Nick Foles is now the unquestioned starter for the Philadelphia Eagles one-year after being locked in a QB battle to determine the starter for last year’s team with Michael Vick. He took all the first team reps thus far this off-season and he has complete support from his teammates and Eagles brass. Now, one of the only questions we are unable to answer is whether he can repeat one of the most impressive performances in NFL history in this upcoming year. Your average Eagles fans may be willing to put money on the idea.
REAL Eagles fans wouldn’t be so sure.
With Desean Jackson now a member of the division rival Washington Redskins, Foles just lost the most explosive target the Eagles have had in a wide receiver since TO. The numbers alone don’t look good when you lose over 1,200 yards of offense in one player and lets not forget, the very sure-handed, Jason Avant, who is now catching passes from Cam Newton in Carolina. Still, there are some interesting developing options that Foles will now have to work with this upcoming year. Cooper, Ertz, Celek, and McCoy will all return a year better than last year. Add, the dynamic, Darren Sproles, 2nd-round draft pick Jordan Matthews, 3rd-round draft pick Josh Huff, and the healthy return of Jeremy Maclin to the fray and Foles chances of having another productive year improve drastically. Yet, the question of Foles return to dominance have a couple bumps in the road that should be visited.
- Who will the Eagles play this year? If we are going to predict whether Foles will have a repeat performance or not, some good information to have would be the Eagles 2014 opponents and the truth is that the Eagles play 6 of last year’s top-ten defenses in terms of total yards and 5 of those teams were top-ten in terms of pass defense. That makes for a tough encore for Foles in 2014. The Eagles will also have to depend on Foles to make plays a little more than usual because they also play 4 of the top ten rushing defenses, which may result in a tougher time for Lesean McCoy.
- How will the league adjust? We have seen many one year wonders in the NFL last for exactly one year because the defenses get tape on QB’s and eat them alive the following year. Getting tape on young QB’s is what defensive coordinators love to do as they pick apart exactly what’s right and wrong with everything they do. Chip Kelly is going to have to get innovative in order to take the inevitable burden off of Foles’ shoulders. Returning all 5 of last year’s starting offensive linemen will definitely help here.
- Who will step-up as the go-to-guy? It’s early to ask this question but there is a good amount of enthusiasm that should be thrown into this answer. Zach Ertz will most likely see more opportunities to get on the field with his progress in his blocking technique and Cooper will have the chance to prove that last year was no fluke for him, along with proving that the money he got as a result was not a waste. It’s also not unfathomable to believe that Maclin or one of the Eagles impressive rookies could take a step toward greatness this year in Chip Kelly’s system.
The Eagles don’t NEED Foles to repeat last year’s 27-2 performance. Having that kind of production is most unlikely. They need another year of consistent growth and QB play from their young starter. Foles has only started a total of 16 games and his learning curve has a ways to go before we can vault him into another historic season. One thing is definitely for certain though, Foles has his work cut out for him. He will not repeat last year’s historic performance but every year doesn’t need to be filled with record breaking stats to make the playoffs. Consistently playing at a high level will definitely be tough but Foles has all the tools necessary to prove his doubters wrong and the only way to shutdown the doubters is to win games. The rest will take care of itself.
[Photo: Daniel Wallace/Tampa Bay Times/MCT]