Cataldi: Will the real Nick Foles please stand up?

Nick Foles, Eagles quarterback
Nick Foles tied an NFL record by tossing seven touchdowns Sunday in Oakland. But, can he play at a consistently high level?


Foles: Stud or dud? Oakland or Dallas?


Nick Foles is an amazing young quarterback, a gunslinger capable of throwing seven touchdown passes in a single game. Nick Foles is a horrible young quarterback, a noodle arm unable to perform under pressure. Take your pick.

After the most improbable twist in his already implausible NFL career, Foles is either the future of the Eagles, or a foolish pipe dream. He is either one of the most accurate throwers in the team’s history, or a turnover machine. He is either a leader or a choker.

There has never been a quarterback like Nick Foles on the Eagles, for good and/or for bad. His performance in Sunday’s astonishing 49-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders merely added to his mystery. In that game, Foles threw an NFL-record seven touchdown passes in just over 40 minutes of action, accumulating 406 passing yards and a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 in the process.

Two weeks earlier, he managed only 80 passing yards in a pitiful 17-3 loss to Dallas. It was a performance so hideous, Foles lost most of the city of Philadelphia that day. In fact, he was accused of the worst crime imaginable for a professional athlete. A majority of the fans thought he had choked.

How could someone who played so well in Oakland have been so awful against the Cowboys? That was the question I wanted answered Monday when coach Chip Kelly called into my WIP radio show. Unfortunately, that’s still the question I’m trying to answer today. The best Kelly could come up with is that everybody has a bad day once in a while.

If the Dallas game really was just a bad day, then the Eagles might have the quarterback of their future right here already. They might not have to fantasize about Marcus Mariota of Oregon or Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville. If Kelly’s high-speed offense can put up 49 points in 40 minutes against a top-10 NFL defense with Foles in charge, why look elsewhere?

Ah, if it were only that easy. The quandary that Kelly now faces is far more complex than one bad game or a few errant passes. Can the coach trust a young player who failed so spectacularly in his biggest test? Can Kelly build a future on the shaky legs of someone who cringed when the pressure got too intense? When is one bad game just that, and when it is something far more ominous?

Kelly has tempered his comments about Foles from the day he took over as Eagles coach, creating the impression that he isn’t eager to tie his fortunes to a quarterback he inherited from Andy Reid. When confronted with that perception, Kelly said it was “1,000 percent wrong.”

Maybe so. Maybe, after a performance that dazzled the fans and stunned the Raiders, Foles has finally provided a reason for the coach and the city to trust him again. Maybe he really is the future of the Eagles after all.

But remember, this is Nick Foles, a young quarterback who deals only in extremes. Oakland or Dallas? A stud or a dud? Take your pick.


 Brown’s unassuming style winning over city


In a city with all rookie head coaches and a rookie manager, the early leader among them is an unlikely one — Brett Brown.

The new Sixers coach didn’t arrive with the fanfare of Chip Kelly, or the pedigree of Ryne Sandberg, or the familiarity of Craig Berube, but he has forced Philadelphia to pay attention to what he is doing with our basketball team. Brown accomplished this feat with simple talk, an unassuming style and an amazing three straight wins to start the season.

Brown waited 25 years for a chance to coach an NBA team, and he came here knowing that the Sixers are way too young and not nearly talented enough to harbor any serious aspirations this season. Yet, he has already started developing young stars like Michael Carter-Williams while overseeing team basketball. These kids are fun to watch.

I know, I know. All I have done the past year is mock the carpetbagger owners and the PR ineptitude of the Sixers, and there is every reason to believe my assault will resume soon. This isn’t a good team and they are, at best, unconventional in the way they relate to Philadelphia. With the notable exception of their impressive new coach.

Brown is off to a very good start in all aspects of his challenging job. He prepares his team well, he answers questions honestly, and he has a down-to-earth approach that is connecting with the fans. In a city of rookie bosses, the other guys could definitely learn something from Brett Brown right now.


‘Fire Holmgren’ chants should inspire ‘Fire Snider’ chants


Something happened at the Wells Fargo Center last week that was long overdue. The patient and understanding fans of the Flyers finally snapped. They rocked the building with chants to “Fire Holmgren!” in a rare public display of their anger toward a franchise that has failed to win a championship for 38 years. Hallelujah.

Friday night’s 7-0 humiliation against the Washington Capitals (minus Alex Ovechkin, no less) was the most dramatic example yet of the decay of this team under the stubborn leadership of chairman Ed Snider and his shameless bobo, GM Paul Holmgren.

Through all the years of falling short, Flyers fans have looked the other way, savoring their distant memories of the mid-1970s while paying more and more money for less and less satisfaction. Their acceptance of the status quo in a franchise desperate for change is part of the reason for the stagnancy.

Well, the embarrassment of that loss Friday night and the stupid behavior that accompanied it finally caused the kind of revolt that even Snider cannot ignore. Since denying that the team needed a fresh perspective last month, Snider has appointed a former goon, Craig Berube, as coach, traded for a goon, Steve Downie, and then watched his team goon it up when they were getting crushed last Friday.

And now even the most forgiving fans can forgive no more. Those fans were right to clamor for the departure of Paul Holmgren; he is doing a horrendous job as GM. And the next chant should be directed at the real problem with the Flyers, Snider himself. He isn’t worthy of the blind support he has received — and, thankfully, he isn’t receiving any more.



Idle thoughts from Cataldi


» Ray Emery’s unprovoked assault on the opposing goalie, Washington’s Braden Holtby, was a disgrace to the sport and to our city. What the Flyers goaltender thought he was proving by pounding on a blameless opponent is unimaginable. It was a new low for Emery and the Flyers.

» Phils GM Ruben Amaro is targeting some high-priced outfielders in the free-agent market this offseason. In other words, he’s going to risk more millions on aging players well past their peak years, just as he has done every other recent winter. Hey, this strategy has worked so well, why change it?

» What a shame that Rich Dubee lost the job as pitching coach in Baltimore to Dave Wallace, who hadn’t coached in the big leagues for six years. It couldn’t be that Dubee, the obnoxious ex-Phillies aide, interviewed poorly, could it? No way. Not Rich.

» Allen Iverson has said goodbye more times than any Philadelphia superstar, but you can’t deny he’s very good at it. Last week’s emotional news conference was typical of him — compelling, entertaining and surprising. No one has come close to replacing him since he left, on the court or off it.

» Former Eagles president Joe Banner proudly unveiled a new wall in the Cleveland training facility filled with inspirational phrases. Somehow, however, he managed to misquote Mother Teresa and Thomas Jefferson, among others. Banner twisting the truth? Say it ain’t so.


Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…


Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…


Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…


U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.


TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…


See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…


Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.


Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.


John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…


Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid


Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…


We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…


Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.


Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.