Thursday, December 27, 2012
Breaking down Nick Foles' last game
By Dan Graziano
Sheil Kapadia's all-22 film analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles is always a worthy read, and this week he takes a specific look at quarterback Nick Foles' performance in Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins.
This will turn out to have been Foles' final game of the season, as he has since been placed on injured reserve with a broken hand, so it's the last film anyone will get to see of Foles before the Eagles and whoever their new coach is going to be sit down and discuss the extent to which he represents their short-term and long-term future at their most important position.
Sheils offers some good and some bad, as you'd expect. The good includes the touchdown throw to Jeremy Maclin on which Foles looked off the deep safety and fit the ball into a tight window. The bad includes the play that resulted in his fumble -- a play on which Foles admitted he'd have been wiser to throw the ball at his running back's feet.
Basically, though, the analysis fits into what I think we've all seen from Foles so far. He does some things instinctively well -- most notably, move in the pocket to create functional space from which to throw. But he has footwork issues, mechanical issues and decision-making issues that all need work before he's a reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Those things can be coached and improved upon, but with the Eagles about to fire a coaching staff known for developing quarterbacks, it's impossible to know for sure whether Foles can expect to get the kind of teaching he needs in order to develop the way he needs to develop. The new coach may simply not like him, and could immediately start devoting attention and resources to the acquisition and development of other options.
Should Foles get a chance and the proper coaching, however, I think he's the kind of guy about whom the Eagles could feel decent using next season as their starter. The key would be to manage expectations. Foles would still be a work in progress in 2013, and the Eagles and their fans would have to be okay with that -- specifically, with the idea that he's going to make mistakes and have bad games as part of his learning process. If you're hoping for the Eagles to snap right back into contention in 2013, you're hoping Foles makes some big leaps in just a few months. But if you're willing to accept the coaching and roster overhaul that's likely about to happen in Philadelphia, and with it the idea that these kinds of projects take time, then patience with Foles isn't a bad way to go.