Nick Foles tied an NFL record with 7 touchdown passes yesterday. Foles’ amazing game has some wondering if he is the quarterback of the future for the Eagles. Foles is a free agent after this season. If the Eagles don’t sign him, there will be teams that will wonder if Foles can be developed into a franchise quarterback if given the chance. Foles has all the physical tools but is he the real deal or a fraud?
The greatest indicator of the future is the past. When I think back of similar situations, the first name that comes to mind is Matt Flynn. Flynn was Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay. Flynn once had a 6 touchdown performance in the final game of his contract year. This 1 game caused his stock to skyrocket that offseason. He signed a $20.5 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Only to lose the QB competition during his first training camp to a rookie named Russell Wilson. But skeptics might say that Flynn only started two games in his career and Foles is more experienced so lets keep looking into other examples.
Another backup that fooled GMs is Kevin Kolb. Kolb, like Foles, was drafted and developed by Andy Reid. He never had a 6 or 7 TD game but he did show flashes in limited opportunities. He was eventually traded to the Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie , and a 2nd round pick. Kolb never produced in Arizona. Last I heard of Kolb, he was injured in the offseason by slipping on a doormat (seriously).
The crazy thing is, Kolb wasn’t the first Andy Reid QB to fool a GM (and as Redskins fans know, Kolb wouldn’t be the last either). We all are familiar with the Donovan Mcnabb trade with the Skins for a 2nd round pick, and the Kolb trade for the 2nd round pick but Reid had also traded AJ Feeley for a conditional 2nd round pick. Feeley wasn’t even a 2nd string QB, he was a 3rd stringer. He came in late in the season and helped the Eagles win 4 out of 5 games and helped get them in to the playoffs in time for Mcnabb to return.
For our next example of a team fooled by a backup, we’ll go back 20 years. In 1993, Dan Marino was injured and backup, Scott Mitchell took over the job. He didn’t finish the season either but did win offensive player of the month in October. His small span of good games were enough to convince the Detroit Lions to offer him a big contract the following offseason.
Again, Foles has all the physical tools. He has already started in 9 regular season games, he’s gaining experience and confidence with every start. He’s has yet to throw an interception this season. The problem is that he’s had his two best games of his young career against the Raiders and the Buccaneers. These are two bad teams. I want to see him dominate against a good team (or at least a team that doesn’t have a pirate mascot) before I become a believer. I’m not saying he can’t be great, I’m just not quick to trust backups without a larger sample size.