How Did Nick Foles Improve On His Rookie Season?

2 of 2


Foles was undoubtedly a lot more confident in 2013, he took more risks and threw deep more often despite only throwing 2 interceptions all year. Foles threw deep more than anyone else in the league with a deep ball every 17.4% of his attempts per dropback. Foles trusted his receivers a lot more in 2013 and gave them opportunities to make plays, Riley Cooper is the perfect example of this. Cooper rarely found himself as open as former receiver DeSean Jackson was and therefore when former Eagle Michael Vick was at quarterback, he favored throwing to Jackson as Cooper was rarely as open as he was. However, when Foles came in at quarterback Coopers production rose dramatically as Foles trusted Cooper to use his size and win aerial duals when he was 1v1 with a cornerback. The image below shows how Foles was extremely confident in his ability to throw open his receivers and give them a chance to make a play.

The red arrow in the first picture is pointing at Cooper and the cornerback covering him, as you can see there really is no separation at all when Foles throws this ball. Vick would not have thrown this ball as Cooper looks to be perfectly covered. Foles has the confidence in himself however to put the ball in a perfect place where only Cooper can get it. The bottom picture shows just how perfect Foles‘ throw was; he put it in the perfect position for Cooper to go and make a play. Throws like this are almost impossible to defend but you have to have the confidence in yourself to make the perfect throw as you risk being intercepted. In 2012 Foles played nervous and did not want to make a mistake but in 2013 he trusted his ability a lot more and made a lot of throws like the one above. What is even more impressive about the throw above as it came after the worst game of Foles‘ career against the Dallas Cowboys. Many expected Foles to look tentative and nervous against the Raiders after such a bad game but as we all know he played the best game of his career, throwing 7 touchdowns. This shows just how much confidence Foles had in himself in 2013. 


Chip Kelly does not need a mobile quarterback to run his offense, this is obvious when looking at the Eagles depth chart at quarterback and also when looking at Foles in 2013. However, the NFL is changing and quarterbacks have to be athletic in order to extend plays and escape extremely athletic defenders. Kelly also runs a lot of read option and therefore it does help if the quarterback is quicker. Foles looked extremely slow in 2012, I remember his 10 yard touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where it took him a long time to get into the endzone. A really long time. In 2013 he did not develop into an Olympic sprinter, but he was definitely faster and willing to run with the ball. Foles worked hard in the off season to improve his speed and it showed during the season. The image below shows how Foles had just enough speed to get out of the pocket when he was under pressure from a defender. The Green Bay Packers defender circled in red is Clay Matthews.

As you can see, Foles has enough speed to get out of the pocket which is important. He also believed that he had enough mobility to get out the pocket and get away from the defender. In 2012, Foles may have panicked and threw the ball away or simply taken the sack. The image below is even more impressive though as it shows Foles get 15 yards downfield without Clay Matthews catching up with him. 

Foles ended up with a 16 yard gain on a key 3rd and 6 play, the flag was on the defense not the offense so the play stood. Foles had a number of key runs in 2013 and his improved mobility helped this. In 2012, Foles ran for 42 yards in  7 games. In 2013, he ran for 221 yards in 10 games. Foles also picked up 15 first downs from running in 2013, showing that he was no statue in the pocket anymore and some of his runs were important plays. He extended a number of plays in 2013 by running and he was able to do this because he was faster and more agile than he was in 2012. Foles will always be a pocket passer and still has below average mobility compared to most starting quarterback but he certainly improved his mobility in comparison to the 2012 season. Being able to pick up 16 yards on a play when there is nothing open is extremely helpful to an offense. Foles will never be able to run for extremely large gains like quarterbacks such as Vick but as long as he is mobile enough to gain yards when he needs to he can keep the offense moving.