Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Foles vs. Luck: Two points of view
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- You won’t win a lot of friends by declaring that Nick Foles is a better quarterback than Andrew Luck at this point in their careers, and that’s fine. But it’s nearly as unrealistic to pronounce Luck the clear superior of the two 2012 draftees.
Former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo recently rated all of the 2013 NFL quarterbacks for The Sideline View. Using his own nine-point scale, Angelo classified seven starting quarterbacks as “upper class” and “elite” players.
The seven, in order of Angelo’s rankings: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Luck.
Angelo had five quarterbacks rated as having “played at a high level. Was one of the reasons -- but not the reason – for his team’s success … not elite.”
Those five, in order, were Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith and Foles. Angelo had a rating of 8.0 on Foles, while he had Manning as a 9.0 and Luck at 8.5.
(Michael Vick’s camp will not appreciate his spot among quarterbacks who, Angelo said, do “not have the mental makeup or physical talent to perform as a consistent starter.”)
Luck, of course, was the first pick of the 2012 draft. Foles was the 88th pick. So there was a consensus of opinion among NFL personnel men that Luck was the better quarterback. Of course, Seattle’s Wilson was the 75th player taken, and he has already checked the “Super Bowl champion” box on his resume.
Pro Football Focus, meanwhile, looked at every pass thrown in the NFL last season and charted the accuracy percentage of every quarterback. This isn’t the same as completion percentage, as it factors in dropped passes, deliberate throwaways and throws on which the quarterback was hit.
Foles finished 10th in the league with an accuracy percentage of 74.2 percent. Foles was seventh among NFL quarterbacks when under pressure, with an accuracy percentage of 68.1 percent.
Considering that Chip Kelly listed “repetitive accuracy” among the primary attributes he looked for in a quarterback, those are fairly important numbers. They support Foles’ NFL-best 119.2 passer rating, as well.
Luck had the eighth-worst accuracy percentage when he was under pressure, edging out Geno Smith of the Jets at 56 percent. Considering that Luck’s mobility is often cited as one of his strengths, that’s a surprisingly low number.
Again, this is not a case for Foles as the better of the two quarterbacks. It’s just a look at two very different takes, one based on a GM’s evaluations and one based strictly on numbers.
Luck and Foles will go into 2014 as the starters for their teams. They will have plenty of chances to make their own case for which is the superior player. Two seasons into their careers, opinions are stronger than facts.