Monday, November 11, 2013

I Still Have No Idea If Nick Foles, Or The Eagles, Are Actually Good

Um, Ah, Yup
So here we are, Eagle Nation... 5-5, in contention for a division title despite an 0-4 home record. The younger and cheaper QB has now thrown for 16 TDs against no picks, with back to back games in the 150 range in rating, and he's turned the formerly struggling WR2 into one of the hottest assets in the NFL. Back to back road wins are nothing to sneeze at, and QB Nick Foles keeps having halves where the offense appears to be borderline unstoppable. Dallas, tied for the lead in the division, got utterly slaughtered on national television. We're well on our way to a wildly entertaining sprint to the playoffs, right?

Well, yes, sure...and if you were to tell me that Foles is, in fact, not very good, and that the team is going to wind up 5-11, I'm not going to be completely surprised. Disappointed, perhaps, but not surprised.

Today's win in Green Bay was downright silly. Getting out to a 10-0 lead, running for good yards consistently with Foles doing just enough to make the read-option viable... and yet, giving up significant yards to a third-string QB off the street seems like a whiff. It's hard to see how a team that exposes its defense to really unnecessary effort (i.e., the end of the first half) is going to be better later in the year, and yet, here they are -- better in the later of the year. Winning the turnover battle and coming up with monster plays in the passing game -- 211 net yards doesn't seem like that much, but it's tasty on just 18 freaking throws, and the team ran two running plays for ever pass -- is a real good way to win any game.

And yet, well... Foles continues to author the least convincing touchdown passes in NFL history. DJ's ball today was an underthrow that should have been picked, but the Packer secondary went for Stoogery to give the Cal product a room-service bounce. Riley Cooper's first ball is a dying quail that's underthrown again, but since the WR was the only man watching the ball, he was the only man to adapt his route and get to the pigskin. Cooper's second ball is just a coverage breakdown where the ball just needs to stay in bounds. And unlike last week's game in Oakland, where Foles did serious work to get the team in position for the easy scores, this week saw the team go 4 for 11 on third down and fail to sustain drives.

So why is everyone getting open now? The run game. Foles went to play action on 14 of his 18 throws, and they ran the ball 37 times -- so on 51 of 55 snaps, the defense had to stay tight in the box to deal with RB LeSean McCoy, who was only 25 for 155 today. Keep doing that, and you'll keep Foles in the comfy chair that he's in right now.

Next week, they get DC at home, and the road club has extra rest after the Terrible Night loss to Minnesota. DC is 3-6, only Jacksonville has given up more points. Dallas will be on a bye, and the 3-6 Giants will host the reeling Packers. Then, they get the NFL's latest bye week, while Dallas goes to New York. With six games left to go in the season, their destiny is in their hands, and they suddenly look like a handful.

Now, if they can only show up for a home game...

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