Eagles

Figuring out which Nick Foles will show up on Thursday night

Figuring out which Nick Foles will show up on Thursday night

We know Nick Foles will start for the Eagles on Thursday night against the Falcons. 

We just don’t know which one. 

In his wacky, unbelievable, hard-to-figure-out seven-year career, that’s always been the big question with Foles. He can show up and put a team on his back in the Super Bowl and win a shootout against the best quarterback of all time. Or he can make mistake after mistake and have an absolute clunker of a game. 

With Foles, it always seems like it’s all or nothing. 

On Tuesday, he was asked about when during a course of a game he knows which version of himself has shown up. 

Does it happen before the game? During it? Does he ever know? 

“I think everyone tries to figure out sports. Sports, you never know,” Foles said. “You go out there and play, you give everything you have. I think there’s plenty of games where there are middle ground that I’ve played. 

“It’s just that now my middle ground is if I throw one touchdown, no interceptions, it’s a bad game. I’ve set that bar high. I know that because I expect that for myself. What is a middle ground game? We’re going to be analyzed as players. I know as a player, you can be hard on yourself, but you have to learn from your mistakes.”

Well, let’s take a closer look at Foles’ career. He’s played in 51 NFL games in which he’s thrown a pass (including four in the playoffs). In those 51 games, he’s had a passer rating of 100 or higher in 22 of them, including the four playoffs games. But he’s also had a passer rating of lower than 80 in 17 of them. 

Take a look: 

So that establishes that there isn’t a huge middle ground with Foles, but it doesn’t let us know which version will show up on Thursday night. 

Foles certainly didn’t do a lot to instill confidence in him during this preseason. He was picked off and strip-sacked and the only times he got into a rhythm, the offense coughed the ball up. He failed to put up any points with the first-team offense this summer. Not great. 

Foles had an interesting take on that clunker of a preseason. He basically said it was good to go through those mistakes when the games didn’t count. Foles thinks he’s a better player after making those mistakes and then watching the film to correct them. 

“When I look back at the preseason, I thought it was a successful one from that standpoint, with the emotions of the game,” he said. 

OK, fine. But that still doesn’t mean we know which guy will show up on Thursday. 

Such a big part of Foles’ game is rhythm. He endlessly says how important it is to get a “feel” for the game. According to him, the more he plays, the better he is. Perhaps that’s why we saw him stink it up late in the regular season last year before going on a tear in the postseason. 

But what does that say about the start of this season? Does last year’s run carry over? It didn’t seem like it in the preseason. And up until this week of practice, he wasn’t even getting all the first-team reps because he was splitting them with Carson Wentz. 

Foles compared it to his days as a basketball player. 

“The thing about basketball, you have to get a rhythm, you have to feel the dribble, you have to feel your shot, you have to play the game,” Foles said. “If I go play pickup basketball right now, I’m not going to be very good because I haven’t played in a long time. But if I play for a couple weeks, I’ll be back to who I used to be. I’ll be able to shoot everywhere, I’ll probably be able to dunk again a little bit. It’s the same with football. That’s how I am as an athlete.”

We don’t really know if this week in practice — the Eagles had a really competitive 1s vs. 1s period on Sunday — will be enough to get Foles in a rhythm. Even if he did get him into a rhythm, we don’t know if practice rhythm carries over into games. And we’re not sure if he got all of those mistakes out of his system in the preseason. 

We don’t know if Foles will be dunking or throwing up bricks on Thursday night at the Linc. 

We’ll find out pretty quickly though. 

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Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Off the field issues aside, Ezekiel Elliott is clearly one of the top running backs in the NFL. The problem for the Cowboys is that he wants to get paid like it.

According to PFT’s Mike Florio, Elliott has “privately said that he will hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract.”

Since the Cowboys report to training camp on July 25, this could be a problem very soon.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! reporter Charles Robinson says Elliott hasn’t made a decision about a holdout yet.

But it’s clearly on Zeke’s mind. And he clearly wants a contract extension.

For a team that still has to pay Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper — both more pressing since they’ll be free agents after the 2019 season — this could be tricky. It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys giving Zeke a big contract before figuring out Dak’s new deal.

Elliott, 23, might have a problem staying out of trouble off the field, but he creates a whole lot of trouble for opposing teams on it. There’s really no denying his talent. In his first three NFL seasons, he has rushed for over 4,000 yards and has over 5,000 in all-purpose yards. Just 11 players in NFL history have more all-purpose yards in their first three seasons.

