The Eagles’ biggest concern on offense is obvious. Philadelphia has a backup quarterback starting in the most important game in franchise history. Now, everybody knows Nick Foles isn’t your typical backup. He’s played some pretty good games before. His performance in the NFC Championship Game, against a top-ranked Vikings defense, was mind-blowing.
But Foles isn’t consistent. He’s really just the opposite: a high variance player. For as many good games as he’s had, he’s also stunk up the joint quite a bit. Look no further than this outings against the Raiders and the Cowboys to end the season. Or even some of his first half tape from the Eagles- Falcons game in the Divisional Round.
Good Foles emerges when the quarterback gets in a rhythm and looks unflappable. Bad Foles shows up when his confidence is shot and his mechanics go to sh… crap. Bad Foles has a penchant for dropping back into oblivion (instead of stepping up) or rolling out of the pocket too early altogether. Bad Foles also leaves a lot of easy throws on the field. He’ll have a wide receiver or tight end running wide open but he won’t be able to see the field well enough to realize he’s there.
Foles is playing with much more confidence heading into the Super Bowl, so that’s a good sign for the Eagles. But it’s hard to fully trust Bad Foles won’t show up until we see it first.
The key to beating the Eagles is definitely limiting quarterback Nick Foles. He’s definitely a limited player when it comes to handling pressure and when the play breaks down, but Doug Pederson and the Eagles have constructed a system that allows him to flourish.
If the Patriots can take away his quick passes with press coverage and force Foles to hold on to the football, maybe the Patriots pass rush that destroyed the very good Tenesseee offensive line can show up and destroy the even better Eagles offensive line.
I also think that if the Patriots are able to build a two-score lead, that Foles won’t be able to put the team on his back and win and will start making mistakes.
We all know Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have been studying the Giants offensive performances against the Eagles’ defense in 2017. It’s been well-documented that New York was able to neutralize Philly’s top-ranked pass rush and shred the Eagles’ secondary by utilizing a no-huddle, quick-passing game. The Eagles just couldn’t defend a slant pass to save their lives in those games. Then the Eagles’ corners overcompensated by being too aggressive on the underneath routes, which made them susceptible to getting beat deep on double moves.
Brady’s ability to get the ball out quick is a concern for Jim Schwartz’s unit. It’s not hard to imagine him being able to have a lot of success with short passes to the Patriots’ running backs. If the Patriots can slow down the Eagles’ pass rush, New England will have some opportunities to take some shots down the field to Brandin Cooks. Or work the middle of the field with Rob Gronkowski.