Yes, Nick Foles had a good rookie season

In the last few years, a handful of rookie QBs have done extraordinary things, and the bar for comparative purposes has been raised. In 2011, Cam Newton took the league by storm, breaking records both for rookie passing yards (4,051) and rookie rushing yards (706). He and Andy Dalton became the first rookie QB duo to make it to the Pro Bowl.

In 2012, Newton’s passing record was broken by Andrew Luck (4,374), and his rushing record was broken by QB Robert Griffin III (815). Luck, RG3, and Russell Wilson became the first rookie QB trio to make it to the Pro Bowl.

In 7 combined seasons in the NFL, Newton, Dalton, Luck, Griffin III, and Wilson have a combined 5 playoff appearances. That is simply incredible. If you add in guys like Redskins rookie backup Kirk Cousins, who came on in relief of RG3 in two late season clutch performances, and Colin Kaepernick, who wasn’t a rookie, but got his first real taste of action last season and absolutely lit it up, the list of impressive young QBs only grows.

In his rookie campaign last season, Nick Foles went 1-5 as a starter, and backed up a legendary figure in Michael Vick, who is one of the flashiest players in the history of the NFL. In terms of excitement level (although not necessarily making an “arm strength” analogy here), Foles backing up Vick is the equivalent of Jamie Moyer coming on in relief of Mitch Williams. And so, when we look at Foles’ rookie season last year, it’s very easy to dismiss it as “meh.”

However, for a rookie, Foles was a lot more effective last season than you might think. For example, in the Super Bowl era, 20 QBs were drafted with the 1st overall pick. If you inserted Nick Foles into that group, he had the 2nd highest passer rating his rookie season:

Continued at the Allentown Morning Call…

26 Comments

  1. The Birch of the Shadow…

    I believe there might be considered a several duplicates, but an exceedingly handy record! I have tweeted this. Lots of thanks for sharing!…

  2. I think we have too small a sample size, not enough data to be reliable. Let’s not make the same mistake in drawing conclusions that so many of us made with Kevin Kolb. That being said, I think Foles has shown some promise.

  3. Dan in Philly says:

    That kid Bradshaw looks like a bust to me

  4. AJ says:

    Jimmy what you fail to mention is how bad the competition Foles’ faced was. Half of the games he started were against historically bad secondaries (Bucs and WAS twice) Not to mention his coach has one of the best reputations for making sub par QBs put up good stats (Kolb, Feeley, Garcia) He threw a high volume of low difficulty passes. That reflects in his passer rating, but it far from captures the entire picture, especially since it doesn’t account for fumbles and the near picks or late thrown balls that happened to work out.

    This point can be best expressed by looking at Luck. Luck took the worst team in the league a year ago to the playoffs. You could argue Foles had a worse team because the Eagles finished 4-12 but couldn’t you argue Foles was a big part of why they finished 4-12. Luck had a terrible defense and not much help on offense, outside of Wayne. He even had O linemen that Eagles got rid of.

    I’m not trying to say he didn’t do ok, but I think trying to say he did well based on his passer rating and leaving out so many details is skewing the picture and why so many fans are buying into the hype.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      I don’t agree with most of those points, hence their non-inclusion. Foles did not attempt a high percentage of low difficulty throws, I disagree that he was a big part of the 4-12 season, the Skins did not have a “historically bad secondary,” etc.

      1. A Fine Messi says:

        no, just the worst secondary in the NFL last year in terms of yards given up.

        1. Bucs and Saints gave up more passing yards. Still, 3rd worst passing yards allowed is not good.

          They were 18th in opposing QB rating. They were 20th in YPA. Those numbers aren’t awful. That is a faaaaaar cry from “historically bad.”

          And they were 3rd in the NFL in INTs.

      2. AJ says:

        So because they were only very bad and not historically bad, Foles didn’t benefit from playing them twice? Also, the fact that he finished 4th worst in yards per attempt, despite having far less attempts than QBs who started the entire season, does suggest that he threw a high volume of short completions. Not to mention you ignored my Reid point. And how is any quarterback that plays significant time not a part of any team going 4-12? The defense wasn’t doing him any favors, but he only threw 6 TDs in the 7 games that he played. If Vick, Romo, RG3, or Eli did that, then they would absolutely be held accountable for not doing enough. How do you give Foles a pass? I’m not trying to be an ass. I am really asking.

        1. So because they were only very bad and not historically bad, Foles didn’t benefit from playing them twice?

          See above. Also, Foles’ first start against the Skins was the only game Brandon Meriweather played, and he was awesome in that game.

