Everything but a bounce-back game for Nick Foles

Everything but a bounce-back game for Nick Foles

OK, this didn't help.

If you were already worried about Nick Foles after the Raiders game, now you're twice as worried. 

If you weren't? Now you are.

Because this was not the bounce-back game Foles hoped for after a terrible performance against the Raiders.

As bad as Foles was last week against the Raiders, this was worse (see Roob's observations).

"As an offense, we expect to execute better," Foles said after the Eagles' first home shutout in 12 years. "This wasn’t acceptable, but we also know what we’re capable of and how talented we can be because of how we play together.

"So we’re just going to keep working on that. Keep our confidence high. There’s no reason not to be confident."

Foles, who replaced injured Carson Wentz a month ago, played four series before giving way to Nate Sudfeld Sunday in a game that had no bearing on the NFC playoff bracket. 

The Eagles, with No. 1 seed locked up, lost 6-0 to the Cowboys in the lowest-scoring game in franchise history.

In four series, Foles was 4 for 11 for 39 yards with one inexplicable interception (see grades).

Since throwing four touchdowns against the Giants, he's 23 for 49 for 202 yards with one TD and two INTs against the Raiders and Cowboys.

His passer rating of 9.3 Sunday was lowest by an Eagles quarterback throwing 10 or more passes since Donovan McNabb had a 0.4 rating against the Dolphins in 2007. It's the fourth-lowest in the last 40 years.

"Am I concerned? I'm not concerned," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I’ve still got a lot of confidence in our offense. Again, it's not one person or one guy. There is enough to go around.

"It's tough in this situation where you know you're kind of maybe only going to get a quarter, maybe a couple series, and you're coming out. But I’ve still got a lot of confidence in the guys."

Foles hasn't completed a pass longer than 32 yards in four games since replacing Wentz. Since throwing a TD pass to Jay Ajayi early in the Oakland game, Foles has engineered 16 straight drives generating no touchdowns and just six points.

Foles, who has a history of both very good and very bad games, said his confidence is fine going into the Eagles' playoff opener in two weeks.

"I’ve played a lot of football," he said. "I know who I am as a player and I also know that throughout my career and my life, I haven’t always played great games. I’ve been in games where execution hasn’t gone like we wanted it to. And the key is you remain confident because you know who you are. You know that you’re going to prepare every day to do everything to the best of your ability.

"It’s not like we go out there and say, ‘Hey we’re not going to play to the best of our ability today.’ We went out there and played as hard as we could. We didn’t execute, but that’s stuff that we can fix because I know every single guy in that offensive huddle and on this team gives everything they have.

"So that’s (why) I’m confident. Because I’m confident in myself and I’m confident in my teammates because I know what we’re capable of doing and that’s great things."

The Eagles did start out OK. 

Foles hit Alshon Jeffery for eight yards and Zach Ertz for 15 yards into Dallas territory. But Torrey Smith dropped a 3rd-and-7 that would have been a big play, and a 4th-down pass fell incomplete.

They only netted six yards on the last three drives with Foles in the game.

"We started off fine today," Smith said. "I dropped a ball, and honestly, if I caught it I probably would have housed it. That messed our momentum up and then we only played a short time after that and we kept getting penalties and shooting ourselves in the foot.

"I’m confident that if we stayed in the game we would have gotten it back on track, but we have two weeks of practice and I’m very confident we’ll be ready to roll."

This is the first time in his career Foles has had a passer rating below 60 in consecutive games.

In fact, he's the first Eagles quarterback to achieve that dubious distinction since McNabb in 2008 against the Bengals and Ravens.

And that Ravens performance got him benched temporarily for Kevin Kolb, although he did bounce back and lead the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game.

As for Foles, he insists his confidence is as high as ever, despite the worst two-game stretch of his career.

“I feel great," he said. "Honestly I feel great. I know what I can do.

"Sports are crazy at times. You don’t always play 100 percent of what you want to do, but you keeping trucking along. You keep working and I feel great.

"I feel really confident. I know the guys are confident in me. I’ve played with a lot of these guys. I’ve played with a lot of these coaches and I’m excited to get to work, get ready for the playoffs and keep this thing rolling."

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity


Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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