Not a full post today, just a point I had wanted to include yesterday but forgot about.
The lack of excitement/”believers” regarding Foles may be a direct result of his “elite” skill. as I said yesterday, it’s possible that interception-avoidance is Foles’ “plus” trait. If that’s true, he’s never going to command a huge following.
Think about it. The best plays Foles makes are, by definition, the ones you DON’T see, simply because they don’t happen. As a fan (or anybody), it’s impossible to identify the plays in which a replacement-level QB would have thrown an interception but Foles does not. Sure, we can talk about it in the abstract, for instance when he takes a sack and we say “it’s better than an INT”. However, that’s obviously never going to be featured in a highlight reel.
In particular, Foles might be hurt by the way the game is analyzed today. With the prevalence of All-22 breakdowns, countless people are going through game-tape and identifying everything that happened. Once again, interceptions NOT thrown is never going to show up on those. Instead, you’ll get a handful of wide open receivers that Foles missed. The take-away, naturally, will be about what an “elite” QB WOULD have done, given the same openings. However, that type of analysis doesn’t account for Foles’ “elite” skill. Yes, maybe another QB would have made a few more plays. However, he also may have then turned the ball over, completely negating the additional positive plays.
I’m going to try to dig a bit deeper into both interception rate and sack rate. Hopefully, I’ll find evidence one way or another indicating the degree of skill involved in each. Until then though, keep in mind:
IF Foles’ “elite” skill is his ability to NOT throw interceptions, he will never be fully appreciated. Not only is it not a real “measurable” skill, but it doesn’t show up on replay. While other QBs may be able to make a lot of positive plays that Foles can’t make, Foles may AVOID a lot of negative plays that those other QBs don’t.
That’s not as easily identifiable and it doesn’t lend itself to highlight reels, but in theory, there’s no reason it can’t be just as significant a skill.