As Seattle hurtles toward their 2015 season opener in St. Louis, there is a pressing question that will have a significant impact on the Seahawks season even though it has nothing to do with their team. Nick Foles was acquired in offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for former #1 overall pick, Sam Bradford. The assumption is that Foles is a big upgrade for the Rams, if for no other reason than that he is healthy enough to start a game. Dig a little further, though, and the expectations for Foles get a little murkier. His first game against a talented Seattle defense will tell us a lot about how much noise the Rams will make in the NFC West this season.
Tale of the tape
Foles tumbled from his lofty perch as quickly as he ascended. His 2014 season was marred by poor performance and injury. He threw for 13 touchdowns in his eight starts, but threw five times as many interception (10) as he had the previous year in two fewer games. It was enough to deem him expendable.
Making sense of Foles
Nick Foles Jekyll & Hyde Career
He threw interceptions in seven of his eight games last season, and at least two in three different games. The idea that Foles has to be better than the dreck St. Louis put out there are quarterback last season may not be as legitimate as many people think.
His combined passer rating in 2012 and 2014, the bulk of his career thus far, is 80.4. Shaun Hill had a passer rating of 83.9 last season, and Austin Davis had a rating of 85.1. For at least long stretches of his young career, Foles has been a lesser quarterback than either Hill or Davis were for St. Louis last season.
For at least long stretches of his young career, Foles has been a lesser quarterback than either Hill or Davis were for St. Louis last season.
Davis and Hill, though, were sacked. A lot. The two players were brought down a whopping 47 times. Russell Wilson was sacked 42 times, albeit in roughly 50 fewer attempts. Wilson, though, is known to hold onto the ball for long stretches and make life harder on his lineman.
Only six quarterbacks got rid of the ball faster than Hill last season, and two of them were Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Davis was ninth-slowest (Wilson was the slowest for the third straight year). It is no wonder that Hill’s sack rate (7.9%) was significantly better than Davis’ (10.2%) behind the same offensive line. Keep that in mind for those that question how much the quarterback contributes to sacks and pass pressure.
Foles played behind a pretty good line in Philadelphia, but he managed to get sacked quite a bit as well. Per ProFootballFocus.com, Foles was the second-slowest quarterback getting rid of the football during his breakout 2013 season. Wilson took an average of 3.18 seconds, while Foles took 3.11s. He showed some progress in that regard last year when he shaved his time to 2.80s, but making quicker decisions seems to have contributed to a drastic uptick in turnovers.
St. Louis forecast