From Foles to first
It was just over two months ago when the quarterback situation in Philadelphia seemed as if it couldn’t get any worse. Michael Vick reverted to his injury prone self, Nick Foles was out with a concussion and Matt Barkley showed he wasn’t exactly ready to lead an NFL team. The result was a 3-5 team that scored a season low three points against the Cowboys.
Today, on the cusp of the first playoff game in Philadelphia in more than a year, the Eagles have perhaps the best quarterback situation in the entire NFL. Their starter, Foles, has already made an impact on record books and has a football behind glass in Canton.
Foles leads the NFL with a 119.2 qb rating, a top five rating in the history of the league. He also has the best touchdown to interception ratio ever, 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Among his single game accolades is a seven touchdown game against the Raiders, tying the NFL record.
“I don’t really concern myself with that,” Foles told reporters before beating the Cowboys last Sunday. “The numbers don’t mean anything…”
Foles began the season as Micheal Vick’s backup, but an injury gave the Arizona product his second opportunity to lead the Eagles after starting a few games last year. As a result, the Bird finished the final eight games of the season at 7-1.
“He’s having a heck of a year and it’s a credit to him,” Kelly told reporters last week. “That’s one thing about him. Each week he keeps improving and he does little subtle things where you’re like, ‘Yeah, he’s got it.’
Foles also has better weapons than any quarterback in history, according to the stats. This year’s Eagles are the first squad ever to have a quarterback with a rating over 100, a 1,600 yard rusher, LeSean McCoy, and a 1,300 yard receiver, DeSean Jackson.
He also has productive tight ends in Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, slot options in Jason Avant and Riley Cooper, and a head coach known for offensive prowess.
It’s the perfect storm for Foles, who will face high school alum and fellow NFL record holder Drew Brees in what could be a slugfest Saturday night.
Eagles head coach Kelly knows, however, that all those numbers are behind them. The playoffs are a second season, and it is all about smart practice and being the better prepared team.
“We are concerned with how do we prepare to play a really good Saints team,” the coach told reporters, “and that’s all we can really be concerned with.”