Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception. There – I said it! Now we can all analyze the interception, why it was thrown, what was the correct decision, who’s fault was it? Of course, the reality should quickly return to the casual fan. This is training camp. We’re not playing meaningful games yet, and even then, one interception does not doom a game or a team. Well, unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys during the final game of the last four seasons with a division title on the line, but that’s another story. It’s amazing to see the polarization that Foles has brought to the Eagles since his stellar season last year. It’s important to temper expectations, and enjoy the ride as the Birds offense continues to morph and adapt to new players, and head coach Chip Kelly’s innovative style.
With preseason football less than a week away, the Eagles’ focus now is on team chemistry, system installation, and crisp execution. When, not if, Foles throws his next pick, it may be because he made a mental error. It may be because the receiver wasn’t on the same page and was at the wrong spot. It may simply be that the defense read the play and reacted correctly. It may be a combination of any of these, some of which are accountable to Foles, and others that are not. It’s the coaches job to push the players in practice and make adjustments in-game to minimize these mistakes. But when you look at some of the great quarterbacks currently playing, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, both of these guys have thrown their share of interceptions. It’s their ability to shake it off, let their defense do their job and get the back, and then return on the next series and put score a touchdown. They both possess the “IT” factor that coaches so desperately strive for when selecting a quarterback. Well, that factor, plus a good head (intelligence) and strong passing skills. Quarterbacks that lack one of those three may see some success (see former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow) but ultimately fall apart by a well-tuned and executing defense.
As the Eagles begin their season in earnest on September 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguar, they’re blessed with a team in rebuilding mode. It should allow them a bit of leeway to make mistakes and have enough time to correct them and still pull out a win. Unfortunately, in the NFL, that window is very small or in some cases nonexistent. But this game should allow the Eagles the chance to showcase their basic offense, throw in some curves, but ultimately save the good stuff for the harder opponents. Does it all fall on Foles’ shoulder? Hopefully not, but if it does, Foles seems ready to take on the challenge. Contrary to the title, the Eagles don’t appear to be doomed.