Eagles QB Nick Foles Has Mental Problems | Eagles Addict

Nick Foles Chip Kelly

Yes, Eagles QB Nick Foles has mental problems. No, he’s not about to be taken away in a straight jacket, I’m talking about his mental prowess as it relates to the game of football.

Back in July, I wrote an article in response to some “hype” Foles was getting and talked about Foles still having plenty to prove this season. Well, we’re seven games into the season and I still don’t know exactly what to make of him.

He’s had some good moments and several bad ones. We all knew coming into this season that repeating his statistical performance of last year wasn’t going to happen. Just as we couldn’t look at his brilliant stats from last year and anoint him the next great thing, we can’t look at his severely uneven stats this year and anoint him as the next Kevin Kolb or Bobby Hoying.

That’s why I’m throwing stats out of the window for right now and just concentrate on what I’ve seen with my own two eyes.

What I’m seeing from Foles is a quarterback who is mentally struggling. He is hesitating too often, he’s feeling pressure that isn’t there at times, his decision-making appears panicked at other times and he is not seeing the field well (i.e., he’s not seeing wide open receivers).

Foles is a young player and what it seems we’re seeing is what could be the most “Captain Obvious” type of answer:

He’s still in the midst of learning how to be a quarterback in the NFL.

What I’m trying to say is that Foles doesn’t have the physical talent to compensate for a lack of talent with the mental aspect of the game. Foles’ career will ultimately be decided by how quickly he can mentally process the game at a pace that is fast enough to make the correct decisions with the football.

Think how other lesser athletic QBs who have excelled in the NFL have done it. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Phillip Rivers have all had varying degrees of sustained success because of their mental acuity on the field.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say…I’m not saying Foles has to be Peyton Manning, I’m saying that for him to be as successful as he’s ever going to be, he will have to master Chip Kelly’s offense from a mental standpoint.

Foles is still not fully confident in what he’s doing. If his first read isn’t there, that’s when his struggles begin. He doesn’t seem to calmly go to his second and third reads and be decisive with the football. Instead, he hesitates. That hesitation means the pressure is coming from the pass rush and panic starts to set in.

That’s why he ends up making bad decisions and off-balance throws.

My guess is that Foles is truly relying on what Chip Kelly is teaching him. Foles wants to be the perfect student to Kelly’s teachings and is trying to perform the way his coach wants him to. Kelly has a few simplistic, yet strong stances on the play of the quarterback.

He believes that when a QB is sacked, most times it’s the fault of the QB for simply not throwing it away (“if it’s not there, throw it away and line up again”). He also wants a QB with “repetitive accuracy” and detests interceptions. Decision-making is key for a Chip Kelly quarterback.

Kelly is lauded for his offensive attack and when you listen to him talk about it, he seems to infer that it’s really a simple thing: find the mismatch and exploit it.

Perhaps Foles is somewhat intimidated by Kelly’s approach and it’s making him “think” much more than he’s ever been used to doing. Because, that’s what it really seems like…Foles is thinking too much and it’s delaying his decision-making.

When you hear Foles say after almost every game that he’s “learning”, maybe that’s exactly the truth. He still has to learn how to engineer the offensive machine that Kelly has implemented.

The million dollar question is, will he ever learn it well enough to be consistently successful? Will he ever truly “master” it?

Or is it what we see now is what we’re going to get? There is such a thing as “scheme fit” which is why you see some players fail on one team but become solid players on another.

Is Nick Foles truly a fit for Kelly’s offense? If the season ended today and we had to go on what he’s done to this point, I’d be drafting another QB in April.

He has the rest of this season to continue his learning and show that he has what it takes. I don’t care about stats…if what I’m actually seeing on the field doesn’t improve significantly, I’ll be on the “we need another QB bandwagon” come the offseason.

I came into this year with cautious optimism regarding Foles as our next “franchise quarterback.” At just about the halfway point, that optimism has taken a slight hit.

Let’s see what you got, Nick.

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9 Responses to Eagles QB Nick Foles Has Mental Problems

  1. Dennis Umphrey says:

    When looking at the over all performance of Nick Foles one would think he misses number 10 in the line up but watching his play making decision he seems rushed and tight when delivering a pass. Some one like his confidence of getting the ball perfectly to the receivers, in other words he is aiming the ball at the receivers instead of letting it loose and allow them to go and get it! With the interceptions he has thrown it is messing with his head, trying to hard to make the perfect throw he should cut it loose and allow Cooper and Maclin to do what they do best.

