Nick Foles gets no respect in the NFL, no respect at all. Last season he won a starting job on the Eagles, had the best quarterback rating in the league, led a four-win team to the playoffs and then drove his offense to the go-ahead touchdown late in the biggest game of his life. Despite all of that, his peers ranked him the 70th best player last week.
What is it going to take for the NFL -- and even for some Eagles fans -- to realize that Nick Foles is a special player on the cusp of an extraordinary career? Even Chip Kelly seemed conflicted about Foles until the coach traded away the right to draft Johnny Manziel last month. Well, now that Kelly is finally on board, it’s time for everyone else to join him.
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Foles is a victim of his soft-spoken personality. In other words, he’s boring. In Johnny Unitas’ era, boring was fine. So, too, when Joe Montana played. Now, however, boring is not a good idea at all. That’s why Manziel is such a big story, but NFL fans have never heard of Blake Bortles, the Central Florida quarterback drafted 19 picks ahead of Johnny Football.
For Eagles fans, though, there is nothing boring about 27 touchdown passes and only two turnovers. There is nothing boring about all of the precision throws he made, all of the smart decisions that led to key first downs or all of the big plays that resulted in those 10 wins last season.
What made Foles’ ranking of No. 70 so galling is that the person rated seven places higher than him in the poll of NFL players is DeSean Jackson, a diva so annoying that he was released after the season. In other words, Foles is ranked below a player who had no value on his own team.
It’s reasonable to assume that his peers would feel differently about Foles if the Eagles defense didn’t collapse in the final drive of the playoff game against the Saints. How many people even remember what happened before New Orleans drove for the winning field goal? With the season on the line, Foles marched the Eagles 77 yards in 9 plays to give them a 24-23 lead.
Malcolm Jenkins, now an Eagle, was a Saints safety on that series, and he told me last week he would have ranked Foles a lot higher than 70th. Jenkins said there is no substitute for efficiency, and Foles is one of the most accurate passers and best decision-makers in the game. And there’s one other thing Jenkins said that was surprising.
“I was deep on a play yesterday, and he went 60 yards right over me,” Jenkins said during the OTAs. “He’s got a big arm.”
Words of respect like those have been slow in coming so far, but they will come. Because Nick Foles is going to be a huge star in the NFL. You read it here first.