1) In just more than seven games, Nick Foles passed for 2,163 yards and 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He completed 59.8 percent of his passes. The Eagles also won most of the games he started. But the sample size is still relatively limited when evaluating Foles, who has started 18 games since Chip Kelly became the coach.
The Eagles are not yet in evaluation mode, as you might have heard. They are treating the season finale against the New York Giants with the attention of any other game, which is an understandable concept. But moving forward, the coaching staff and front office will need to determine what they have in Foles based on those 18 starts.
"I think we know what we have in Nick, and we've seen a guy that I think, by last count, he's 14‑4 as a starter," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "So that's really how you judge a quarterback."
There are two points to add to this quote. The first is that Foles is actually 15-9 as a starter, but the Eagles' evaluation of Foles starts only when the new coaching staff came in 2013. They do not consider his 2012 season. The second is whether wins/losses is an appropriate metric to use when evaluating a quarterback. This topic was explored in depth in an Oct. 13 Inquirer story.
When Foles was 1-5 as a starter in 2012, I asked him that question. He said he does view quarterbacks that way, and he lamented being a 1-5 quarterback. When the Eagles were 4-1 this season, the same question was posed. His answer was slightly modified.
"As a quarterback, you always have the ball in your hand," Foles said. "I'd say more so the losses, because there's always something you can do in those losses to win those games. The wins are team. That's just a part of [being a quarterback]."
An evaluation deserves more nuance than a record, but Foles has won a good percentage of his games for Kelly. The Eagles will go through all his passes and have some important decisions to make this offseason. For Shurmur, the record is a good place to start.
2) Jaylen Watkins was active in last week's loss to Washington, but he did not play. The fourth-round pick has yet to take a defensive snap this season. The Eagles like his versatility, but Watkins could not carve a role in the secondary this season.
The Eagles are viewing him first as a cornerback who can play outside, nickel, and dime. They also think he has the intelligence to play safety in a pinch. His role in Saturday's game was as a backup at each spot.
"We're starting him in the corner world, and then we'll slowly ‑‑ and we're training him in other places because when he is active, and he was active the other night, he possibly could go in at nickel, dime, safety or corner, and that's a testament to his football intelligence," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "He's just not there yet. It's like a lot of rookies. We're throwing a lot at him, and he's done a great job trying to absorb it, but he hasn't separated himself to where he belongs in the starting conversation yet. But I'm hopeful that some day he will."
One development to watch next season is Nolan Carroll potentially moving to outside cornerback and Watkins working in Carroll's spot in the dime. Carroll was always an outside cornerback before coming to Philadelphia, and the team worked with him to play dime. Watkins could do that next summer.
"I need more body of work for him," Davis said. "Honestly, we need the offseason, we need the preseason and all those things to look at. But there's no reason why you couldn't project him into where he could go out there and play, I think, right now, from what we've seen. But it was mostly preseason that we saw that in."
3) Among the Eagles' five Pro Bowlers, the most surprising was Jason Kelce. And this is no knock on Kelce, who is legitimately among the top centers in the NFL. But he missed four games this season, so that's 26.7 percent of the games to date. Even Kelce admits this honor was more about his reputation than his play.
"Obviously I was hurt for part of the season, so I didn't really put forth the performance that I wanted to this year, to be quite frank," Kelce said in quotes released by the team. "I think that the Pro Bowl, a lot of that had to do with how I was playing before the injury, and last year I kind of built up a reputation, I think, among my peers, among my fans and among the media."
There should be little doubt that Kelce will earn his way to future Pro Bowls, so this one will help build the resume. He is the first Eagles center to make the Pro Bowl in 47 years.