Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

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Forget backups, Nick Foles better than half of NFL starters

Nick Foles has been thrust into duty as the starting QB of the Eagles. But it wasn't that long ago that this region fell in love with the Arizona product under similar circumstances. In 2013, Foles stepped in for an injured Michael Vick and set the NFL ablaze, going 8-2 as a starter, tying an NFL record with seven TDs in a game, and setting a new league mark for passer rating by a second-year QB (119.2).

When the Eagles signed Foles back in March, it was billed as a solid insurance policy in case Carson Wentz was injured. Now that they need to cash in that insurance policy, let's take a look at where Foles stands among current starting NFL quarterbacks.

I put the 31 other starters into four groups: definitely better than Foles, a bit better than Foles, as good as/maybe better than Foles, and no stinking way they're better than Foles. I am making this determination largely based on how they are playing right now, not necessarily what they've done prior to today.

Definitely Better Than Nick Foles — the "Duh" section (7)
Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Philip Rivers
Ben Roethlisberger
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Ryan
Russell Wilson

Better Than Nick Foles, But Not By A Ton (8)
Derek Carr — Still not 100 percent after a back injury.

Kirk Cousins — Way better than any Eagles fan will admit. Here's hoping he signs a lifetime deal somewhere else. Like Venus.

Jared Goff — Pretty impressive Sunday vs. the Eagles. Star on the rise.

Case Keenum — So hot right now.

Marcus Mariota — Shoutout to Chip Kelly

Cam Newton — Maybe the last true dual-threat QB out there. Damn near indestructible.

Dak Prescott — Another tough admission, but when kept upright, he's pretty darn good.

Matthew Stafford — If this guy ever gets a real team around him ... nah, forget it. He makes so much money, he'll never get a team around him.

As Good/Maybe Better Than Foles (3)
Joe Flacco — Hasn't been the same since Anquan Boldin dragged him to a ring five years ago

Alex Smith — Started off white-hot, really lousy of late

Jameis Winston — World of talent around him, still lost to Brett Hundley two weeks ago

Worse Than Nick Foles (13)
Eli Manning — Please don't tell me about his rings. Dude lost his starting gig to Geno Smith. Even if it was the wrong decision, the fact that there was even a conversation about this tells you everything you need to know.

Mitch Trubisky — Starting to figure it out, but seven weeks ago he played an entire game and threw seven passes. Seven.

Blaine Gabbert — Nope.

Jimmy Garoppolo — Not yet.

Jay Cutler — (Giggles)

Tyrod Taylor/Nathan Peterman/Joe Webb — And yet, the Bills would make the playoffs if they began today. Yikes.

TJ Yates — Nnnnope

Bryce Petty — Will make first NFL start Sunday vs. Saints. Look out.

Deshone Kizer — Poor guy.

Andy Dalton — Used to fade in January. Starting earlier every year.

Jacoby Brissett — Never had a chance.

Blake Bortles — Throws 30-plus passes most games. Two 300-yard games this season.

Trevor Siemian — Woof.

So by my math, Nick Foles is about a middle-of-the-road starting NFL QB. What you think that says about Foles or today's NFL is up to you.

Week 10 made things tougher on top-seeded Eagles

Week 10 made things tougher on top-seeded Eagles

The Eagles got to sit back this week, get healthy and watch Week 10 of the NFL season play out. What happened was a best-case scenario and a handful of not-so-great things.
 
NFC East
From a divisional standpoint, Sunday could not have gone better. The Cowboys, playing without suspended RB Ezekiel Elliott and injured left tackle Tyron Smith, were blown out by the Falcons, 27-7. The Redskins and Giants also lost, so the Eagles now hold a three-game lead in the division with seven games remaining.
 
A win next week over the Cowboys would just about close the door on the division race for the Eagles. Beating Dallas would give the Eagles a magic number of three with six games left. That means any combination of three Eagles wins and/or Cowboys (or Redskins) losses would clinch the NFC East for the Birds.
 
That's the good news.
 
Conference contenders
While the NFC East came up snake-eyes, the teams immediately behind the Eagles in the race for the conference's top seed all won their games in Week 10. In fact, the teams ranked 2 through 9 in the current NFC standings all posted victories this week. That includes the Vikings, Saints, and Rams, all of whom are now 7-2, just a game behind your conference leaders.


 
So while this past weekend was another step toward NFC East supremacy, it also virtually eliminated the Eagles' room for error in their pursuit of the  No. 1 seed in the conference. They're still in the driver's seat with seven games to go, though.

Let's enjoy the ride.

Baseball Hall of Fame should expedite Roy Halladay's induction

Baseball Hall of Fame should expedite Roy Halladay's induction

Roy Halladay is a Hall of Fame pitcher. I don't think that can be disputed. But I think Halladay should get special dispensation to become a 2018 Hall of Fame pitcher.
 
As of right now, Halladay is not yet eligible for induction. The current rules for eligibility were set in 1954. Players must be retired for five full seasons to be eligible for induction. If a player passes away before becoming eligible, he must be dead for six months before appearing on a ballot. 

Only once since 1954 was an exception made: Roberto Clemente was inducted in 1973, after dying in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972.
 
When the balloting takes place later this month, I believe that exception should be made again, for Halladay.
 
Halladay's death earlier this week hit the Philadelphia sports community hard, myself included. As someone who remembers watching Steve Carlton pitch at the Vet as a child, I was excited when the Phillies traded for Doc before the 2010 season, and bought a partial season ticket plan for the first time. Every time he pitched was appointment viewing, and he delivered, night after night.
 
Although Phillies fans saw only two seasons of Halladay's excellence on the mound, his prime lasted a decade — the 2002 through 2011 seasons. Here are Halladay's ranks among all MLB pitchers during that span:
 
• 170 wins (1st)

• .694 win percentage (1st)

• 63 complete games (1st - by 30!)

• 18 shutouts (1st)

• 4.57 K/BB ratio (1st)

• 2.97 ERA (2nd)

• 148 ERA+ (2nd) — this means his ERA over that span was 48 percent better than league-average

• 2194⅔ innings (2nd)
 
He also made eight All-Star teams, won two Cy Young Awards, and he finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting seven times in that 10-year span.
 
From 1995-2017, Halladay has more complete games that any pitcher (67). Here's the thing: Halladay only pitched from 1998 through 2013.
 
Being the best pitcher in baseball for a season is a feat. Being the best pitcher in baseball for an entire decade is something that is truly special. We all remember how great Tim Lincecum was at the start of his career. He also won two Cy Youngs. He didn't even make it to 10 full seasons in the big leagues before a degenerative hip injury derailed his career.
 
The end of Roy Halladay's baseball career, and his life, occurred far, far too soon. Voting him into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this month would not be.