          Also, the fact that he finished 4th worst in yards per attempt, despite having far less attempts than QBs who started the entire season, does suggest that he threw a high volume of short completions.

          A few months ago, I timed every Vick snap an every Foles snap. Every single one. Here:

          http://blogs.mcall.com/eagles/2013/02/putting-the-stopwatch-on-michael-vicks-and-nick-foles-release-times-in-2012.html

          Foles held the ball on average for 2.7 seconds before releasing. There was one game where the Eagles really tried to help Foles by throwing quick hitters. That was against the Redskins in his first start, and it only lasted for a quarter or two. Otherwise, they ran their traditional slow developing patterns like they normally did. A low YPA does not automatically mean a the staff asked their QB to be Checkdown Charlie.

          You ignored my Reid point.

          Minor point, and overblown.

          And how is any quarterback that plays significant time not a part of any team going 4-12?

          It is if you make generalizations without context. Opposing QBs had a passer rating of 138.6. Pretty sure I can forgive Nick for not matching that.

          If Vick, Romo, RG3, or Eli (threw 6 TDs in 7 games), then they would absolutely be held accountable for not doing enough. How do you give Foles a pass?

          I just don’t agree with that, and frankly, I don’t think “TD passes” are a very indicative stat of how a guy is playing. Against Carolina, they get 63 yards through the air on a drive, the RB punches in a short run for a score, and the QB “isn’t doing enough?” The backup center drops on TD on a tackle eligible play against the Bengals and the QB “isn’t doing enough?” Evan Moore drops a TD pass that would have beaten the Redskins, and he “isn’t doing enough?” I don’t buy that.

          I think the point that you’re missing here is that I’m not making some claim that Foles was awesome last year. I’m merely saying that if your expectations are reasonable on what a good rookie season should look like, then Nick Foles absolutely had a good rookie season.

          1. WeGotLinemen says:

            Generally, I agree with you, in that Foles was actually better than I expected. He’s got a decent arm and I thought he showed some pretty good mobility within the pocket.

            For the most part of games he looked pretty good, but in both games against the Skins he also made to truly awful throws. In the first game he was a big reason why the Eagles got pounded.

            In the second game he should have won you the game. He missed a wide open receiver in the end-zone. Sure, he did a lot of good stuff to get into position to win that game but, come crunch time, he missed what looked to be a relatively easy pass by an absolute mile.

            To me, in the two games against the Redskins, he looked like a guy with some physical potential but also very much a project and one that requires a lot of work.
            Given how relatively poor our secondary and pass rush was last year, that assessment could be a bit generous. Maybe the rest of his games where better. Maybe Haslett has his number or, more likely, they just happened to be bad days for Foles but those games didn’t suggest he was having a good season.

          2. AJ says:

            First off I disagree that the fact he played for Reid is a minor point, We have seen 4 QBs have success under Reid that did not translate anywhere else, granted McNabb was given a raw deal in WAS and didn’t do himself any favors in MIN. However, that point can not be quantified. So we will just have differencing opinions.

            Foles accounted for half of his TDs and over 40% of his yards in just the two games vs Bucs and WAS (2nd time). His stats were absolutely helped by facing such terrible competition.

            “Foles held the ball on average for 2.7 seconds before releasing. There was one game where the Eagles really tried to help Foles by throwing quick hitters. That was against the Redskins in his first start, and it only lasted for a quarter or two. Otherwise, they ran their traditional slow developing patterns like they normally did. A low YPA does not automatically mean a the staff asked their QB to be Checkdown Charlie.”

            I never said anything about the coaches running a different offense, which the OC admitted they did. I said he threw a high volume of low difficulty passes. This includes his decisions to throw checkdowns. Throwing check downs excessively is not a good thing, but it does help one’s passer rating, which is why I brought it up.

            We use TDs as a marker for every QB around the league. Why should Foles be an exception. In CAR he had 119 yards and no TDs. That game would’ve been won on the legs of legs of BB but was lost ironically due to his hands. Foles was no more than a game manager. Since when has that term ever been used to positively describe a QB. That incompletion to Moore never happens if Foles competes the pass to Maclin, and he should thank his lucky stars Shady was able to make magic happen on that short completion that seemingly had no chance of going anywhere to get him that close so that people can use Moore dropping that pass as an excuse. In the Bengals game, Foles starts the first of a billion TOs. In my opinion it was the turning point of the game. Yes, that is not doing enough.

