Experts make their final Eagles-Cowboys predictions
Kyle Orton's career interception percentage is 2.6 percent, the same as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Schaub and Alex Smith. (USA Today Images)
Each week throughout the season, I answer Eagles questions from my Twitter timeline and e-mail. In this edition of "Mosher's Mailbag," I answer questions of Kyle Orton's track record of turnovers, what would happen if Jason Kelce suffered an injury and Nick Foles' MVP candidacy.
Let's get started:
Q: What is [Kyle Orton's] turnover history like?
- Robert Marasa (@BobbyMarasa08)
A. Orton has never really been considered a turnover magnet, and he’s played in some pass-happy offenses going back to his college career at Purdue.
Orton has a career interception clip of 2.6 percent, the same as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Schaub and Alex Smith. He threw 13 picks as a rookie -- starting 15 games for Chicago -- and hasn’t matched that since. From 2007-10, he started 46 games and was picked off 35 times on 1,584 attempts (or nine fewer times than Eli Manning has been in 15 games this season).
In that same time frame, the only quarterback with fewer interceptions on at least 1,500 attempts is Tom Brady -- he's thrown one interception or fewer in 55 of his 61 career starts. Orton, however, is prone to fumbling. He had 12 his rookie season and has 32 in 74 career games.
Q. Any word on who the backup center is? And if it’s not another starter, then who replaces him?
- Josh Rosenberg (@therealdesh)
A. Julian Vandervelde, the usual backup, is out with a back injury. If Jason Kelce suffers an injury against Dallas, the Eagles would most likely move left guard Evan Mathis to center and replace Mathis with Allen Barbre, who is first off the bench at guard or tackle.
Mathis is the emergency center. He takes snaps there in practice to be prepared. Last year, the Eagles prepared for Mathis to play center in place of an injured Dallas Reynolds -- even with backup center Matt Tennant on the roster -- but Reynolds recovered from his ankle sprain in time to make the start. It’ll be interesting to see which offensive lineman is up with Vandervelde down.
My hunch would be rookie offensive tackle Matt Tobin. The team really likes him and he’s been taking most of his reps at guard, which he played at Iowa before moving to tackle. Tobin’s upside is one reason the team felt comfortable parting ways with Danny Watkins just two dismal seasons after he was picked in the first round.
Q. Do you think [Russell] Wilson, [Cam] Newton and [Drew] Brees finish above [Nick] Foles in MVP voting? Just trying to understand the logic.
- Michael Bradley (@mbrad_11)
A. Not that this matters much because Peyton Manning will win it -- the guy’s got 51 touchdowns with one game left to play, which is unreal -- but I’m not sold that all three of those guys finish ahead of Foles in the MVP race.
Wilson will because of Seattle’s great season. He and Foles each enter the final week with 25 TD passes, and even though Foles has the higher passer rating -- the highest passer rating in the NFL -- Wilson will be rewarded for the Seahawks’ overall season. Also, while Foles has DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy around him, Wilson’s complements aren’t as splashy. Marshawn Lynch is excellent, but Seattle doesn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver. Voters will view Wilson as someone who carried the offense on his back, and to some degree that’s fair.
Brees will probably get more votes than Foles, mostly because he’s Drew Brees and he’s one of the three best quarterbacks in the NFL. His numbers are MVP-ish as they are every year. The Foles-Newton debate is interesting. Foles’ numbers are better, no matter how you slice it. Going into the final weekend, Foles has more TD passes (25 to 22) in fewer starts, much fewer interceptions (two to 12) and a much higher passer rating (118.7 to 89.2). Newton has 602 more passing yards, but he’s played more games. Both are in the same neighborhood for passing yards per game, with Newton averaging 215.3 and Foles at 219. If the Eagles beat Dallas and Carolina loses out on the NFC South title, it wouldn’t stun me if Foles finished ahead of Newton in the running.