The Philadelphia Eagles have officially confirmed that both QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy will sit out Monday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers with concussions.
As many predicted before the season, Michael Vick’s style of play would lead to injuries from taking too many hits, although having one of the worst offensive lines in football hasn’t helped. The Eagles’ 3rd round rookie backup quarterback Nick Foles from Arizona will get another start and try to improve on his first start from a week ago. Eagles fans had been calling for him in recent weeks due to Vick’s inconsistent play, but bad penalties, rookie mistakes and dropped passes made for one ugly debut.
Nick Foles, QB
Foles looked decent in Week 10 against Dallas, coming into the game at the start of the second quarter. He finished the game with 22 completions from 32 attempts (68.75%) and threw for 219 yards. He threw a 44 yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Foles was also strip sacked which was recovered in the endzone for a touchdown and survived two other potential pick 6’s after one was dropped and one was nullified by a penalty. In week 11, his first start, Foles’ statline looked very poor. He finished 21 of 46 (45.7%) with 204 yards and 2 interceptions. He also had three fumbles. These stats were very harsh on Foles who suffered 5 drops, one of which was a bobbled ball by Brent Celek that led to an interception. The offensive playcalling was also very conservative and consisted of mainly runs and screen passes. This play-calling worked at the beginning of the game, however the Redskins soon figured out this playcalling and focused on shutting down the run and limiting the screen. This led to 3rd and long situations which were not helped by the Eagles’ constant penalties and the offensive line allowing pressure almost immediately. Foles is on a short leash despite the fact this is his second start. Eagle fans are extra critical and the young rookie will need to step up if he wants to win over the future coaching staff and a loyal fanbase.
Foles’ accuracy was very erratic throughout the games he has played so far, but this is not all his fault as the rookie QB has had to throw the ball with pressure upon him or on the run after escaping the pocket.
One of the most impressive areas of Foles’ game was his ability to step up in the pocket when under pressure from the edge. This is not an ability all rookie quarterbacks possess.
Overall, whilst not worthy of a roster spot unless you are in a very deep dynasty league, Nick Foles is an inexperienced, high upside quarterback with the arm to force defenses to respect him by leaving a safety deep. He is capable of moments of brilliance as evidenced by his pristine pass to DeSean Jackson in the fourth quarter against Dallas, however he is also likely to commit mental mistakes which could leave fantasy owners infuriated if he overthrows their player in the endzone.
Bryce Brown, RB
With LeSean McCoy out, Bryce Brown will start for the Eagles Monday night. Brown is a tough smash-mouth running back that would normally be getting fantasy owners very excited if he didn’t play for the Eagles. If the coaching staff would just shred the pass-crazy playbook for a week, they will realize that picking up yardage is easy with a straight forward rushing attack that features play-action passes. The Eagles winning percetage ranks near the top of the league when they give McCoy 20+ carries, but the 5-wide formations on 3rd and short usually result in wasted opportunities.
For all the bad press about this offensive line, the Eagles big-uglies up front can push the pile and open holes. It’s the pass protection that they struggle with, and again, if the coaching staff would realize this who ever is carrying the rock would rack up excellent fantasy points.
This week Bryce Brown is a high risk fantasy start that could see highs of a 80+ yards and score. Yet knowing the Eagles, he is also be wasted by only being used for 10 carries for 35 yards. Brown is a victim of his teams obsession to pass the ball
DeSean Jackson, WR
The player affected most by Vick’s injury is likely to be DeSean Jackson. Jackson has seen a revival in his stats this year and was on course for over 1,200 yards prior to Vick’s injury. With Foles as the starter, Jackson’s stats will be limited with defenses looking to stop the run and send heat at the poor offensive line and Rookie under center. Foles should being given plenty of opportunities on short to intermediate routes, which typically isn’t Jackson’s game.
From watching the Dallas game it appears that Foles is most comfortable throwing the ball to Maclin. They connected on a 44 yard touchdown, although Maclin was wide open due to a blown coverage. It also seems whenever under pressure Foles would look to get the ball Maclin’s way. He trust’s him even when making an ill-advised throw. However, in the Washington game Maclin was held without a catch despite his 8 targets and left his fantasy owners furious at Foles and Andy Reid.
This week Maclin will want to step up and help his rookie QB.
Brent Celek, TE
Celek may well be the biggest winner from Foles start week 12, even despite last weeks drop that resulted in a pick-6. Since Celek’s huge week 2 game against Baltimore, Celek has failed to top 70 yards and has just one touchdown all season. With teams looking to stop Brown running the ball, there will be plenty of opportunities for Foles to target his tight end up the field. After last week’s brutal performance I’m expecting better play out of Celek.