Hey Philly; Lay off Nick Foles!

Posted: October 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

The City of Brotherly Love has never been a very loving environment for Philadelphia Eagles starting signal callers. In fact, it’s often said that the most popular man in the city is the backup quarterback in midnight-green. In 2014, that mantra still holds true, and young QB Nick Foles continues to fight through growing pains and growing animosity from the fanbase and the often convoluted Philadelphia media.

foleskellyRandall Cunningham dealt with it. After all, the 1990 MVP award winner “could never read a defense.” Donovan McNabb, the team’s all time wins leader at the position, was booed from the moment he was drafted and considered a “choker” who couldn’t get the job done at the most crucial of times. Ron Jaworski, Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb; the list of gunslingers whose psyches were dented by the vociferous venom of the Philadelphia faithful reaches deep into the franchise’s futile history.

Now, in the midst of the franchise’s most successful season in 10-years, the skeptical nature of Philadelphia’s fans has once against reared it’s ugly head.

Foles, who shattered team records with 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 2013, has undoubtedly seen regression in his stats. Anyone who expected similar numbers would be kidding themselves. After all, defenses learn tendencies of young quarterbacks and it’s up to the player to overcome those adjustments. So far, Foles leads the league in turnovers. Yes, some folessnowof them have been worse than others. But, at 25-years old, these are the mistakes Foles should be expected to make. It’s also no mistake that the team keeps winning despite these flaws. “Culture beats scheme any day,” says Foles’ coach Chip Kelly. It’s that same culture that Foles is apart of that will keep his teammates fighting for him, and vice versa. Now, if only we could convince the fans and media to understand that perfection has its price.

Regression from one-season to another is no surprise for a young QB. One of the best of all time, Saints QB Drew Brees, saw similar regression when he was Foles’ age:

Drew Brees 2002: 320-526 (60.8%), 17 TD, 16 INT
Drew Brees 2003: 205-356 (57.6%), 11 TD, 15 INT
Drew Brees 2004: 262-400 (65.5%), 27 TD, 7 INT

Now, I am by no means comparing Foles to Brees. After all, the former’s numbers in his first season as a starter far dwarfs the future hall of fame’rs statistics. But, it goes to further illustrate that those looking for prolonged perfection from their quarterback are looking for something that just doesn’t happen when the signal caller in question is still enduring his first 25 career starts.

Even the statistical benchmark for quarterbacks, Dan Marino, endured regression from his first full season as a starter to the next:

Dan Marino 1984: 362-564 (64.2%), 48 TD, 17 INT
Dan Marino 1985: 336-567 (59.3%), 30 TD, 21 INT
Dan Marino 1986: 378-623 (60.7%), 44 TD, 23 INT

My, oh my, look at all those Marino turnovers. I don’t think too many people were calling the future hall-of-fame QB a bust or a liability at the time. That’s the type of language reserved for Foles on the Philadelphia airwaves. It begs the question of whether or not Philadelphians are as wise as they claim to be when it comes to their football team. After all, there’s no way that a player like Brett Favre went through these same slumps, right?

Brett Favre 1992: 302-471 (64.1%), 18 TD, 13 INT
Brett Favre 1993: 318-522 (60.9%), 19 TD, 24 INT
Brett Favre 1994: 363-582 (62.4%), 33 TD, 14 INT

All three of the quarterbacks previously listed were entering their second years in the NFL when they became full time starters, just like Foles. Don’t like history? What about a more recent example? Here, we have Brees’ replacement in San Diego and current MVP front-runner Philip Rivers:

Philip Rivers 2006: 284-460 (61.7%), 22 TD, 9 INT
Philip Rivers 2007: 277-460 (60.2%), 21 TD, 15 INT
Philip Rivers 2008: 312-478 (65.3%), 34 TD, 11 INT

Like Foles, Rivers got a chance to sit on the bench and learn. When he finally got his chance to start, the former NC State star brees riversled the Chargers to the postseason. After a statistical slump in 2007, he was right back to his old, aerial assaulting ways in his third year as a starter.

Foles and Rivers each led their teams to the playoffs their first season as starters. Meanwhile, the former has the 2014 Eagles atop the NFC at 5-1. It begs the question, “why so serious,” Philadelphia fans? You have the best record in the conference and a young quarterback who is clearly not afraid to make and learn from his mistakes. The only other thing you could ask for is a Lombardi Trophy. With Foles and Kelly at the helm, that wish might finally come true.

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