It’s hard to find gaps in his game considering the impressive statistics Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles put up last year. In Foles’ second professional season, the 25 year old Texan threw 203 completions for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns, tossed only two interceptions, and had a league leading 119.2 passer rating. Given his beefy numbers, I must consider how much Foles will improve in 2014?
Jon Moore over at RotoViz crunches Nick’s numbers in an excellent piece where he opines whether or not Foles can reach elite levels and throw for 45 touchdowns this season. Moore writes,
“If Foles can maintain his TD Rate and attempt a few more passes per game, the projection calls for 43 TDs, and that doesn’t even account for a few other favorable conditions. At worst, almost every projection calls for 30+ TDs, which is still a pretty good worst-case scenario.”
I do agree that Foles could reach elite QB status, and I feel more confident saying that given the outstanding case Moore makes, but I think Foles improvement will be more subtle than astronomically increased statistics.
I believe one of the best moves the Eagles made this offseason was hiring 15 year coaching veteran and former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as their quarterbacks coach. Musgrave’s been a superb developer of young quarterback talent such as Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan throughout his coaching career. Bill is also widely regarded throughout the NFL as one of the most creative play callers. What I believe the Philadelphia Eagles did with the Musgrave hire was give Nick Foles a solid mentor and I think it is absolutely within the realm of possibility that Foles takes a substantial leap forward in his development.
Another reason why I believe Nick improves during 2014 is that he’s got a full season of experience under head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. Kelly’s offense is fast and, at times, complicated. Chip regularly employs a no-huddle offense and exotic formations which could confuse any young quarterback. When asked about the progress his offense has made over last year, Kelly told CBS Philadelphia,
“Oh yeah, it’s light years [ahead of last year]. I think for all of our guys they understand what we’re doing. Every day last year was a new insertion and it was a new play and it was the first time in the red zone, first time coming out, first time in two-minute, you know.” Kelly continued, “All of those things for the veterans have all already been in, they’ve understood them. For all those guys there’s a lot more, just a better understanding.”
Kelly went on to say that Foles has a superior grasp of the offense and that he is impressed with his desire to improve.
With the addition of one of the best QB developers in the league in Bill Musgrave, another year of experience in Chip Kelly’s offense, and his willingness to learn, I believe that Nick Foles can and will improve in his third NFL season. Foles also has a wealth of pass catchers who can give opponents fits in traffic or in space. If Foles has the kind of year I think he can, he could be both a fantasy football darling and more importantly for most Eagles fans, lead Philadelphia on a deep playoff run.