Would QB Nick Foles’ Game Translate to OC Daboll’s Scheme?


I believe Buffalo was the team that offered the Philadelphia Eagles a 2nd round pick for QB Nick Foles. As you may know, Foles’s best NFL seasons were in the West Coast (WCO) system under Andy Reid and Doug Pederson. But would his game translate to new Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll’s scheme? 

Let’s go back to his Collegiate days when Foles played under Mike Stoops and, more specifically, Sonny Dykes while at the University of Arizona. Their scheme was an Air Raid scheme (see diagram below) and one that Foles had a firm grasp on. Air Raid schemes, much like WCOs, are 

Diagram 1-Air Raid concepts-notice the two different concepts to each side. The coverage dictates where the QB begins his progressions.

predicated upon the QB being a distributor, a point guard. But the Air Raid is categorized by short verbage and concept-based passing, which is the total opposite of a WCO. Concept-based offenses allow players to run more plays and ultimately play faster.

What’s interesting is that Foles transferred to Arizona after being buried on the depth chart behind Kirk Cousins at Michigan State. It was a smart decision considering the amount of success Foles had  in the Air Raid offense. Foles finished his Wildcat career with a 66% completion percentage, 10,011 yards, 67 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions. 

Diagram 2. E-P System

Given the schemes he has played in at the collegiate and pro levels, there is no doubt that Foles can excel in Daboll’s Erhardt-Perkins (E-P) scheme. It’s a scheme that philosophically is very similar to an Air Raid approach by utilizing minimal verbage and its concept-based passing game. Generally speaking, it also gives the QB two separate concepts to run based on the defensive coverage, as you can see below (Diagram 2). So the offense and its personnel can run this basic pairing from a multitude of formations once they memorize what routes make up a concept. For example, ‘Tosser’ is double slant routes and ‘Ghost’ is a sail/flood concept.

If Foles is indeed traded for, I believe that his athleticism, poise and experience will give him a great chance of succeeding in Daboll’s offense. Let’s just hope that the Bills don’t give up a day one pick in order to acquire him.