I remember sitting on my parents’ couch in Pittsburgh when the Nick Foles – Sam Bradford trade broke, on air, in March 2015. I kind of laughed, because it seemed very much like a trade of one middling quarterback for another, and in the end that’s exactly what it proved to be.
When the Eagles signed Chase Daniel to a very pricey three-year deal last offseason, I did not laugh, because while Bradford and Foles were both middling quarterbacks, they had proven they could at the very least hold their own when given a chance. Daniel had done no such thing, and probably never will because he simply isn’t a good enough NFL quarterback.
So while bringing back the much-maligned and oft-mocked Nick Foles feels like a weird step into the past, and could appear, to some, like a lateral move, let me tell you: it is not at all.
Backup quarterbacks are, by design, lesser players, so let’s get this out of the way: if Nick Foles is forced into action for more than two games next season, the Eagles will be doomed anyway. It won’t matter how much Foles plays up to his skill level: except for the Patriots, teams don’t win when their franchise quarterback goes down.
What we’re looking for from Foles, then, is serviceable play in short bursts, ideally. If Carson Wentz takes a brutal shot to the ribs, or tries to fly over a defender again and smacks his head on the turf of the Linc, can Foles come in and weather the storm until Wentz is available a few quarters later, or, at the worst, the next game?
In short, yes.
His woeful 2015 with the Rams was well-documented: he completed just 56.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,052 yards, seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 11 games as the team’s starter. Foles was awful, to be blunt, but so were those Rams.
Not much has changed with that team since Foles departed, which makes you think there was probably more to his failure than just his play.
Especially when you look at how Foles played for the Chiefs last year, surrounded by substantially better offensive talent and coaching.
Foles, in what amounted to 1.66 games last year, including one start: 65.4% completion percentage, 410 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions.
Take those numbers with these crucial grains of salt: those games came against the Colts’ and Jaguars’ defenses. The Colts ranked sixth-worst in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season, while the Jaguars ranked fifth-best.
So, overall, not bad!
Let’s go to the tape, then, to see what our old pal Nick was up to.
I looked at each play from his first game, against the Colts, and extracted some of the good, some of the meh, and some of the ugly.