Putting Foles' Success in Context

Last week, Greg Cosell of NFL Films told Tim McManus that film study showed how Nick Foles was making progress week by week:

“I think there has been a little bit of progression,” said Cosell. “Early on, like a lot of young quarterbacks, he was a primary read guy. He was making predetermined throws, what I like to call, ‘I am going to throw that ball out of the huddle’ where the defense almost becomes irrelevant. I thought this week [against Dallas] Foles had much better pocket command and was much more decisive with his reads and throws and I think the game plan helped.”

With Foles leading a come-from-behind victory Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that trend seems to be continuing. While I may have been annoyed that the Eagles won the game, squandering a chance to get a better draft pick, Foles' play has been a bright spot. He hasn't looked perfect -- far from it. But he's looked like a quarterback that belongs in the NFL, an improvement from his first game or two. On Sunday he drove the Eagles down for a touchdown to win the game on the final play, a play he called. (More important: he proved that even as one of the slowest football players of all time, by my estimate, he can scramble for a TD). That's a major boost.

Still, let's step back and put his season so far in context. Here's how he's doing against his peers:

Foles' first handful of games have been a mixed bag compared to his fellow rookies. He has completed about the same percentage of passes, but at a lower yard rate. He has thrown fewer interceptions, but also has fewer touchdown passes. Steady but not explosive jives with what we can see on the field. He hasn't looked like Luck or RGIII.

I did isolate just the performance over the last two weeks, though, to capture Foles' improvement. It's obviously a small sample size, but that line looks much more promising. His touchdown percentage is up, as is his yards per attempt -- without sacrificing completion percentage. The goose egg in the interception column is misleading; defenders have dropped at least two easy picks. Still, there's a clear uptick in performance that puts him in line with or slightly better than other rookies.

If Foles can keep this up for the remainder of the season, it will be a strong case for giving him a shot at the full job in 2013.

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