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Nick Foles Needs to Step Up, Figuratively and Literally

Bad throws, bad footwork, bad decisions... Nick Foles needs to play better.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 1, Nick Foles threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns. It easily could have been more. In Week 2, he threw for 331 yards and a touchdown, and it easily could have been more. Six weeks later, it's the same story. In Week 8, he threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns, and it easily could have been more. Yes, the offensive line is missing starters, LeSean McCoy hasn't been himself, and Riley Cooper has disappointed. Certainly those factors have negatively effected the team's third-year quarterback.

But the biggest problem is and has been Foles himself, and it's the same problems all year. He's not seeing wide open receivers, he's running from pressure that isn't there, and he's just plain made inexcusably bad throws. It's cost the Philadelphia Eagles two wins so far. If Foles doesn't clean up these mistakes in a hurry, it's going to cost them more. Unfortunately there's no simple fix, because he's struggling in multiple areas.

He's scrambling out of the pocket when there's no pressure.

There's absolutely no need to scramble here. The Cardinals are only rushing three, none of whom have beaten their blocker(s). Even worse, Foles has a receiver wide open in the middle of the field who should be able to catch and turn for a gain of at least 5. Instead Foles throws the ball out of bounds.

Again Foles has absolutely no need to scramble. The pass rush has not beaten their blockers, and the blockers out number the rushers. Instead Foles rolls out, this time inviting a defender to take a free shot at him. Under pressure that should never have existed, he throws a poor ball.

Foles is actually under pressure here, as the Cardinals have a free rusher up the middle. In this situation he needs to take what the defense is giving him and throw a short pass to Jordan Matthews, who has some space to try to make a play. Instead he rolls out to the right, and has nowhere to throw, as Jeremy Maclin has a deep in route. All he did was buy time for a bad throw.

He's also holding on too long. The offensive line is protecting Foles well, and Josh Huff is open with space to run. Instead he rolls out, drawing defenders onto him, and putting defenders in a better position to tackle Huff. This was the play where Huff fumbled, and while it would be inaccurate to say that Foles caused Huff to fumble, Foles played a part in it. Had Foles stepped up in the pocket and throw to Huff earlier, defenders aren't coming at Huff from the same angles, and there's a good chance the Eagles offense is on the field for the next play. It's similar to how a misplaced pass can hang a receiver out to get his clock cleaned, or just draw him out of position to make a play.

Speaking of which....

It's inexcusable to throw a screen pass so high the receiver has to jump for it. Matthews has no chance to make a play here because of the throw.

It's bad enough he didn't even see an open Jeff Maehl and Josh Huff, but it's inexcusable to throw off your back foot in a clean pocket.

Or roll out of a clean pocket towards free defenders then throw the ball on the move and miss your receiver. Foles should have stayed in the pocket, where he would have been able to take a shot down field.

Or not see the only uncovered receiver, who is right by the sticks on third down.

And perhaps worst of all, Foles has a receiver wide open in the middle of the field, but rolls out and throw the ball out of bounds.

Step up and throw the ball.

Nobody is perfect. All quarterbacks miss an occasional receiver, make a poor throw here or there, and every once in a while run from pressure that isn't there. But Nick Foles is doing it too frequently, and too consistently. His receivers are getting open, and his line is getting the job done. The Eagles aren't a flawless team, but with better play out of Foles, they could have had a flawless record. Unless Foles can step up in the pocket and step up his play in the second half of the season, it isn't going to be a long second half.

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