Foles

SHowcasing Nick Foles vs. Carolina’s 1’s…

This will be a "BIG REVEAL" moment for all the Foles-a-holics out there in Philly Phan-dom…

Shaggy gets the QB start againts the Panthers Thursday night in PS2.

"I just need to go out there and play," he said. "I need to go out there and execute the offense and put points on the board. That's always been the ultimate goal. Just learn from the last [game] and move forward, just take these practices and get better."

"It's the same way I've approached everything I've always done. I'm not changing anything. I'm going to keep doing the things that I've done my whole life that got me here, and that is just work as hard as I possibly can and take it one play a time."

This is tough pressure on a still-very-young guy… I feel for the kid.. I want him to do well.

Foles has a new look— the curly locks have been shorn. But his mechanics have remained the same. That means look out for the occasional hiccup.

I admire Chip Kelly for giving Foles this shot. Kelly remembers the fight Foles put up against his Oregon Ducks in collegiate battle. He thought he saw something special— kinda like Joe Flacco, almost, sort of, but juuust a little different…

Maybe it's just me, but I look at Foles in the pocket under pressure and I think of a prep school kid who has gone to quarterback summer camp in junior high and ultimately has done everything his father and his coaches have taught him his whole life—  and then the stark reality of NFL life hits him between the eyes.

I think "You can't breed or educate a great pro football quarterback… at some point, it is an act of Nature… or God"…

Yeah, that's the problem I have with hitching my cart to Nick Foles…and I admit, it's personal.

I prefer my QB to be born of the nitty-gritty side of life.

Bobby Layne… John Unitas… Norm Van Brocklin… Fran Tarkenton…Kurt Warner…Joe Montana… heck, Michael Vick…

These are working class guys who knew not of the silver spoon. They had to make their bones on the fly.

Not that a guy born into comfortable means can't be a great quarterback…Yes, it has happened, and it will happen again. Maybe it will be Foles to convince me to abandon my working class stereotype. I hope so.

Foles has been good at staying in the moment, as when he recovered from a lost fumble on his first series last week to direct a 10-play touchdown drive that highlighted his decision-making and  playmaking ability on third down.

But to quote Nick Fierro of the Allentown Morning Call—"How he balances aggressiveness with a sensible approach might just prove to be the dealbreaker."

So attention to detail becomes extra important for Foles, who lacks both the speed and arm strength of Vick, who is if nothing else a street-tough veteran at this stage of his career.

Foles wants to "stay in rhythm" and not "try to hold onto a route too long if it's not open," he said. "Go on to the next route, go through your read progression. Sometimes you stick on one route and then the other route is closed, so you miss him."

Kelly has been extra careful in dividing the quarterback reps in practices and plans to be especially vigilant in this game, with the goal being to get each one a near-identical number of snaps — and more of them than the week before.

"We're trying to get our 1's more work through the first and second quarter now," Kelly said. "We'll see how that plays itself out. Does that mean it's going to be by series or whatever? It depends on how many snaps and how long the series are. So all those guys, whether it's Nick or Matt [Barkley] or any of our 1's, they really go one drive, two drives, some of those guys in there in the 10-12 range. We want to get that extended as we get into our second preseason game."

"So hopefully we can get those guys through the second quarter. It just depends on how it plays itself out. If we get a lot of reps in the first quarter, it's more by the number of snaps."

My biggest concern about Foles has been his long wind-up on medium-deep to deep throws. It's a mechanical issue which I agree can be addressed by coaching him up. But see how low he brings the ball back behind his right hip? He leaves it out there under pressure and the defensive opponents already know how to tip or strip that thing.

That is not a street-smart move. Sonny Jurgensen would never bring that ball any further below the top of the number "9"…

The other thing that bugs me is Foles' tendency to give up on his progressions too early…at which point he isolates on his check-down receiver— whom everybody in the stadium knows is his check-down receiver.

Again, this is a thing which can be coached up— but in the meantime, if you are the check-down receiver, you are going to be led by a sofly thrown pass completion into Death Valley. I only hope your NFL health insurance plan is accepted by your family's preferred orthopedic surgeon.

Still I know Foles means well. He is programmed to succeed. That is the best part of his upper-middle-class upbringing.

Slow of foot? I don't care— it's not so much about how often you take off out of the pocket, but when… and I do give Foles points for better knowing when is the right time to take off out of the pocket. He's shown great strides (sorry!) in that department.

But I just don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling about his instincts when it comes to improvising something nice out of a broken play or a missed blocking assignment.  You had that nice feeling with Randall Cunningham and even Ron Jaworski to a degree. McNabb was great at it, more often than not. That Aaron Rodgers guy up in Green Bay excels at it.

Lastly, I want a QB who breathes fire. Sometimes Foles reminds me of Brizer's nephew Brarchie, who tries so hard to please his uncle and runs it strictly by the playbook. But no matter how often Brarchie succeeds in detailing Uncle Bri's reliable Volvo in just the right way, there will be the inevitable missed spot or the Windex streak left on the windshield.

Of course apologies will abound from nephew Brarchie. And Uncle Bri will give him the business about the need for perking up and sticking with the script…

But just once, I'd like to see Brarchie stand up to Uncle Bri and declare—"No, I'm calling THIS play because I'm running this offense…and I believe this is the better playcall…"

Johnny Unitas used to do that all the time to Weeb Ewbank.

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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