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.