By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “Damn it, will you look at that?”
That’s what I thought to myself when Nick Foles made a throw, across his body, on a line to hit a receiver (I forget which one, he hit all of them) for a reception. It was the sort of throw I figured he couldn’t make because of a lack of arm strength. He made the throw.
It was after that throw that I realized I didn’t have much left to hold on to in my quest to prove that Nick Foles wasn’t quite as good as everyone was making him out to be. In spite of the seven touchdown passes, in spite of the records he was setting, in spite of it all, I figured things would all start evening out. They haven’t. If anything, he’s gotten better.
The game he played against the Bears was, as far as I can see, the best game he’s played all year. He was laser-sharp with his throws, and as accurate as you can hope out of a quarterback whose main attributes are not mobility or arm strength. His decision making, if possible, was even better than it had been. Instead of throwing a pass he maybe shouldn’t have, he deliberately tossed more balls away.
He throws passes with remarkable touch, and stands tall and delivers the ball he’s assured to be clobbered by whatever 6’3″, 265 pound wall of muscle is coming at him full speed. He seems confident and unshakeable (save for the previous Dallas game, which appears to be an anomaly).
I don’t know what Foles’ ceiling is, and I’m not sure any of us do. I would still bet against him being Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but there is no shame in that. That’s why those guys are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. If the criticism I have is “ah well, he’s not Rodgers or Brady,” I’m not standing on particularly solid ground in regard to criticism.
The truth is you don’t have to be Rodgers or Brady or Manning to win a Super Bowl. In fact, if Chip Kelly is your head coach, you’re probably better off not wanting to run the offense, like Manning does. You’re probably better off trusting in the system that has brought both Kelly, and every quarterback he’s ever had, success at every level.
I do give Kelly a large portion of credit for the success of this offense, and for Foles’ success individually. It is no coincidence that the Eagles have statistically the top rusher and quarterback in the league, that DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper are having career years, and that Brent Celek is having something of a renaissance. But just like it isn’t to say LeSean McCoy doesn’t deserve credit because Kelly is the mastermind, it isn’t to say Foles doesn’t deserve it either.
I do not regret taking a long time to make a decision. I try to pride myself on finding the answer within the grey, and taking enough time to find it. People seemed more quick to compare him to Joe Montana than I did to say “wait just a minute here.” “Give the kid a chance” goes both ways, if you want to make a real decision. He’s got tests ahead of him, but it would be hard to believe he won’t find a way to pass most of them.
Nick Foles is good. There, I said it. Now let’s beat the Cowboys.