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.

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out

Sixers teased in preseason finale with Jahlil Okafor back, Nerlens Noel out


MIAMI — Jahlil Okafor called it a “tease.”

He was talking about his oh-so-brief 2016-2017 debut, but he could have also been summarizing the Sixers' constant state of taking one step forward and one (injured) leg back.

Okafor, a 6-11 center and the NBA’s third overall pick in the 2015 draft, played 7:32 minutes on Friday and produced four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover. He had been held out in camp previously because of knee soreness.

His return was the good news for the Sixers.

But, before Friday’s 113-110 exhibition finale win over the Miami Heat even started (see Instant Replay), the Sixers announced that center/forward Nerlens Noel will have a “minor surgical procedure in the coming days,” (see story).

Sixers center Joel Embiid, who has missed the past two years because of foot surgeries, said he empathizes with Noel.

“It’s hard,” Embiid said. “Obviously we need Nerlens if we want to win. But that’s basketball. Things happen. You can’t control injuries.

“I feel bad for him because this is the beginning of the season. Everybody wants to play the beginning of the season. But I’m sure he is going to work hard to come back even stronger.”

On the positive side for the Sixers, there was the return of Okafor … even it felt like baby steps for him.

“I started to feel really good,” said Okafor, who had surgery on his right knee in March and experienced soreness on that same knee Sept. 30. “It was kind of like a tease to me because I really got going. I wanted to continue to play, but that’s why I have the medical staff to keep me disciplined.”

Sixers coach Brett Brown said before the game that he would keep Okafor to just six to eight minutes, and he was true to his word.

Okafor, who made the only shot he attempted from the floor and was 2 for 4 on free throws, did not play in the second half.

“The scoring piece to my game, that’s like riding a bicycle,” Okafor said. “I know I can score the ball. It was good to get back out there with my teammates and hear them cheer for me on the side.”

Okafor said he tried to convince Brown to let him extend past the script of no more than eight minutes.

“He was like, ‘Have your lawyer call my lawyer,'" Okafor said. “We will talk about the season home opener (on Wednesday night against Oklahoma City), and hopefully I can increase my minutes.”

Okafor said he didn’t want to put a number on how many minutes he thought he could’ve played in his season debut except to say he knew he could play more.

Interestingly, Embiid, who had 18 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes, said he felt Okafor was a bit fatigued.

“I think he was a little bit tired,” Embiid said. “Obviously, he hasn’t played in a while. But just like me, he’s going to dig down. He is a proven scorer. He can do whatever he wants on the court.

“Once he gets back in shape, we as a team are going to be really good.”

Okafor was a minus-5 while he was on the court. But Brown said he was impressed by some of the less-hyped aspects of Okafor’s game.

“I thought he was really good defensively,” Brown said. “He sat in his stance and moved his feet. I thought he did a great job of fronting the post.”

Brown said the Noel injury was almost unfair.

“Clearly, it was a situation in the preseason where he would have played a lot,” Brown said. “The timing is unfortunate.”

Penn routs Yale, 42-7, behind Alek Torgersen's 4 TDs

Penn Athletics

Penn routs Yale, 42-7, behind Alek Torgersen's 4 TDs


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Alek Torgersen threw four touchdown passes, three to Justin Watson, and Penn rolled to a 42-7 victory over Yale in the first night game in Yale Bowl history.

Torgersen completed 16 of 23 passes for 229 yards and rushed for 66 yards. Watson had 10 receptions for 166 yards with touchdowns covering 5, 41 and 35 yards.

Torgersen moved into a tie for second with 47 career TD passes and Watson moved into fourth in career receptions (161) and touchdowns (17) for the Quakers (4-2, 3-0 Ivy Leauge).

Tre Solomon rushed for 120 yards, seven shy of the career high he set a week earlier, on 15 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run, for Penn, which won its fourth straight. Cameron Countryman had a 10-yard touchdown reception and Karekin Brooks had a 13-yard run for his first career touchdown.

Penn, which led 35-0 at halftime, finished with 508 yards and held the Bulldogs (1-5, 1-2) to 229.