Sports Perspective: Former Wildcat Foles petitions for starting bid - Tucson Local Media: Sports

Sports Perspective: Former Wildcat Foles petitions for starting bid

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Evan Hofmann

Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:00 pm

After 60 straight minutes of stellar, and almost supernatural in-pocket decision-making, quick releases, and surgical precision, 24-year-old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had scorched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 31-20 victory, the second year quarterback threw 22 completions for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. Foles had his way with the talented Tampa Bay defense, and was barely contested as he threw zero interceptions and was only sacked on one occasion in which defensive lineman Lavonte David reached the quarterback roughly two seconds after the snap.

Arizona fans are all too familiar with Foles’ knack for making otherwise imposing defenses look sub-par. As the starting quarterback for the Wildcats in 2010 and 2011, Foles had a relatively weak offensive line for protection. The Texas native compensated by learning to release the ball with deadly aim within just a few blinks of the snap. His senior year, Foles completed 387 of 560 pass attempts for 4,334 yards and 28 touchdowns. The quarterback had learned to make himself consistently productive on an otherwise tempestuous team. It was scary to think of what the athlete could have accomplished had he been in a more consistent program.

Time and tide brought Nick Foles to where he is now, an NFL backup poised to grow into his own skin by making a splash in the spotlight. Though head coach Chip Kelly runs an active offense that, in theory, would work well with current starting quarterback Michael Vick’s unmatched athleticism and ability to run the ball, Nick Foles has made his own case for the starting spot. When the struggling Michael Vick went down with a hamstring injury in week five, Foles was ready to take the helm. 

As of week six, Foles has been handily outplaying Vick in every facet of the quarterback game other than running. In significantly less playing time, the second string Foles has six touchdowns to Vick’s five. He also has a 67 percent pass completion to Vick’s 54 percent, a 9.8 touchdown percentage compared to 3.8, and an overall passer rating of 127.9 to Vick’s 90.6. Foles has even put an end to Philadelphia team’s red-zone woes. Michael Vick had been 30th in the league in red-zone efficiency with an embarrassing passer rating of 57.1, Foles, however, has a red-zone passer rating of 104.2. 

But it is Fole’s bread and butter ability to drop back and release at such a rapid pace that has made him most dangerous with the Eagles. This is another area in which Foles surpasses the veteran Michael Vick, as Foles averages 2.61 seconds to throw compared to Vick’s 3.06 seconds. This speed makes Foles a difficult quarterback to sack. The Arizona alumnus is second only to future hall of famer Peyton Manning for the lowest sack percentage in the league. Michael Vick, on the other hand, has one of the higher sack percentages in the league. 

The coming weeks will be central to the Eagles franchise. The playoffs are still within reach, and should Foles continue to shine, he may beat out Michael Vick for the starting quarterback slot in the long term. Given that Vick is into his 30’s and prone to injury, Foles has the opportunity to be the face of a new era for the Philadelphia Eagles, and that is something that UofA fans can be proud of.

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