Nick Foles: How Eagles Offense Can Be Successful with Rookie QB at the Helm

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Michael Vick is out and Nick Foles is in.  At least for this week.

Before you Redskins fans get all excited and bury Philadelphia, beware, this could actually turn out to be a good thing for Philadelphia.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted the news that Vick will not be the starter on Sunday and the Eagles will turn the reigns over to the rookie, Foles.

Eagles QB Michael Vick will not play on Sunday, I'm told. No surprise. Nick Foles gets the start.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2012


Foles has seen limited duty this season, but played the majority of last week's 38-23 lost to the Dallas Cowboys. In about three quarters of action, Foles went 22-of-32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

With the Redskins up this week, Foles will need to step up his game if the Eagles want to outshine and outscore Washington's offense led by Robert Griffin III.

Under Foles' direction, the offense should look different.  Considering the Eagles struggles this season, that could be a good thing.

Here's how the Eagles offense can actually look better with Foles running the show.


Give the Ball to LeSean McCoy

Anytime you have a rookie quarterback making his first start and a running back with the play-making ability of LeSean McCoy, you'd better get it to that running back early and often.

In McCoy, the Eagles have one of the most explosive and versatile running backs in the NFL.

Andy Reid was accused of overusing his star back last season, but this year he appears to have forgotten about him at times.

If McCoy continues to see around 15 carries a game, this offense won't succeed.

McCoy needs to see around 20 carries and multiple targets in the passing game to give Foles a reliable safety valve that he can count on to gain yardage.

The Eagles have forced Vick to shoulder a lot of responsibility on offense this season with little results. This week, they can't afford to put too much onus on Foles.


Three Step Drops

The Eagles offensive line is horrible.

While watching them attempt to protect Vick in the pocket, it's easy to see why they have been bad on offense all season. Vick is oftentimes running for his life and has no time to read the defense.

A quick fix to offensive line issues is to increase the amount of three step drops in the passing game.

The problem with running three step drops for Vick is that he's much better outside the pocket and needs a deeper drop to see over his linemen.

At 6'6", Foles should have no issues seeing over linemen and is much better suited to make his throws from the pocket.

Another benefit is that most three step drop passes don't require the quarterback to make many reads.

Foles doesn't have much experience, but if you don't challenge him to make a ton of reads, he has the arm strength and ability to get the ball where it needs to be quickly.


Emphasize Jeremy Maclin

On the season, Jeremy Maclin has 62 targets.  That's 14 less than DeSean Jackson's 76.

In last week's game against Dallas with Foles taking the majority of the snaps, Maclin saw 12 targets compared to Jackson's eight. This is a trend that the Eagles should look to continue going forward.

Jackson is a great receiver, no doubt.  However, his value is in his speed.

Jackson is one of the best in the game at getting open down field and creating a big play, while Maclin is much better at pure route running and lives off of creating yards after the catch.

Considering the offensive line situations and need to get the ball out quick, Maclin should be the featured receiver with Foles at quarterback.

The Eagles can still take their shots with Jackson off of play action, but picking their spots will be key if they want to keep Foles from facing too much pressure and turning the ball over.