Praise coming in for Nick Foles after performance vs Tampa

Al Messerschmidt

Nick Foles is certainly the man of the hour in Philadelphia, but will he take the step or end up as the next AJ Feeley or Bobby Hoying?

Whether we are just seeing the "Bobby Hoying effect" or the start of something really good, the praise for Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles has begun to come in hot and heavy today. Foles' performance may not have been the first where the young backup did some good things and got everyone excited about his future, but at least as far as the Eagles go it may be the most dramatic.

Coming from down 2 TDs in under 5 minutes on the road and throwing a last second TD pass to win would have been impressive for any QB, let alone a rookie. So while it still may be early to anoint Foles as our savior, it's not early to heartily congratulate him for that performance. And that's exactly what has been going on.

SI's Peter King says Foles "looked like a starting NFL QB" Sunday and thinks the "seeds planted" with Foles are starting to bear fruit.

I think -- and I don't care how much of an Eagles homer this makes me sound like -- I was happy to see the delight on the Philadelphia sideline as the seconds ticked off on the win in Tampa. That's not an eight-game-losing-streak team, and it doesn't mean Andy Reid is suddenly a lousy coach. It's football. And it's good to see the seeds planted with a young quarterback like Nick Foles bear fruit -- he improvised on the winning drive, inventing a fourth-down-conversion pass in the huddle.

SI's David Sabino says you may not want to go scrambling to pick up Foles for your fantasy team just yet and reminds us that the Bucs are as bad as it gets in terms of defending the pass.

Nothing cures a struggling quarterback more than the Buccaneers' weak pass defense. The rookie's 251 yards [ed. it was actually 381] Sunday were the most for a first-year Eagles passer since Scott Tinsley threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns as a replacement quarterback during Week 4 of the 1987 players' strike. Before you think about using Foles in the fantasy playoffs, realize that the Bengals are tough on opposing quarterbacks and Foles has a short week to prepare for them.

Kevin Noonan of CBS Sports says Foles' performance is what mattered most in this game.

...that was what mattered most in this game, as the Eagles decide whether Foles can be their quarterback of the future. Foles finally won a game after three straight losses as the starting QB and he did so in dramatic fashion. So, the Eagles have to be feeling good right now, about the victory and the quarterback who led them to it.

Jeremy Maclin, who caught the winning TD pass from Foles and had one of his better days of this season was effusive in his praise of the rookie.

"You guys are seeing Nick Foles grow into a phenomenal quarterback right in front of your eyes," Maclin told reporters after the game. "For him to step in and play as well as he played, and being able to understand the defense and call that play, it speaks highly of his character and his sense of the game.

"I think he can be special. His intangibles are off the charts."

I think this all really underscores the point I made in the recap. The development of Nick Foles is far more important to the future of this franchise than edging up higher in the draft is. We all know that you need a QB to win in this league and this just happens to be a year that the draft is not stocked with QB talent. So if the Eagles and whomever the next coach is, sees growth from Foles now it really will shape their draft strategy. It essentially helps make the most important decision any coach will ever make... who is my quarterback?

But of course, as 100 different comments reminded us in the recap, it was just one game. That's true, but Foles has shown real growth in his 4 games as a starter. As Jordan Raanan pointed out, his QB rating has gone from 40.5 to 89.2 to 96.6 to 98.6. He's getting better and more comfortable.

There's still obvious issues, accuracy on deep balls being the biggest, but it's undeniably encouraging to see a young guy getting better. This is a hope we didn't have with Michael Vick. At 32 years old he is the QB he is. And that's not necessarily bad, but there was pretty good reason to think he wasn't ever going to get any better. With Foles, he can still fix his mistakes and improve.

The question is, will he? We'll get answers on that over these next 3 weeks.
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