Everyone knows what happened to Eagles star quarterback Carson Wentz by now. People are calling for the urgent signings of players like Tony Romo and Colin Kaepernick. Players like Robert Griffin III and Jeff Garcia are trying to sway the Eagles to sign them on social media. Everyone should relax. Nick Foles will be fine. The sixth year quarterback has the skills and teammates to help him lead Philadelphia deep into the postseason and possibly the Super Bowl.
There are many examples of “mediocre” quarterbacks being successful when they are surrounded by a great team and coaching staff. Even this season, we’ve seen Case Keenum (84.5 career passer rating) lead the Minnesota Vikings to the top of the NFC after Sam Bradford got injured. Who was Keenum coached by when it was decided he couldn’t play? Jeff Fisher. Who was Foles (88.1 career passer rating) coached by during the time his career took a turn for the worse? You guessed it: Fisher. The similarities don’t end here.
The Vikings have above average receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Minnesota has a good pass-catching tight end in Kyle Rudolph. Philadelphia has Zach Ertz. The Vikings have a defense riddled with stars in Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes and Anthony Barr. The Eagles have a defense bolstered by Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. The two top teams in the NFC will likely be led into the postseason with quarterbacks who are seen as average or below average. It isn’t the first time.
Most recently, Joe Flacco (84 career passer rating) led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII victory. Much like the 6-foot-6 Flacco, Foles is big and has a strong-arm. These Ravens also had good receivers led by Anquan Boldin and a defense made up of Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Strong defense and mistake-free offense has been the Eagles’ blueprint all season just like this Ravens team. Ironically, two current Eagles played on this team in Torrey Smith and Dannell Ellerbe.
Other examples of big quarterbacks considered average or below average leading their teams to Super Bowl victories include:
- Trent Dilfer (70.2 career passer rating) started for another Ravens championship-winning team in Super Bowl XXXV. Rather than good receivers, this team had bruising rookie running back Jamal Lewis running the show for the offense. The defense was one of the best ever with Lewis and Rod Woodson leading the way.
- Brad Johnson (82.5 career passer rating) led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. The team had solid wideouts in Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell and a stout defense with Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber.
But the most comparable situation to the Eagles’ occurred in the 1990 season.
Journeyman backup Jeff Hostetler (80.5 career passer rating) led the Giants to a Super Bowl XXV win after filling in for starter Phil Simms who broke his foot in December. The Lawrence Taylor-led defense only allowed 13.2 points per game. The Eagles are only allowing 19.2, granted in a much more points-happy NFL 27 years later. New York and Philadelphia both started the year 11-2. Hostetler and Foles were both picked in the third round. Similarities aplenty, time will tell if the most important similarity can be added to the list: a Super Bowl.
If the defense continues playing at a high level, the coaches create game plans that exemplify Foles’ strengths and the skill positions play sound football a Super Bowl run can be done. That is a nest full to ask but past history shows the Birds can do it.
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