Know Who Led the NFL in Preseason Passer Rating in 2011? Charlie Whitehurst

Know Who Led the NFL in Preseason Passer Rating in 2011? Charlie Whitehurst

Matt says I'm a Nick Foles hater, but I tend to think of it as being a Nick Foles realist. The rookie quarterback's performances have been eye opening, and there is no doubt he is way ahead of the game. I mean, he leads the NFL in passer rating this preseason with a 118.4 -- that says it all, right?

Yep, if Foles keeps this up, he could find himself in the company of the great preseason passer rating champions of old, like Charlie Whitehurst a year ago. Okay, bad example. Let's see, in 2010 it was Luke McCown. Hm... well '08 and '09 did produce a two-time winner of this most desired and revealing prize! Oh, that would be David Carr.

Great NFL quarterbacks these are not, but I'm sure they're all great people.

You have to go back to '06 to find the last player who amounted to anything after leading the league in passer rating when it didn't matter, when a rookie Jay Cutler did it in Denver. I suppose that lends some credence to the number.

Let's turn the focus back to last season though, when Whitehurst was followed on the medal stand by Stephen McGee and Greg McElroy -- not exactly elite company (in McElroy's case, not even necessarily company you've heard of). Of course, to even qualify for the leaderboard, a quarterback must average at least 14 pass attempts per game, so these lists are routinely about 10 to 20 players long. 15 signal callers made the cut here, and as unimpressive as the top three are, we see Cam Newton, reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year, come in at 12th with a 64.9, and fellow standout first-round pick Andy Dalton in 14th at 59.6.

For what it's worth, seven quarterbacks actually are posting better ratings than Foles. Most of them have only thrown a dozen passes give or take, so the impact has been nowhere near the same, but any time Blaine Gabbert is beating somebody in a passing competition (126.1), you have to wonder about the merits of such measurements.

In all fairness to Foles, there are a lot of positives we can glean from his outings. He's shown poise, been accurate, demonstrated good pocket presence, and seems to throw well on the move. He's a big guy and has the arm to go with the size. But to this point, he's only done it against second- and mostly third-string defenses in basic schemes, so if nothing else, let's just forget the passer rating for awhile.

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

The Eagles are just 12 days away from the season opener against the Browns. 

And Lane Johnson still isn't suspended. 

The Eagles' starting right tackle is facing a 10-game PED suspension once the B sample returns and shows the same peptide from an amino acid that his A sample did. Johnson expects it to, but it hasn't happened yet. On Aug. 13, after news broke about the looming suspension, Johnson said he thought the results from the B sample back in two to three weeks, although there's no set timetable.  

… Nothing yet. 

So, at what point do the Eagles, who shifted the offensive line in anticipation of the suspension, have to plan for Johnson to be active for the opener? 

"[That’s] a great question, and this is something that we wrestle with every day," head coach Doug Pederson said. "The conversations are such that we've got to have – especially offensively – just have a plan ready to go. 

"I'll tell you this: If he's ready to go, then he's our guy." 

Since news of the impending suspension broke, Johnson has been working with the second team at right tackle. To replace him, the team moved Allen Barbre from left guard to right tackle and inserted rookie Isaac Seumalo at left guard. He stayed there until an injury forced Stefen Wisniewski into the lineup. 

If there's no suspension and Johnson is able to play in the opener, things would then shift back. Johnson would take his job at right tackle, and Barbre would go back to left guard, sending Seumalo and/or Wisniewski to the bench. 

"I think he had a tremendous camp and tremendous offseason at left guard, and you kind of put the pieces back in place," Pederson said of Barbre. "We've seen enough from the [G] Isaacs [Semualo] and [C/G Stefen] Wisniewskis, and [G/T] Allen [Barbre] over there at right tackle that we know we've got the combination of guys – and ‘Big V’ [T Halapoulivaati Vaitai] got plenty of reps – to sustain this thing through the duration."

For now, though, the Eagles aren't treating Johnson like a starter. The veteran will be playing on Thursday in the preseason finale. It might be his last game until Nov. 28 against the Packers. Or not. 

The waiting game continues.  

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Despite having awful career numbers against Max Scherzer, Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup against him Tuesday night.

Howard, 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against the Nationals' ace, bats fourth. 

Howard seems to be coming back to Earth. He hit .357 with seven home runs, four doubles and 16 RBIs in his first 20 games out of the All-Star break, but has gone 2 for 16 with two singles and eight strikeouts since.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field. Peter Bourjos is out of the lineup for a fourth straight game.

The rest of the lineup is standard. Odubel Herrera, who bats second, is 6 for 19 with five walks in his career against Scherzer (see game notes).

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Cameron Rupp, C
6. Aaron Altherr, RF
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

NFL Notes: Vikings cancel practice after Teddy Bridgewater injures knee

NFL Notes: Vikings cancel practice after Teddy Bridgewater injures knee

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with an injury in practice on Tuesday, causing the team to cut short its session after 25 minutes.

Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a drill when his right leg appeared to give out. Bridgewater immediately went down while concerned teammates and athletic trainers huddled around him.

Coach Mike Zimmer eventually called off practice, and the rest of the team walked off the field while Bridgewater was being attended to.

The nature of his injury was not immediately clear. But there is little behind Bridgewater on the depth chart, with veteran Shaun Hill the primary backup.

The Vikings host Los Angeles Rams in their final preseason game Thursday night. (See full story.)

Chiefs: Justin Houston placed on PUP list
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs have placed Justin Houston on the physically unable to perform list and put fellow linebacker Josh Mauga on injured reserve as they trimmed down to the NFL's roster limit.

Houston is still recovering from surgery in February to repair a non-functioning ACL in his left knee. He will continue his rehab and be evaluated by Dr. James Andrews during the Chiefs' bye week in early October with the hope that he will play at some point this season.

Mauga tore the labrum in his hip in early August. He will have surgery on Sept. 8.

The Chiefs also waived Mitch Matthews, getting them to 76 players by Tuesday's deadline. The limit is normally 75 but Kansas City got a roster exemption for Eric Berry, who reported to camp Sunday.

Dolphins: Dion Jordan to miss first 6 games
DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan has been placed on the reserve non-football injury list, meaning he's ineligible for the first six games of the season.

The move was expected after Jordan, the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2013, underwent minor knee surgery in late July. He received conditional reinstatement from the NFL last month following a 15-month suspension for his latest violation of the league's substance abuse policy, and has been taking part in team meetings.

The underachieving Jordan has played in only 26 games with one start and three sacks.

Linebacker Zach Vigil, who is recovering from a back injury, was also placed on the non-football injury list Tuesday.