Almost a month ago I, rather prematurely made a case for Nick Foles as the Franchise QB. I thought Nick really showed some special qualities in that game, and even made the comment that his HOF performance was even more impressive than the stats sheet even indicated. I will admit to also being a little facetious with that claim as I was pointing out the overreactions that often happen in the mainstream media.
The truth is, the Eagles don't need to know if Nick Foles is the Franchise QB. They likely won't know, unless he wins a Super Bowl this year. Point is, there are a lot of definitions of a franchise QB, and at the end of the day, the one piece that really has strong implications is when the Franchise decides to open up the wallet and give said QB a blockbuster deal that includes a boatload of guaranteed money. That clearly is not going to happen this offseason. So the point is, that so far Nick is just enabling and prolonging a discussion that will likely be a storyline throughout the 2014 season as well.
On this topic, despite a series of terrific performances, I've been getting the vibe that his performance on Sunday was for many, the point where Nick is really starting to convince the average fan that he is indeed the franchise QB. On the surface, it makes sense. A very tough test on defense, a pressure defense, and Nick finishes with 259 total yards, 3 TDs, and once again, 0 official turnovers. But much like I felt the Raiders game was the perfect storm, I came away from the Cardinals game with a bit of the opposite feeling. I felt Foles played really well at times, but also got lucky on numerous occassions which could have really impacted the game. Setting the Cowboys game aside for a second, I personally felt that the Cardinals performance was the most uneven performance from Foles this season. Yeah, a big part of that could have been facing a tougher defense. But as we continue to try and put the Cowboys performance completely out of our minds as an obvious outlier...Nick gave us a couple of glimpses of how things could turn bad. Let's look at some "scary" moments:
Here Nick is getting sacked and you can see him trying to "make a play" by shovelling the ball to McCoy. The whistle was blown dead either way, but this is risky business that we've all seen go the other way too many times. Situational awareness. First and 10, 7-0 lead, live to fight another play:
I'd have ignored that play above, if it didn't happen again. First of all, here's an illustration suggesting Nick has been attending the Bryce Brown School of Ball Carrying:
And as he's falling down, he shovels the ball to McCoy, for what turns out to be a short gain. Again, I love his competitiveness and willingness to make a play, but you just can't do that. If that DL was one step closer, that's a strip sack:
While I don't think he was considering shoveling this one to Johnson, when Nick gets hit, he has to put that ball away. Pretty careless to leave it out there for the taking:
In the final minutes of the 2nd quarter, Nick attempts a deep shot on 1st and 10 to Desean Jackson. This was a bad decision. 1) That's Patrick Peterson on Desean Jackson 2) Peterson clearly has inside positioning on Jackson 3) Maybe attempt a jump ball for Riley Cooper, but Desean Jackson? 4) Based on Desean's positioning, if anything, you throw that to the sidelines. Instead Foles throws it back to the inside:
Peterson is in perfect position for a pick. We ended up scoring on this drive at the end of the half, so if that ball was picked, it would have been a pretty big play in this game:
He was also lucky that this one wasn't picked off by the honey badger:
And of course there was this one. Trying to bleed the clock, but 2nd and 7 he's in the grasp. You need to simply accept this sack. Nick makes the terrible decision to loft this ball over the middle. It was a similar bone-headed play to the INT he threw in the preseason against the Patriots that likely factored into him not getting the starting job in the first place:
YOU JUST CAN'T DO THIS:
Finally, while most of us have finally filed the erratic accuracy we saw from Foles in the Cowboys game away in the "anomaly" category Nick displayed some curious inaccuracies which you have to believe were more mechanics based:
Don't get me wrong. Every QB makes bad throws. Every QB makes poor decisions. Every QB throws INTs. Fortunately, Foles alse complemented this game with a series of terrific decisions and throws and 3 TDs to boot. I am just pointing out that an uneven performance where Foles got lucky a few times really emphasizes why Chip doesn't and shouldn't need to declare Foles his franchise QB for the next 1,000 years.
I think we all agree that Foles is not quite as good as his gawdy stats indicate. I think a lot of us are expecting a bit of a regression. I think as fans we are all very fortunate that Foles and the Eagles still played well enough in all facets to win this game, so these errors can be filed into Foles' memory bank. Always better to learn from a win than from a loss. I am sure Foles didn't like the tape either. Let's hope he learns from this and is a bit more careful with the football moving forward.
So while I lean more towards the "Nick Foles is our Next Franchise QB" argument...we still need to see how he handles pressure late in games when we are trailing. Does he understand the situations and protect the ball, or does he become more careless? So far, so good...but Chip still hasn't lots of time and things to evaluate.