The Philadelphia Eagles Real Issue Is At Quarterback


The Philadelphia Eagles have learned first-hand that even Chip Kelly’s “quarterback proof” offense can’t make up for average quarterback play.

On November 27th, the Philadelphia Eagles dismantled the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas. The final score (33-10) was representative of the Eagles’ superiority on the pitch. It was the best game of Mark Sanchez as an Eagle, on the anniversary of his famous “buttfumble” as a New York Jets player.

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Unfortunately, Philadelphia didn’t manage to repeat that yesterday. After a disastrous first quarter, the Birds found themselves trailing 21-0. They rallied back, scoring 24 unanswered points, but their lead was brief. From that point on, the Cowboys outscored the Eagles 17-3.

Two turnovers from the Eagles offense killed any chance the team had at claiming this game. Mark Sanchez played a significant part in the overall collapse.

Sanchez was 17-for-28 for 252 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. But it was worse than that. The 28-year old signal caller three high on a number of occasions, making it extremely hard for his receivers to make a catch. On zone read plays, he appeared to make the wrong decision (keep the ball/hand it off) at least once.

Is Sanchez to blame for this loss of the Philadelphia Eagles? He is not the only one, as the defense was bad too – especially in coverage. But the offense once again stalled in the most critical part of the game and it was Sanchez who made the most mistakes on that side of the ball.

It’s not just Sanchez and it’s not just this game, though. Here is what he and Nick Foles did in the five defeats of the Eagles in the 2014 NFL season.

@San Francisco: Nick Foles, 21/43 passing attempts, 195 yards, two interceptions
@Arizona: Nick Foles, 36/62 passing attempts, 411 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions
@ Green Bay: Mark Sanchez, 26/44 passing attempts, 346 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions
VS Seattle: Mark Sanchez, 10/20 passing attempts, 96 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
VS Dallas: Mark Sanchez, 17/28 passing attempts, 252 yards, two interceptions

On average, the completion percentage is 55.83% with 260 passing yards, 1.2 touchdown pasess and 1.8 interceptions per game. The average QB rating is just 67.22. Geno Smith and Michael Vick each has a better average QB rating than that.

Are Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez that bad? No, but this is how they performed in five very important games for the Philadelphia Eagles. If one of these games was won, the Eagles would still be the leaders of the NFC East.

Foles and Sanchez are not the only ones to blame when the Eagles lose. They are not the only ones to get the credit in victories, too. Chip Kelly and his offense have been praised for being “quarterback-proof”, being able to work with any QB who has been studying it for a while and makes quick decisions, no matter what his skill set is.

At the same time, it’s becoming apparent that Kelly’s system can do that much. It can mask the inefficiencies of a quarterback, but the system won’t win a game unless the quarterback does what it takes. So far, Sanchez and Foles have shown that they can’t do it consistently. Most importantly, they have struggled against really good teams.

The issue at the quarterback position is real for the Philadelphia Eagles. How big of an issue it is? A pretty big one if Nick Foles keeps playing closer to his 2014 than to his 2013 standards.

As for Mark Sanchez, him being the future starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles is out of question – for good.