It’s impossible to rank or rate Nick Foles after Super Bowl performance

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It’s impossible to rank or rate Nick Foles after Super Bowl performance

We finally saw the new Madden 19 player ratings Tuesday. And … no surprise … there are plenty of reasons for the Eagles to feel like underdogs again, even after winning the Super Bowl. 

Enrico hit on this already (see story), mentioning that Carson Wentz is the 10th-rated QB in the league with an 86 rating, while Nick Foles got an 80. 

“The game developers must not have watched the Super Bowl,” Enrico quipped.

Perhaps not. 

But this just highlights a problem we’ve run into with Foles since his incredible performance in the playoffs and Super Bowl LII. It’s impossible to rate or rank him. 

Madden clearly didn’t know how to do it. In fact, there are 21 quarterbacks with a higher rating in the new game than Foles, including Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor and rookie Baker Mayfield, who were all 81s. Gross. 

That’s right, two Browns quarterbacks — including a rookie — have higher ratings than Foles. And Foles is just one point higher than Sam Bradford. After winning the Super Bowl MVP. 

How is Foles’ awareness rating just an 87? The man called the Philly Special!

Overall, it seems crazy that Foles would be that low. But it’s as tough to figure out where to put him on the list of quarterbacks in today’s game as it is to determine his legacy. 

Because he’s an absolute legend in Philly. If Eagles fans did the Madden ratings, Foles would have had a smooth 100 only because they couldn’t give out a 120/100. You know the deal; he’ll never buy a beer in Philly again. 

On the flip side, Foles has started just four regular-season games over the past two years and that comes after his disastrous 2015 in St. Louis. He obviously had a tremendous three-game playoff run, but does it completely erase all of the last three seasons? In Philly, the answer in an unequivocal yes. Around the country, it seems it’s going to take a little more time. It seems like on a national scale, folks are going to want to see Foles duplicate his playoff success as a full-time starter. And some idiots apparently think Foles isn't up to the pressure of being a starter again. 

That's just silly. 

But this is all just figuring out how to rank Foles right now. Figuring out his legacy is even trickier. 

Earlier this offseason, I began discussing with Reuben Frank whether or not Foles is a top-10 Eagle of all-time. That discussion blew up. Some folks think it’s a no-brainer; of course he is, he won a Super Bowl and there’s also 27-2. But others understandably tried to look at the entire body of work. It’s not an easy decision; although most of you probably have an opinion. 

I’m not sure that debate will ever get any easier. Because if all goes to plan, Foles’ career as an Eagle will pretty much be over. Wentz will take over and lead the franchise, while Foles has probably already done what he’s going to do in an Eagles uniform. Perhaps, if Wentz wins multiple Super Bowls, it’ll devalue Foles’ performance in Super Bowl LII. But that seems unlikely; that first one will always be the most special. 

It all just leaves us to our own opinions on Foles, how he ranks right now and all-time, and it’s impossible to separate emotion. So feel free to see that 80 next to Foles' name in a video game and scoff, “Have some respect for the Super Bowl MVP!” 

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How will Alshon Jeffery benefit from addition of DeSean Jackson?

How will Alshon Jeffery benefit from addition of DeSean Jackson?

With training camp beginning Thursday, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks continue their countdown of the 10 most important Eagles for the 2019 season.

Alshon Jeffery comes in at No. 7.

In his third season with the Eagles, how will Jeffery benefit from the addition of DeSean Jackson?

“He’s going to get a lot of single coverage and single coverage with him, even when he’s covered, he’s not covered," Brooks says.

Gunn and Brooks discuss more in the video above.

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Darren Sproles isn't done just yet, will return to Eagles on one-year deal

Darren Sproles isn't done just yet, will return to Eagles on one-year deal

The Eagles just got a little bit older and a lot more exciting.

The Eagles on Friday evening re-signed 36-year-old running back Darren Sproles, who was mulling retirement when last year ended but apparently wants to play one more year (at least).

"My heart is in Philly," Sproles said on the team's web site. "That's where I want to end my career. That team, the city is like a family. I really want to go out on top. That's what I really want to do. I can't wait to get back with the guys."

Sproles, who became an unrestricted free agent when last year ended, spent the last five years with the Eagles and made the Pro Bowl in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before being limited by injuries to just nine games over the last two seasons.

Although he ranks sixth in NFL history in all-purpose yards, Sproles was limited in 2017 to just three games and 22 touches and missed the Super Bowl run thanks to a broken arm and torn ACL he suffered against the Giants and last year was limited to just six games and 44 touches because of a nagging hamstring injury.

He did return last year for the postseason but averaged just 1.6 yards on 16 carries with 5-for-35 receiving and one punt return for minus-one yard in the games against the Bears and Saints.

In his first three seasons with the Eagles, Sproles netted 1,084 rushing yards, 147 catches for 1,202 more yards and 14 offensive touchdowns along with four punt return TDs.

Because the Eagles are deep at running back, it’s likely Sproles’ main role will be as a punt returner.

He led the NFL with a 13.0 average in 2014 and his 12.1 average since the start of 2014 is highest in the NFL among returners with at least 50 returns.

The Eagles also re-signed DeSean Jackson this past offseason, and Jackson — like Sproles — is a former NFL punt return leader (with the Eagles in 2009) and also has four career punt return TDs. But he’s not expected to be their full-time punt returner.

Only seven players in NFL history have four career punt return touchdowns and 8,300 career yards from scrimmage, and the Eagles now have two of them in Jackson and Sproles. (The others are Joey Galloway, Antonio Brown, Reggie Bush, Henry Ellard and Steve Smith).

Sproles ranks sixth in NFL history with 19,520 all-purpose yards. He trails only Jerry Rice (23,546), former Eagle Brian Mitchell (23,330), Walter Payton (21,803), Emmitt Smith (21,564) and Tim Brown (19,682). All are Hall of Famers except Mitchell (who should be).

Sproles has 3,486 rushing yards, a 4.9 average, 547 catches, 4,816 receiving yards, a 9.6 average with seven touchdowns on punt returns and a 25.2 average with two touchdowns on kick returns.

Of the 48 players in NFL history with 3,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards, Sproles’ 4.9 career rushing average is highest.

His nine combined punt and kick returns are tied for sixth-most in NFL history behind Devin Hester (19), Mitchell (13), Dante Hall (12), Eric Metcalf (12), Josh Cribbs (11).

Sproles enters a crowded backfield that also includes rookie second-round pick Miles Sanders, former Bear Jordan Howard, who was acquired in a trade, Super Bowl hero Corey Clement, 2018 Eagles leading rusher Josh Adams, former Saint Boston Scott and 2016 fifth-round pick Wendell Smallwood.

The Eagles are scheduled to report for training camp at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday with the first practice following on Thursday.

Sproles originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2005. He was with the Chargers for six years and the Saints for three before signing with the Eagles in 2014. 

If Sproles scores a touchdown this year, he’ll become the oldest player in franchise history to do so.

The oldest Eagle ever to score a touchdown is Irving Fryar, who was 36 years and 76 days old when he scored against the Cards on Dec. 13, 1998.

Sproles will be 36 years and 100 days when the Eagles open the regular season against the Redskins on Sept. 8.

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