First of all, let’s get this straight: I’m in no way saying the Sam Bradford trade was good/bad or that the Philadelphia Eagles would be better off with Nick Foles. If you haven’t noticed, Foles has been a total disaster in St. Louis this season and is near the bottom of most statistical categories. More recently, it was even announced that he’d be benched despite being healthy in the Rams’ next game. Ouch.
There are obviously a lot of moving parts with a comparison like this, but just because it’s interesting, here’s a comparison of Bradford’s first eight games with the Eagles to Foles’ eight games with the Eagles in 2014.
***Note: So that it’s the same amount of games, I am not including Bradford’s performance against the Dolphins in this analysis, as that was his ninth game and he didn’t play the full game anyway.
Foles had plenty of mind-numbingly bad throws in his time with the Eagles in 2014, but overall he was serviceable enough to pick up some wins. The defense and special teams obviously helped him out a little bit, but to say he had zero impact on the team’s six wins would be inaccurate. Bradford on the other had has been exactly average based on his record. And based on his actual play, I’d say that’s about the record he deserves. He’s had some games where he looked pretty good, but he’s also had a few where he looked totally lost. Advantage: Foles
Bradford: 2,061 yards
Foles: 2,163 yards
Foles also didn’t play the full game in what would be his final one of the season, but the numbers in this case are essentially the same. Except for the game against the Jets, which was actually a win, Bradford has passed for around the same amount of yards each game, somewhere in the 200s or 300s. Bradford has passed over 40 times in three separate games, but has only thrown over 300 yards twice, with a season high of just 336. Foles eclipsed the 300 mark on four occasions, including once over 400 yards. Both players have essentially the same yards per completion, but Bradford has the edge in completion percentage, 64% to 60%. Advantage: essentially a tie
TDs and INTs
Bradford: 10 TDs, 10 INTs
Foles: 13 TDs, 10 INTs
Bradford has only passed for more than one touchdown twice in his first eight games and has three touchdowns in only one game, which ended up being a loss to the Redskins. Foles had five games in which he threw two or more touchdowns. Each player had one game in which he didn’t throw for a touchdown, both of which were losses. The interception numbers were exactly the same, although Foles only had one game without throwing an INT while Bradford had three games without one. However, in all games except one, Bradford has either thrown multiple interceptions or none, which is interesting. Advantage: Foles
Personally, I am still not sold on QBR as being a tell-all statistic for quarterbacks because I think it values some aspects of a quarterback’s game much higher than other ones, but for the people who do like this stat, there is a clear difference between the two players. I’m sure that the records of the respective players had some impact, but it is still unsettling to see that Bradford’s QBR is that low despite his apparent steady, albeit slow, growth at the position. Foles had two games with a QBR below 20, but every other game his QBR was above 60. Bradford has only had two games above 60, with a season high of just 73.8. Advantage: Foles
This is another category in which the two are essentially the same. Neither has been a particularly excellent passer, as evidenced by the close to 1:1 ratio in touchdowns to interceptions. Both players had just two games with a passer rating above 100, although Bradford did exceed 100 in the Dolphins game as well before getting hurt. Advantage: essentially a tie
So while a comparison should never be made solely based on stats, taking a look at a lot of the factors at the quarterback position, Bradford has either been just as good or worse than Foles was for the Eagles in 2014. Foles had the advantage in every category except for a 1.0 advantage in passer rating, which was likely only because of his high rating against the Dolphins (I just used his overall season value for that statistic). People can complain all they want about how Foles played last year, but Bradford hasn’t been any better.