect anything less of those short-sided dopes. And anyone who has ever read a word I've written about the Eagles knows that I'm not some blind loyalist who thinks every Eagle is the best. Nobody criticized Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb more than I did, so I am totally objective when it come to the Eagles.
Yes, Foles stats are far worse this season than last, but he had nowhere to go but down. Here is the stat comparison from the last 2 seasons:
Foles vs. Foles
The problem with Foles this season is the turnovers. After turning the ball over only 4 times in 10 starts last season (2 INTs & 2 lost fumbles), Foles has turned the ball over a whopping 12 times this season (9 INTs & 3 lost fumbles). Foles has also been regressing during this season. During the first three games this season, Foles completed 61 percent of his passes, while throwing 6 TDs and 2 INTs and averaging 326 yards per game, for a 95.5 QB rating That's pretty good. In the last four games, he's only completed 58 percent of his passes, thrown 6 TDs, 7 INTs, and averaged 265.3 yards per game, for a QB rating of 70.3. That's terrible, but that doesn't mean it's time to turn the team over to Mark "Butt Fumble" Sanchez or start talking about drafting the quarterback of the future.
The quarterback of the future for the Philadelphia Eagles is already on the roster and his name is Nick Foles.
This is only Foles' third year in the league and his second as the starter. He's only 25 years-old and he's only started 23 games in the NFL. Maybe Foles hit his sophomore slump in his third year because he only started 7 games in his rookie season and 10 in his second season, which is basically one season's worth of starts. And honestly, even the best quarterbacks didn't start out great. Aaron Rodgers had to sit on the bench for a few years behind Brett Favre before he got his chance, so he was able to sit back and learn. Other "franchise" QBs who started from Day 1 also had problems early in their career. The Manning brothers are a good example.
Sure, Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls, but he's also led the entire NFL in interceptions three times in his career. And while big brother Peyton is widely considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever step on a football field, don't forget that he threw more INTs (An NFL-high 28) than TDs (26) in his rookie season. He also threw 23 INTs in his 4th season in the NFL and the Colts fell to 6-10. I don't think anybody was questioning his greatness then. Peyton is also the active leader in INTs with 222 in 247 games, while Eli is 3rd with 183 in 160 games.
This is not to compare Foles to Peyton Manning or even Eli and his two (won totally by his defense) rings. But how about guys like Colin Kaepernick, who was called out by none other than Joe Montana for not being a good enough pocket passer? Or how about Joe Flacco, who had one great playoff run and is now being paid among the NFL's elite? Do fans want to see Foles leave and possibly win a Super Bowl someplace else, like Drew Brees did in New Orleans after San Diego let him leave via free agency?
Yes, Foles has been missing some wide open receivers and throwing some awful interceptions, but then there are also those throws that remind you of how great he can be. That 54-yard touchdown pass he threw to Jeremy Maclin on Sunday in Arizona was absolutely perfect. The talent is there, it's just not showing up consistently. He's also on pace to shatter the franchise passing yardage record this season. Yes, some of that has to do with the fact that Chip Kelly is dialing up a lot more passing plays this season, but that is also not really helping Foles.
The Eagles had the No. 2 ranked offense in the NFL last season, because they had the No. 1 ranked rushing attack and LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing and total yards from scrimmage. McCoy doesn't even look like the same player this season. Part of that is obviously due to all the injuries on the offensive line. The Eagles have already used 11 offensive linemen this year after using only six last season. That has not only caused McCoy's stats to suffer, but Foles' stats as well.
Is Foles a Franchise Quarterback
While Foles has only been sacked 7 times in 7 games, after getting sacked 28 times in his 10 starts last season, you can tell his isn't as confident behind all the replacements on the offensive line. Every interception that Foles throws seems to be because he looks jittery in the pocket and throws off his back foot. When he sets up and steps into his throws, we get those 54-yard TD passes to Maclin. Maybe once center Jason Kelce and Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis get back, Foles will feel more comfortable. Or maybe he won't.
He has the ability to find the open receiver and deliver the ball where it needs to be. He's not doing that consistently this season, but no quarterback is great every season of his career.
Nick Foles' 7 TD Performance Against the Raiders
Maybe this is a down year for Foles and he'll bounce back. Or maybe last year was a mirage. I just think it's too soon to give up on a young quarterback, when there simply is no other option. The Eagles aren't exactly going to be in a position to draft Marcus Mariota, you know. And the Eagles don't have to offer Foles a new contract right now. He isn't a free agent until after next season, when his four-year rookie contract ends.
The point is that we know for a fact that Foles can be a great quarterback because he showed us that with his play last season. 27 and 2, with the third best QB rating in NFL history. How did everybody forget that already?