Eagles

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

usa-nick-foles.jpg
USA Today Images

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!” 

More on the Eagles

Film shows Derek Barnett came up big vs. Colts

barnett1a.png
NFL

Film shows Derek Barnett came up big vs. Colts

Despite the addition of Michael Bennett this offseason, the Eagles have made Derek Barnett a starter in his second NFL season. 

Now, of course, that doesn’t matter as much with this defense and the rotation they implement, but it’s still saying something that Barnett — not Bennett or Chris Long — is starting games. 

Barnett had an OK rookie season, picking up five sacks in limited playing time, but the team is expecting a nice jump from him in Year 2. He had a pretty quiet summer, and aside from a few big plays in the run game, a pretty quiet first two games. 

But he did have a really nice game against the Colts on Sunday. And after the game, head coach Doug Pederson had some effusive praise for Barnett.

“It just seems like somewhere in the game, 96 is going to show up on make a play,” Pederson said after the game. “And he did that several times today.”

Then Pederson doubled down the next morning on WIP: “He’s all over the field. He’s a relentless player right now.” 

All of that is high praise from a head coach. So with that high praise in mind, I took a closer look at Barnett’s game as a pass rusher on Sunday. Doug’s right. He made some plays. 

We’ll start with what was really the play of the game, which means we’re jumping ahead to the fourth quarter for this one. It’s 4th-and-3 and the Colts are four yards away from the end zone and a lead with just 1:19 on the clock. The Eagles need a play. 

Barnett is at RDE and he’s going against Colts LT Le’Raven Clark. 

This is why the Eagles drafted Barnett: his bend. Barnett gets a nice jump off the ball and quickly bends around Clark, who was a little slow out of his stance. 

Clark probably should have held Barnett, mauled him on this play. That was his only chance to save a sack. Barnett uses that bend to get around Clark and get a straight shot on Luck. Luck desperately wants to deliver the football, but where? There’s nothing open. 

Now, Barnett has to do a better job of getting Luck to the ground here. I know the rules protecting the QB are in the back of everyone’s mind, but Luck is a big QB and if he’s able to stay on his feet and buy some time, it could have been deadly. 

Still, though, a big play from Barnett when the Eagles desperately needed one. This is his first full sack of the season. 

Now, that we have that full sack out of the way, here’s a play where he picked up a half, along with Fletcher Cox. 

It’s 2nd-and-11 just after the two-minute warning in the second quarter. Barnett just got back in the game and is at RDE. 

I like this play from Barnett because he gets off the ball quick and shows that he’s going to use his bend to try to get around Clark. Clark has to honor that; he’s expecting it. But instead of using finesse, Barnett is about to use a power move. 

Because Clark wasn’t expecting a bullrush, he doesn’t have great leverage and leaves too much space between him and Barnett. And Barnett is now about to put him on roller skates. 

Cox gets there at the same time and he goes through two blockers to do it. But this isn’t a review of Cox, who we already know is really damn good. This was a nice play from Barnett and a good sign that he was willing to switch up his pass rush here to catch the tackle off balance. 

We’re now in the third quarter and it’s 2nd-and-8. On the play before this, Barnett tackled the running back for a short, two-yard gain. It was a nice play, but I want to focus on Barnett’s game as a pass rusher. He’s been really solid against the run so far this year, but they drafted him to hit quarterbacks. 

Barnett is at RDE again and this time he has Haloti Ngata next to him. Ngata has been quiet through three games, but at times, does demand double teams. That’s going to happen here. The LG and LT double Ngata, which leaves Barnett a 1-on-1 vs. the TE. He better beat him. 

 

No games here. Barnett just tries to overpower the tight end and pushes him back. Honestly, it would be ideal for Barnett to overpower him even more, but this will do. 

Barnett helps collapse the pocket just quickly enough. Luck can’t step into this throw and tosses a floater out to T.Y. Hilton that should have been intercepted by Rodney McLeod. 

This next play is in the third quarter, right after Carson Wentz threw an interception to give the Colts the ball in the red zone. The Eagles’ red zone defense was huge on Sunday and this is one play that really helped. 


The jump Barnett got on this play was incredible. I’ve watched it about a thousand times and still can’t tell if he left a split-second too early. I don’t think he did. 

