For some reason, there is always a part in comedy movies where some conflict arises between characters, and the comedy, at least partially, takes a back seat to silly drama. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have done it at least twice, in Step Brothers and Talladega Nights. Seth Rogan and James Franco had a brief breakup in Pineapple Express. Bridesmaids, Hitch, and countless others contain this trope of comedies as well. In many of them, you almost cringe your way through it, knowing full well that the protagonist will make amends and the movie will end with them back together again, but these plot points can still be kind of a drag if they’re not done well. Last season, when Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL, this familiar feeling came back to me. This was in hindsight of course, because in real time I was arguing with myself over whether or not Nick Foles could give us any chance at postseason success. If you’ll remember what happened when Foles stepped in as the starter, it pretty much involved just about everyone counting us out because they didn’t think Foles had it. That same feeling though, the one I get during dumb parts of comedies and watching Philadelphia sports, came over me while watching Nick Foles and the Eagles this preseason. He was bad, it wasn’t fun, and I wanted to skip to the part where the team was healthy and he was good.
The Eagles’ offense failed to score a touchdown while Foles was under center in the brief appearances he had this preseason. That fact alone can tell you that the performance with Foles at quarterback so far hasn’t been great. Unfortunately, it’s not the only indicator. In the two games he appeared in, Foles completed a decent 16 of 26 passes for 171 yards, but he also threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, and was caught with his knee down in the Eagles’ endzone for a safety (those latter three all happened in the Browns game).
Like those segments of comedies that I dread, it made me wish I could fast forward and skip past it. There will be a time this season when the starting quarterback, two of the starting wide receivers, the two top running backs, and our hall of fame left tackle will take the field with the rest of the first team. It only makes sense that the absence of those individuals is a key part of why the Eagles looked as poorly as they did, particularly last Thursday night. With that being said, the play of Nick Foles was still a cause of concern despite the missing personnel.
Cause for Concern?
Doug Pederson announced, even after a classic rant about not announcing, that Nick Foles will be the starter on Thursday night against Atlanta. Should we be worried? There is a trait inside of me that comes with being a Philly sports fan that screams “YES!” to that question. To be frank though, I’d have been worried anyway. The Super Bowl hangover historically has been a “thing,” even for teams whose starting quarterback’s knees were intact.
There’s another trait of Philly fandom inside of me however, and that one tells me to “trust the process” and to also not have knee-jerk hot takes about how we should have sold high on the guy who won the city a Super Bowl while our starter was out. Sure, Nick Foles has had some rough points in his career, and his most recent performance against Cleveland was not inspiring of confidence, but let’s look at what the man has done under Doug Pederson and Andy Reid as an Eagle.
We pause this article to insert a brief rant: Speaking of referring to Foles as a man, I have noticed while listening to sports radio that a lot of people like to refer to Foles as “kid.” “This kid showed us something last season,” for example. That man is 29 years old. He is darn near 30 and in no way a kid. Thank you for your time. End rant.
Back to the issue at hand. Foles has started in 27 regular season games as an Eagle and has started in four playoff games. He holds a 17-10 record in the regular season and 3-1 record in the postseason. He has a 61.1% completion percentage while throwing for 7,290 yards in those 27 games with 51 touchdowns and just 19 interceptions. In the playoffs, he takes it up to another level. The completion percentage jumps to 71.9%. He’s thrown eight touchdowns to only one interception, and his yards per game jumps from 208 in the regular season to 298 in the playoffs. If you thought his 71.9% completion percentage in the playoffs was staggeringly high, it’s because it is. Foles is 2nd all time in postseason completion percentage, behind only Matt Moore, who I should add has only played in one playoff game.
Numbers don’t lie, and Nick Foles has only ever played well for the Eagles. He’s had some bad games for sure, and he might even have a bad one on Thursday. But should we be worried? When taking a step back and looking at it logically, the answer is a simple “nah.” Home field advantage, first real game at the Linc since the 38-7 thrashing of the Vikings, Super Bowl MVP under center, and a hell of a coach on the sideline. A sorry preseason only means we’re getting the football equivalent of the Catalina Wine Mixer (follow up to my comedy movie analogy…keep up folks). 21-17 Birds.