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Nick Foles struggled even when he wasn't pressured in 2014

The Eagles' offensive line wasn't all to blame.

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus has begun their annual offseason "QB in Focus" series, which I always find pretty interesting. Unfortunately for the Eagles' sake, Sam Bradford was injured last year so there isn't really any data on him. Instead of looking ahead, we'll look at some of these numbers from 2014 to show why Chip Kelly rightfully moved on from Nick Foles.

First is the topic of pressure. Some Foles defenders argued that the quarterback was dealing with more pressure in 2014 than he was in 2013 due to Philadelphia's banged up offensive line. According to the data, that just isn't true. Foles faced pressure on 33.3% of his snaps in 2014. The NFL average was 33.4%. He also faced pressure on 34.3% of his dropbacks in 2013. In his defense, pressure may have been getting a little quicker to Foles last year than it did in 2013. Still, it's not as if he was facing a situation he couldn't reasonably overcome.

Foles actually wasn't terrible when pressured. PFF graded him just below the NFL average. Believe it or not, Foles was actually way worse when he faced no pressure at all. Only seven NFL quarterbacks finished with a worse grade.

Then there's the topic of the blitz. Foles really struggled when facing blitz pressure in 2013. On the other hand, he was lethal when teams blitzed but didn't generate any pressure. These two qualities don't seem all that different for most quarterbacks, but he was especially bad and good, respectively.

Foles' success against the blitz (with no pressure generated) in 2013 may have caused teams to play him differently in 2014. Last season, only one quarterback was blitzed less than Foles: Aaron Rodgers. Teams were willing to rely on their regular rush and drop defenders into coverage instead of blitzing. The result was that Foles finished with a below average grade when not facing a blitz. Only 12 quarterbacks were worse, including Mark Sanchez.

Did Foles have the most ideal offensive line situation in 2014? No, not at all. But to suggest it was the only reason for his struggles is off the mark. It's clear Kelly saw a flawed player and decided he needed to upgrade. Whether Bradford works out for the Eagles remains to be seen, but moving on from Foles wasn't a mistake.

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