But because of that jump, combined with his unique bend, Clark has no choice but to hold him and drag him down to the ground. 

This play resulted in a 10-yard penalty and eventually the Colts settled for a 31-yard field goal to take a three-point lead. In a four-point win, this play helped keep four Colts points off the board. 

---

Barnett is just 22 and he isn’t yet a dominant pass rusher. It’s too early to tell if he’ll ever get there. And playing against left tackles in this league isn’t easy. But we finally saw some really good things from Barnett against the Colts. 

It’s just one game, but it’s something really solid to build on for the rest of the season. 

More on the Eagles

Record-setting tight ends and more in this week's Roob Stats

usa-goedert-barnett-smallwood.jpg
USA Today Images

Record-setting tight ends and more in this week's Roob Stats

Eagles tight ends making history, unprecedented defense, a record Andrew Luck probably doesn't want and a remarkable Eagles running game stat! 

It's all in this week's edition of Roob Stats!  

Record-setting tight ends

Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on Sunday became the first pair of Eagles tight ends with 70 or more yards in the same game since Dec. 5, 1965, when Ray Poage [5-142] and Pete Retzlaff [6-118] did it in a 21-19 loss to the Cowboys at Franklin Field.

Goedert makes history

Goedert became the first Eagles rookie tight end with 70 yards in a game since L.J. Smith had 97 yards against the Falcons in a 23-16 Eagle win at the Georgia Dome in 2003 and the first with 70 yards and a touchdown since Keith Jackson did it twice in 1988.

Ertz climbing fast

Zach Ertz now has 342 receptions in 78 career games. Only six tight ends in NFL history had more in their first 78 career games:  

421 … Kellen Winslow Sr.

377 … Jimmy Graham

374 … Rob Gronkowski

372 … Kellen Winslow Jr.

345 … Jason Witten

344 … Antonio Gates

342 … Zach Ertz

Long drive, it’s outta here 

The Eagles’ game-winning drive Sunday lasted 11 minutes, 17 seconds. It’s the Eagles’ longest drive in at least 20 years, or as far back as the Pro Football Reference drive finder goes. Their previous longest drive on record lasted 10:26 against the 49ers in that 42-3 win at the Linc in 2005. It ended with a six -yard TD pass from Donovan McNabb to Greg Lewis.

Home cooking

The Eagles have held seven straight home opponents to 16 or fewer points. That’s the third-longest streak in franchise history. They held eight straight to 16 or fewer in 1942 and 1943 as the Steagles and also eight straight over the 1977 and 1978 seasons.  

Third-down defense

The Colts went into Sunday not only with the NFL’s No. 1 third-down offense at 60.6 percent but with the best in the NFL after two games since 2011. But the Eagles held them to 16.7 percent on 2-for-12, lowest by any Eagles opponent since the Giants in 2014 [2-for-14, 14.3%].

You’re not scoring here 

In their last nine home games, the Eagles' defense has defended 105 drives and allowed just 8 touchdowns. Only three of those touchdowns have come in the second half ... and only one of those with the starters on the field.

Dak Prescott making history 

Here are Dak Prescott’s stats in his last five games: 

34 att., 181 yds.

30 att., 179 yds.

29 att., 170 yds.

25 att., 160 yds.

34 att., 168 yds.

Only four quarterbacks in NFL history have had longer streaks of games with at least 25 attempts and fewer than 200 yards: John Brodie, Rick Mirer, Steve Walsh and Ken O’Brien.

Rushing dominance

Sunday’s game was the first in which the Eagles rushed for 150 yards as a team without any individual reaching 60 yards since a 17-3 win over the Cowboys at the Vet in 1990, when they ran for 178:

54 … Randall Cunningham

37 … Anthony Toney

34 … Heath Sherman

27 … Keith Byars

23 … Thomas Sanders

3 … Jim McMahon

Out of Luck

Andrew Luck’s 164 passing yards against the Eagles are the second-fewest in NFL history by a quarterback completing at least 25 passes. Joe Montana was 25 for 36 for 163 yards for the 49ers against the Bills in 1980. Luck’s 164 yards are also the fewest ever vs. the Eagles by a QB throwing 40 passes. Previous low was Jay Cutler’s 171 in the Eagles' 24-20 win at Soldier Field in 2009.

More on the Eagles