Breaking Down How Nick Foles Would Fit the Offense as Michael Vick's Replacement
When things are going poorly on offense, especially in the City of Brotherly Love, it's easy to point a finger at the quarterback. Surely, if the current signal-caller we have can't get it done, it's time for change.
But hold your horses. Vick may not be earning his lofty contract and is certainly not an elite player, but would benching him really fix the problems on offense?
In many ways, yes. Vick, like all non-elite quarterbacks, is a flawed player and has clear weaknesses to exploit. But in other ways, no. Behind a Swiss cheese offensive line, Vick, in many ways, is doing much better than he is given credit for.
But if he continues to struggle, Foles' time seems all but inevitable. Here is how Foles would fit into the Eagles offense and what to expect from him.
1. Quicker Passes
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I think it's safe to say that Foles would have a much quicker release than Vick. Part of the reason Vick has a slower release than most quarterbacks is because he has confidence in his ability to make plays with his legs. When his linemen start to get beat, he drops back farther and scrambles left and right trying to buy time.
Sometimes, this results in breathtaking runs or big plays down the field. Other times, it results in a 15-yard sack or a fumble.
Foles is not a mobile quarterback by any means. While he has shown that he is willing to run if he sees open space, he is not a runner. As a pocket passer, he will get rid of the football as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of taking a sack.
2. More Sacks
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While quick passes can reduce sacks, for the most part, mobile quarterbacks are not brought to the ground as often. Say what you will about Vick, but when he has pressure in his face, few quarterbacks are as good at eluding defenders and buying time.
Foles does not have that skill. As a pocket passer, if a defender is rushing straight at him, having completely beaten his tackle, he will have no choice but to buckle down and concede to the pressure, as he won't always have time to get rid of the football.
It should also be considered that Foles is right handed. As a result, his blindside is protected by left tackles, not right tackles. Todd Herremans has struggled this season but not as much as Demetress Bell and King Dunlap.
As a result, Foles would get blindsided much more frequently than Vick would.
3. More Bombs to Jackson
It sounds unfair to play the height card, but it clearly is an advantage at the quarterback position.
Despite DeSean Jackson's renewed work ethic and drive, Vick has struggled to get the ball to him deep this season.
Part of the problem is Vick's height. Vick is only 6'0" and must see over linemen who are several feet taller than him. This is made harder by Jackson's small stature, standing at a mere 5'10".
Compared to Vick, Foles is a giant. At 6'5", Foles can see all over the field clearly without the need to escape the pocket. And with his arm strength and accuracy on deep passes, he and Jackson would be spectacular.
While this video is not a pass to Jackson, it is to another small receiver, Mardy Gilyard (5'11"). Notice how easily Foles is able to locate him and quickly deliver the ball.
4. Fewer Play-Actions and Shotgun Formations
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Again, height does make a difference. Part of the reason the Eagles run play-action passes with Vick and shotgun formations is because of his height.
A play action gives Vick time to get out of the pocket and see downfield. The shotgun formation also allows Vick to see the entire field more clearly. But with Foles' height, such measures would not be necessary.
Whenever Foles played in the preseason, the Eagles ran very few play-action fakes and shotgun formations. They had confidence in his ability to see the field clearly and to react accordingly. This is also partially due to his better pocket presence.
5. Fewer Fumbles, More Interceptions
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As Foles is not known for being able to run with the football, he would not cough up the football as often as Vick. When he does run, he would be sure to slide, and when tackled in the pocket, he would be better at protecting the ball.
But Foles would likely not be the answer to Philly's turnovers through the air. As an inexperienced rookie, he does not have as strong of a grasp on the offense as Vick, who is in his third year with the Eagles. He would need more time to develop and would almost certainly experience growing pains.
In one play against the Patriots in the preseason, Foles locked onto Jeremy Maclin but did not see Nate Ebner, who picked off the pass easily. On that play, Foles failed to recognize the zone coverage and made a costly mistake.
It's not cause for alarm, as it was a rookie mistake. But this development process will result in interceptions.