          3. HogHunter says:

            Also, Foles’ first start against the Skins was the only game Brandon Meriweather played, and he was awesome in (half of) that game.

    2. Turd.Ferguson says:

      Luck was also coming into the league as the best quarterback prospect in the last 25 years. Nick Foles was a 4th round project. That’s a serious apples and oranges comparison. If Foles is even in the same ballpark as Luck, even in their rookie year, he’s having at the very least a ‘good rookie season’.

      1. AJ says:

        I did not start the comparison. The comparison was made when Jimmy brought up how Foles stacked up to former number 1 overall picked QBs, of which Luck falls in that category. I do not think in any way the two should be compared. Luck took a team full of misfits and rookies to the playoffs, despite it being the worst team the year prior, having a defensive scheme switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and missing his HC most of the year. My comparison was drawn to show how absurd it would be to even mention Foles in the same sentence as Luck, and to show that if Foles really did perform then he would have been able to overcome some of the teams shortcomings. Instead, Foles was par for the Andy Reid course and put up decent stats without producing any wins.

  5. [...] thread is about Nick Foles and trying to understand who/what he is. Jimmy Bama put together a post on him and how his rookie season compares to some other players. Jimmy’s conclusion is in his title: “Yes, Nick Foles Had a Good Rookie [...]

  6. TylerD says:

    I thought Foles looked pretty good for a rookie last year, Is he Chip’s guy or holding the spot till Barkley get’s up to speed. Vick just has to many flaws to his game to really count on him at this point.

    1. Benj says:

      I think this is going to be really interesting to watch play-out. It seems Barkley was a “QB of the future” pick, whether or not he was fairly labeled that by us and the media. Foles almost seems to be a stop-gap, but I think there’s a very good chance that he shows that he might be more than that this year. And just assuming that does happens, and Nick turns out to be more than Foles Gold this year, next year is going to be a riot when Matt Barkley throws his first perfect pass in training camp.

      And yes, this is all predicated on Vick being a non-factor.

  7. Miss You Jerome says:

    The part that everyone fails to acknowledge is that he was playing behind arguabaly the worst offensive line in the league, in a scenario where teams were pinning their ears back and rushing the passer all game long. He was doing so with virtually no running game, and without his biggest playmaker on offense. All of this as a rookie. He played one of those games with a broken throwing hand. I still don’t know what to expect of him because he was not RG3, however, I’d say he passed many of the eyeball tests for a rookie QB. The kid showed all the intangibles: toughness, ability to deal with adversity, QB IQ, leadership, and competitive fire. His arm strength, in my mind, is underrated. He does not have Vick’s arm but neither does Tom Brady. He can make all the throws necessary in the NFL. In fact, his intermediate throws have plenty of zip. His deep throws looked ducky but I hear he hit Jackson, in stride, on a 62 yard throw in minicamp. If he really has improved in that aspect of his game, even more reason to believe he can be effective. He can’t beat a turtle in a footrace, that much is true. Again, neither can Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Not saying he will be either of those guys but I also agree with Jimmy that is reasonable to have a tempered level of optimism regarding his future as a NFL QB. The key is tempered. This year will be interesting to watch.

  8. mandmeisterx says:

    I’d say it was worse than the season Christian Ponder had this past year, who was universally panned as horrible. I realize his INT’s per attempt were low, but he only had 6 TD’s to go along with that. Additionally, he fumbled 8 times in 6.5 games. I understand he’s a rookie and he has room to improve, but I think your green colored glasses are causing you to view him more favorably than is fair. It will be interesting to see how things go this year for him.

    1. Imp says:

      Christian Ponder had a better rookie season between his lower completion%, more interceptions, lower QB rating, lower yards per game, equal YPA, and more TD passes than Nick Foles?

      1. Mandmeisterx says:

        “this past year”

        Must have just skimmed past that part, huh?

      1. mandmeisterx says:

        Your main argument against Ponder was that he didn’t get the ball down the field. It’s not like the Eagles were getting the ball down the field last year, either. I’d be interested to see what Foles stats on 20+ yard attempts look like, but I’m not privy to that info.

        1. alcatraz0109 says:

          Foles: 10/28, 291 yards, (10.4 YPA), 4 TD, 2 INT

          FWIW PFW gave him a positive grade overall on 20+ yard passes.

          1. Mandmeisterx says:

            Good to know.

  9. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    Nick’s your buddy. Nick’s the kind of guy you can trust, the kind of guy you can drink a beer with, the kind of guy who doesn’t mind if you puke in his car, Nick!

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