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Eagles in good hands with Nick Foles

Eagles in good hands with Nick Foles

Carson Wentz's season is indeed finished, yet the Eagles aren’t exactly slumming it at quarterback with Nick Foles.

Foles’ first tenure with the Eagles admittedly hasn’t aged well. The last time he started a game for the club in 2014, he was leading the NFL in giveaways nine weeks into the season. Traded the following offseason, Foles’ hasty demise with the Rams appeared to vindicate his critics.

Okay, so maybe Foles isn’t exactly franchise quarterback material. But the Eagles would be hard-pressed to find a more accomplished backup.

Foles has led a team to the playoffs. He’s been to a Pro Bowl. He has a winning record as a starter.

How many other backup quarterbacks around the league can check off all three of those boxes?

Just one. No, not Colin Kaepernick. Only Teddy Bridgewater for the Vikings.

Foles is no hobo. He was a third-round draft pick who needed to outperform Michael Vick to earn the Eagles’ starting job. The statuesque Foles was so much better, it no longer mattered Vick’s legendary mobility could be a true asset in former coach Chip Kelly’s read-option offense.

The 2013 season turned out to be a history-making campaign for Foles. He tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game, and set another with a 27-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the year — the latter mark having since been broken by future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

Despite losing to the Saints in the first round of the first round of the playoffs in 2013, Foles played well in that game, completing 23 of 33 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns. The last time the offense was on the field, the Eagles held the lead, only to lose on a field goal as the clock ran empty.

Even assuming that series of events will wind up as the high point in his career, we learned a lot about Foles. We know he has some talent. We know he can perform at a high level when given a great supporting cast. And we know he can play well in January.

As for the last three-and-a-half years, those probably haven’t been as bad as you think.

Foles came back to earth in 2014, as did the Eagles. Yet, turnovers aside, the team was better with him than without, going 6-2 in Foles’ starts until he was sidelined by a broken collarbone. Before the injury, he was on pace to throw for over 4,300 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Things continued to go south for Foles with the Rams in 2015, although the franchise hadn't finished with more than seven wins or better than 21st on offense since ’06 prior to this season. The issues in St. Louis ran a lot deeper than who was under center.

Foles spent 2016 rehabilitating his image with the Chiefs, completing 36 of 55 passes for 410 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in three games and one start. If nothing else, the 28-year-old proved he can be a fine backup under the right circumstances.

Which brings us into 2017 with the Eagles. Does this squad present “the right circumstances” for Foles to flourish?

The Eagles have a stable of running backs, multiple weapons in the passing attack, a decent offensive line and an excellent defense. It’s difficult to imagine a better situation for a backup quarterback to step into.

It’s not entirely unlike the situation Foles stepped into in ’13. The O-line probably isn’t quite as good, but the defense is vastly superior this time around.

And the Eagles don’t necessarily need Foles to be Wentz. They can lean on the running game. They have receivers who can bail out their quarterback on occasion. Their defense is capable of forcing stops and creating turnovers.

Foles has a 20-16 record in 36 career starts, with a 60.5 completion percentage, 7.2 yards per pass attempt, 56 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in 45 games. Those are quality numbers. It’s not as if the Eagles are sending Tim Tebow out there.

Does Wentz’s injury lessen the Eagles’ chances of winning the Super Bowl, or even mounting a deep playoff run? Of course. Dramatically, in fact.

But this season isn’t totally lost just yet. Foles only needs to be good, not great, to keep this Eagles team in the race.

There was a brief period where – misguided or not – the Eagles had to at least consider the possibility of Foles as a franchise quarterback. That obviously wasn’t the case, but if he can fake it again for the next two months, there’s a remote chance everything will be alright.

Carson Wentz married Madison Oberg over the weekend in Philly suburb

wentz-wedding.jpg
@cjwentz

Carson Wentz married Madison Oberg over the weekend in Philly suburb

Carson Wentz is a married man.

The Eagles' quarterback and his bride, Madison Oberg, kept things on the DL and got married in Bucks County over the weekend.

