TODAY'S PAPER
48° Good Morning
48° Good Morning
SportsFootball

Eagles QB Nick Foles is a dangerous work in progress

Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks

Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 7, 2014 in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rich Schultz

PHILADELPHIA - Nick Foles set the bar pretty high.

No one expected the Eagles quarterback to throw 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions in the regular season last year. But that's what he did in coach Chip Kelly's high-octane system after taking over from Michael Vick and starting Philadelphia's final 11 games, including a wild-card playoff loss to New Orleans.

So what has Foles done for an encore?

His detractors look at his eight touchdown passes, five interceptions and 82.5 passer rating (it was 119.2 in 2013).

His supporters point to the Eagles' record, which is 4-1 entering Sunday night's NFC East grudge match against the Giants at The Linc.

"I think what's happening is, everybody jumped the gun and said, 'Is this guy our franchise quarterback?' Those are after-the-fact evaluations," Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "Nick's fighting through the year like a lot of our players. He's only, really, a second-year player. That's what you've got to think about. He's had limited number of starts in this offense. He's made some good throws that helped us win.

"Everybody's still hung up on 27 and two. We're a different team. We have different players in there. We're playing different opponents, who are playing us differently."

In a lead-up week filled with silly trash talk, the Giants had nothing but kind things to say about Foles, 25, the Eagles' third-round pick in the 2012 draft.

"He is an accurate thrower," Antrel Rolle said. "More importantly, he is very good with his decision-making. He doesn't make many mistakes . . . He has been doing a great job of leading this offense and putting them in position. More importantly, they have had some great comebacks and he has been the leader of them a lot. I think he runs their offense very efficiently."

Overall, Foles is 120-for-203 passing for 1,380 yards with a 59.1 percent completion rate. LeSean McCoy is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry and the Eagles are 23rd in the league with 98.6 rushing yards per game.

Philadelphia fans seem more worried about McCoy than Foles at this point. But Philly fans are not known for their patience with any of their players.

That's why some were calling for former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to replace Foles after a 26-21 loss to San Francisco in Week 4 in which Foles threw two interceptions without a touchdown pass.

Somehow, Kelly resisted that suggestion. Foles rebounded to throw two TD passes with one interception in last Sunday's 34-28 victory over St. Louis.

"I saw Nick battle through the game," Shurmur said. "We haven't given up sacks the last few weeks. There's been times when he's had to get the ball out in a little quicker manner than we'd like. There are times where he's had some bad footing. I go to one area of the game where we missed what appeared to be an easy throw to Jordan Matthews, then he followed it up by ripping a seam ball to [Jeremy Maclin] on the next play, and that's really the tale of the tape when you talk about quarterback play. We'll watch games on TV; hell, I was home watching games in the afternoon and I saw some really good quarterbacks do some things where I said, 'Wow,' and then they'd turn right around and make a good throw. So I think that can be said."

Foles said he doesn't accept credit for the wins as much as he feels the blame for losses.

"As a quarterback, you always have the ball in your hand," he said. "I'd say more so the losses, because there's always something you can do in those losses to win those games. The wins are team. That's just a part of it."

Said Shurmur: "We're 4-1, and he's been our starter throughout. So that's the overriding judgment. Beyond that, he's our starter. We don't judge him so much as we coach him to get better, and that's sort of how we approach it."

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports