What Are Realistic Expectations for Nick Foles This season?


Jul 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) after practice at training camp at the Novacare Complex in Philadelphia PA. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the Donovan McNabb era, Eagles’ fans can enter 2014 with little question about who will start under center the whole season for the Birds. With Nick Foles returning for his first full season as the starter, he can breathe easy knowing that there isn’t a quarterback controversy waiting to happen anymore.

Despite taking over as the starter in week six, Foles constantly had the threat of Mike Vick looming over his shoulder in 2013. Chip Kelly certainly didn’t make the situation better by implying that the position was a toss-up week in and week out, despite Foles achieving career highs throughout the season. In fact, despite having a statistically all-time season for a quarterback last year, Foles wasn’t officially given the reigns until after the Week 12 bye.

Now that Vick is gone, the position is without a doubt Foles’s to lose. The addition of Mark Sanchez as a back-up was more of a slight against Matt Barkley if anything, and if Foles does miss any amount of time, Sanchez has the experience to manage. Or his presence will turn out to be enough to push Matt Barkley into outworking him and winning the backup job. Either way, the only push that Foles is really getting is internally.

After putting on a historically great season for the NFL, it’s time to start managing expectations for Foles moving forward. As amazing as his 27 touchdown, two interception season was, it would be completely unfair to expect him to repeat that. While it’s very possible that the Eagles field general passes for more than 30 touchdowns this season, it’s also likely that there will be an increase in his interceptions thrown as well. That’s not to say he’ll hit 2013 Eli Manning numbers (27 ints is just flat-out embarrassing), but with increased pressure and more film on him,  it’s safe to say he’ll throw within the seven to twelve range. Some will be his fault, others will be on the wide receivers, and the rest simply due to great defensive scheming. That happens, but as long as he’s rebounding in the touchdown to interception ratio, all will be fine.

If there was one thing that we learned from watching him play last season, he’s one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. Don’t expect him to just start throwing games away due to bad decisions.

With that said, how Foles plays with teams game planning specifically for him will be interesting going forward. Staying healthy shouldn’t be an issue, because Kelly’s offense is so versatile and fast that it gets the ball out of his hands quick. Expectations for Foles should basically come down to how well he can live up to the city’s hopes that he can be the team’s next franchise quarterback.

Last season in only 13 games played, Foles passed for 2,891 yards. His 119.2 QB rating was one of the best of all-time, but for him to truly succeed off last years success, he’s going to have to take some more downfield risks and pass for more. While his efficiency numbers prove that he was one of last year’s best, Foles has to separate himself and truly define his place in the NFL. He proved that he was more than capable of being a good quarterback that can help a team win, but now he has to show that he can be THE reason that the team wins, at least when they need that.

With the weapons at his disposal, it’s not far-fetched to believe that he can throw for 3,500-plus yards this year. A starting NFL Quarterback that’s worth building a franchise around shouldn’t be throwing for less than 3,000 yards a season, which given a full season to play, shouldn’t be an issue.

Any amount of turnovers he causes will more than likely be higher than two so that’s not going to be an accurate reflection of his growth.  Still 3,500 plus yards, 27 touchdowns, less than 12 interceptions and a completion percentage over 60% aren’t just reasonable projections, but the standard that he needs to achieve. Anything less will be a regression no matter how you look at it.

In the NFL, you expect players, specifically young promising players to improve upon past season success. Foles has the talent not only around him, but he’s shown signs that he may very well challenge as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. The reassurance of a strong running game with LeSean McCoy with Darren Sproles, and complementary tight-ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek will go a long way to making  life easy for him. His main task will be getting his wide receivers to up to speed, as the inexperience for them on this team will certainly show in the beginning. Fortunately that’s what the preseason is for.

Now it’s on Foles to step up and prove that he isn’t a one trick pony (which all signs indicate he’s not), and leave without a doubt in anyone’s mind that he deserves mention with the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, and to get paid.