DOES Nick Foles have anything to prove? Some fans don’t think so. They’ve seen enough already, and they’re convinced that we have our QB of the future. Most fans however, seem to want to see more before they award him the Key to the City. After all, (as some have said) how hard can it be to throw TD’s to DeSean Jackson?
There is no doubt that Foles had a great statistical season in 2013. He already has a uniform in Canton, as his game against the Raiders was one for the ages. Sort of. Maybe. (If you don’t look too close at the state of the Raiders coming into that game.) You know what?! History won’t care about that. It’ll only record what he did. Why or how he did it, nobody cares about. (Or so some would say.) But we’ll move on.
The thing about Foles stats last year is that they seem so….familiar somehow. I mean of course he had a season like nobody has ever seen, except for the fact that, well… I’m sure we’ve seen it before. But where?
Oh yeah. Oregon.
Since 2007 (seven seasons) the primary QB’s in Chip Kelly’s system have produced 204 touchdowns compared to just 44 interceptions. That’s regardless of who the QB was, or who the coach running the system was. No really. Take a look right below.
Did you see Dennis Dixon’s 2007 season, which was Kelly’s first year as Oregon’s OC. Now look at Dennis Dixon prior to that year. He goes from a turnover machine, to a guy who almost can’t commit one.
How about Dixon’s successor Jeremiah Masoli. His numbers aren’t stellar, but look at how low his turnovers are. That is until he leaves Oregon and goes to Mississippi. Suddenly he’s a turnover machine.
How about Masoli’s Oregon successor, Darron Thomas. (By this point Kelly is now the HC and Mark Helfrich has taken over as the OC.) Look at those ridiculous numbers. Did you notice how low the turnovers are again? Remind you of anyone?
Now look at Thomas’s successor, Marcus Mariota. His numbers are also ridiculous. And AGAIN with the low turnovers! Full disclosure: In Mariota’s second year, Kelly was here in Philly, but his former OC (Helfrich) is now the HC, and guess what system they run at Oregon. If you said Kelly’s Spread, give yourself a star.
So Kelly comes here and takes a 3rd round, 6TD / 5Int, 1-5 QB, who was flat out outplayed head to head in the preseason by Michael Vick; and suddenly, for the 5th (primary) QB, IN A ROW, Kelly strikes gold. On FIVE straight QB’s. FIVE! All of which played anywhere from mediocre to horrid outside of Kelly’s system.All of them. In fact, the only QB that Kelly has ever worked with who enjoyed any level of football success outside of this system, was Vick . (Dixon is on Buffalo’s Practice Squad. Masoli is currently playing poorly in the CFL. Thomas was already bounced from the CFL, and was benched 3 games into the season in the AFL.)
If the system can turn bad into good, and removal from the system can turn good into shit, then it’s fair to say “Hey. Maybe it’s the system, and not the athlete.” Which then brings up the questions: What if Nick Foles isn’t special? And is there a downside to having a system that doesn’t need a special QB? (Before you say Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer, remember that those teams were carried by powerful defenses.)
Last year we had the benefit of a soft schedule, and a system that was being adapted to the NFL’s rules, so no one had much time to scout it. This year we have a schedule befitting a 10-6 playoff team, and the league has had time to put us under the microscope. This will be the season that tells the world that either we can play with the big boys, or 2013 was a fluke. Just a flash in the pan.
Make no mistake people, Nick Foles has plenty to prove in 2014, but he’s got plenty of company along for that ride.