Wentz shared photos of their engagement back in February and again posted a couple of select shots from their wedding to his Twitter on Monday.

"Such a blessing to finally get to marry my best friend! It was an incredible day and God has his fingerprints all over our story! I’m a lucky man with one amazing wife #WentzUponATime," Wentz tweeted.

The ceremony over the weekend reportedly took place at The Lake House Inn and was visible to a boater named Christy Stack, who snapped a couple of photos and shared them to Facebook.

"We could hear the whole ceremony! And then after 'you may kiss the bride' a guy on a kayak did the Eagles chant ," Stack wrote on Facebook.

Congrats to Wentz and his new wife. The guy just keeps collecting rings in 2018.

Here's a look at the setting as shared by the caterer:

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at defensive back?

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at defensive back?

Arguably the Eagles’ biggest offseason departure, Patrick Robinson jumped to the Saints in free agency, leaving a massive void at nickel cornerback. On the bright side, the secondary could receive a boost from Jones after the 22-year-old corner essentially redshirted his rookie season because of injury.

Is the influx of young, unproven talent in 2018 enough to make up for the loss of a veteran starter who was playing at a high level last season? The Eagles will soon find out.

Better

More talent at cornerback

Apart from Robinson’s exit, there’s reason to be bullish about this group of corners.

Naturally, Jones stands out. The Eagles wound up with a potential steal in the 2017 draft after Jones, a potential top-ten pick overall, fell to the second round with a ruptured Achilles. He spent all last season rehabbing the injury, only appearing in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Cowboys, and finally expects to be healthy and ready to contribute full-time in year two.

Jones isn’t the only cause for optimism. Fellow class of ’17 member, Rasul Douglas, has a full season under his belt and should continue improving. The Eagles also spent a fourth-round choice on Avonte Maddox, a potential plug-and-play option in the slot. Even returning starter Ronald Darby stands to benefit from offseason program and with last year’s dislocated ankle behind him.

Worse

Nickel cornerback

No matter who takes over in this spot, there’s likely to be some drop-off. Not only was Robinson a savvy vet with previous success in that role, which isn’t currently the case for any of the candidates. He also posted a opponents’ passer rating among 61.8 opponents passer rating in coverage in the slot, third-lowest among qualifying corners.

The Eagles will enter camp with a competition to take over in the slot, with Jones, Maddox, Darby, Jalen Mills and even De’Vante Bausby all getting looks. Surely somebody from that collection of players will do okay. Just don’t expect the level of dominance Robinson brought to the job.

The same

Safety duo

With all the changes at corner, it should be reassuring to know Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod return, lending stability on the back end. Jenkins is coming off his second trip to the Pro Bowl in three seasons, while McLeod remains quietly solid as the unit’s centerfielder.

Corey Graham is still a free agent as of this writing, but it’s highly probable he or another vet will sign with the Eagles at some point to fill the third safety job. Whenever that comes to pass, the position will look roughly the same as it did a season ago.

The unknown

Sidney Jones

While the buzz surrounding Jones is certainly understandable, the harsh reality is he’s essentially a rookie coming off a major injury. Top-ten talents miss, too, even when they show up to the NFL with both of their Achilles tendons fully intact.

One positive is Jones didn’t look like he was in over his head in very limited action for the Eagles last season. At 6-foot-0, 181 pounds, and with 4.4 speed – if healthy – he certainly has the tools to play at this level. Then again, Jones already missed a bunch of practices during OTAs, calling his durability into some question.

Until Jones gets on the field and proves it, he’s a first-year player recovering from a serious injury. Everything else is merely a projection.

Better or worse?

This is a close call. The Eagles appear to have more overall talent with the additions of Jones and Maddox, and continued development of others in the system. In theory, more talent usually makes for a better unit. Then again, it’s unclear whether any of those players can perform at a high level in the slot, where Robinson was one of the stingiest defenders in the league last year. Without a clear-cut solution there, it’s difficult to escape the feeling the Eagles got a little WORSE despite being deeper.