And because of that success and because he knows the Cowboys will rely heavily on him this season and next, Elliott is trying to maximize his value. He’s trying to get some coin in his pocket now before that value potentially plummets because usage or injury. That part makes sense.

The problem for Elliott is that the Cowboys probably don’t feel highly motivated to pay him just yet. With his fourth contract year in 2019 and his fifth-year option year in 2020, the Cowboys hold his rights for the next two seasons at cap numbers of $7.9 million and $9 million over the next two seasons. Based on his rookie contract AVY, Elliott is the 10th highest-paid running back in football. That’s a steal and based on recent history, no team should be rushing to pay top-tier money for a running back.

Elliott won’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season, so I definitely get why he’s trying to secure his financial future before the Boys run him into the ground over the next two seasons. He doesn’t seem to have a ton of leverage because of how far he is from free agency — he’s not going to sit for two years — but we saw how his suspension sort of wrecked the Cowboys’ entire 2017 season. Now, the Cowboys are coming off a division title and have serious championship hopes this year; if they’re going to be a great team, they’re going to need Zeke to do it.

The Eagles don’t play the Cowboys until Oct. 20 and it would be pretty shocking if Elliott isn’t playing by then. The Birds obviously don’t have a running back as good as Elliott, but they have cost controlled options and they already figured out how to pay their franchise quarterback.

The messier this gets for Zeke and the Cowboys, the better it is for the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East.

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Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

Eagles receive top Madden 20 team rating despite Carson Wentz snub

It’s that time of year again. 

Today, the good people of Madden released their full rankings for Madden 20, available on Aug. 2. Here are some notable items from how they see they see the Eagles looking this year.

The Best Team in the Game

That’s right, Madden believes in the Eagles. With an overall rating of 89, the Philadelphia Eagles are the highest rated team in the game. They edged out the Dallas Cowboys (88), New Orleans Saints (87), New England Patriots (87) and Green Bay Packers (87).

The lowest ranked teams in the game are the Miami Dolphins (74), followed by the New York Giants (77).

Carson Wentz Snubbed in Madden 20

Carson Wentz will begin the season as an 82 overall, dipping three points from where he was to start the year last season. The rating places Wentz tied for 13th at his position behind guys like Baker Mayfield (83) and Jared Goff (83) and tied with Deshaun Watson (82). After an incredible season last year, Patrick Mahomes (97) is the top-rated QB, followed by the ageless wonder, Tom Brady (96).

The Top Bird

It should come as no surprise that Fletcher Cox is the highest ranked Eagles player at an overall ranking of 96. His ranking makes him the 15th highest ranked player in the NFL and the top defensive tackle (Madden considers Aaron Donald an end). His combination of speed, acceleration and strength make him an unstoppable force in both the video game and in real life.

These Birds Can Fly

One of the more important aspects in Madden often times is speed and the Eagles have 13 players with a rating of 90 or higher in that category. Five players, Ronald Darby, Shelton Gibson, Josh Hawkins, DeSean Jackson and Avonte Maddox, are tied for the highest speed rating on the team at 93.

According to Madden, the fastest player in the NFL is Tyreek hill, with 99 speed and 99 acceleration, the only player with a 99 in either category.

Top of their Class

There’s a number of Eagles players that are ranked very highly at their position. 

Fletcher Cox: 96, 1st among DT

Jason Kelce: 94, tied for 1st among C

Zach Ertz: 93, 2nd among TE

Malcolm Jenkins: 92, 2nd among SS

Brandon Brooks: 90, 4th among RG

Brandon Graham: 89, 3rd among RE

Lane Johnson: 89, 2nd among RT

Lowest Rated Eagle

Sorry Rick Lovato, for the second straight year you’re the lowest rated Eagles player. Actually, Lovato’s ranking lowered from a 43 in 2019 to a 41 in 2020. Lovato, the long snapper, certainly didn’t do anything wrong from a snapping standpoint last season, but he’s listed as a TE in the game and they probably want to make him as unusable at that position as possible. 

Other notable Eagles that received poor ratings are Clayton Thorson (56), Nate Sudfeld (57) and Jordan Mailata (58). 

Click here to see the Madden ranking for the entire Eagles roster.

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