    • Hey Dennis, he might miss #10 but that certainly doesn’t excuse his performance this year so far. I agree with you though, he might be trying to make the perfect throw at times and doesn’t want to make a mistake. Yet, at the same time, he’s made a lot of mistakes and some bad decisions.

      I think his problems are correctable, but they’re only correctable if he can mentally master the concept of the offense, gain confidence in what he’s doing, then obviously execute properly.

  2. ZMAN says:

    Hey Dave and Dennis. I think you’re both right when in comes to Nick’s problem[s]. D. Jackson bailed his butt out several times last year with his speed and ability to make incredible catches, including those in the Red Zone. Maybe it’s the Redskins game/physical beating that remains in his head. Since he’s really not saying a lot in his post game interviews except “I’m learning”, we as EAGLE FANS have to speculate on what’s rattling around in his head.
    When he sees JJ Watt coming at him tomorrow, he’ll for sure look like a “deer in headlights” !! Let’s hope Nick’s practiced throwing the ball out of bounds this week and not into the arms of a DB or Safety. I’m looking for Sproles, Maclin and Ertz to play a key role tomorrow.
    Every game is a “must win” but tomorrow is really a “MUST WIN” for Mr. Foles !! GO EAGLES……………………

    • Hey Zman, yes, Foles most definitely needs a good showing against Houston to quiet the growing masses of discontent. I think the Birds will win this one as long as we don’t turn the ball over.

  3. ZMAN says:

    Hey Dave. As you stated, turnovers will be the key to whether we win or lose tomorrow. Unfortunately, the Texans are 2nd in the NFL right now and caused 17 turnovers !! JJ Watt is the primary reason for these stats so we MUST “semi control” him. We can’t shut him down so I won’t be surprised if Foles fumbles the ball at least once and throws at least 1 or more picks. We’ll just need to put up 30+ points to overcome our usual “mistakes”. It will once again come down to being successful[7 pts] in the Red Zone. FGs alone aren’t going to cut it !!

  4. Jack says:

    According to nfl.com Jackson had 7 catches inside the 20 last year. His absence is not Foles’ problem. Foles’ has problems in many areas, inconsistent accuracy, late throws, throwing into double coverage, shaky mechanics, and limited arm strength. Maclin could have at least 4-6 more TDs if Foles had seen him him and gotten the ball to him. He’s also failed to recognize and/or hit a wide-open Celek, Ertz, Cooper, and Matthews way too many times. With the line injuries it’s not all his fault, but he’s been way too inconsistent.

  5. ZMAN says:

    Well Dave, we “once again” were bitten by turnovers today against Houston. With Foles getting hurt early in the game, Sanchez had the patience and skills to overcome these “mistakes”. I said we had to put up at least 30 points and 31 was good enough against JJ Watt and company. Our running and passing attack was well balanced and the Red Zone nightmares seem to have “disappeared”. We even went for it on 4th and 1, inside the 20 !! It seemed like we were watching a totally different team out there, even with the turnovers. Do we now have a “QB controversy” ?? I think so. We know that Chip will start Foles if he’s ready to go against Carolina. I’d start Sanchez and if he’s putting up points, ride the guy with the “hot hand”. If it’s truly about winning, then feelings/egos have to come 2nd. It feels good to be in 1ST PLACE, doesn’t it ?? Well…………… GO BIRDS !!

  6. ZMAN says:

    Well, with our beloved QB/NF having been diagnosed with a broken CB and out for at least 7 weeks, we no longer have a “QB controversy”, for now. Seven weeks or more is a long time for Nick to “mentally access/contemplate” our first 8 games. If that had been JJ Watt that drove him into the carpet, he’d still be picking the grass out between his teeth. Now Foles has to sit back and watch Sanchez, for who knows how long, lead our team into the post season. Talk about “mental gymnastics” going on in Nick’s head. Even when/if he comes back this year, the threat of getting hurt[CB] again will always loom in his brain !! I think he had a hair line left CB fracture in the Redskins game and has been “playing hurt” since then. No x-ray or MRI after that game seemed a little strange. Just my speculation !!
    Oh well, we now have Sanchez in there and let’s hope/knock on Chip’s head that Mark stays healthy !! I think we’ve had enough injuries for one season, and we’re still 6-2 ?? Something to be said about this team’s STRONG MENTAL FORTITUDE !! GO EAGLES……………

    • Nope, the QB controversy will be held for the offseason now depending on how Sanchez plays. Sanchez will be a free agent so the decision will be whether to re-sign him or not or go back to Foles for 2015. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out and much will depend on how Sanchez plays and how far the Eagles go this year.

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