Nick Foles Doesn’t Throw to Alshon Jeffery as Frequently as Carson Wentz Did

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Kind of a random post here, but we were talking in Slack and Jeff dropped this statistic:

Nick Foles: 16-18 for 301 yards targeting Alshon Jeffery in the last three games.

Crazy right?

It got me thinking; why does Alshon play so well when Nick is throwing him the ball? Is he throwing him more passes? It doesn’t feel that way, and the math supports the hunch.

Here’s Alshon’s game log this season. He played 10 games with Carson and three with Nick, beginning the season late due to his offseason recovery:

Carson had that stretch in the middle of the season where he didn’t connect with Alshon too often, but he targeted him frequently right when he came back from the ACL rehab.

The math:

  • 18 targets from Foles to Jeffery over 3 games = 6 targets per game
  • 74 targets from Wentz to Jeffery over 10 games = 7.4 targets per game

No, the sample sizes aren’t huge, but I’m still surprised at the outcome. I thought for sure Nick was throwing to Alshon with more frequency, but that’s not the case.

The math, part 2:

  • Foles to Jeffery: 16 receptions on 18 targets over 3 games = 88.8 catch percentage
  • Wentz to Jeffery: 49 receptions on 74 targets over 10 games = 66.2 catch percentage

Huge difference there.

I can’t really dig into a bazillion video clips, and I’ve done enough of that over the past two days, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Nick Foles trusts Alshon to go up and make contested catches. You’re probably seeing the same things I’m seeing, which are tough, tight-window back shoulder and sideline type of targets.

On the flip side, it feels like most of what Carson throws Alshon is standard fare – some hooks, a slant or two, shorter and higher percentage stuff. I don’t think he’s putting balls into 50/50 areas for Jeffery to go up and grab, not nearly at the same rate Foles is.

As an example, look at how Nick targeted him in the Rams game just one week after the Dallas loss, which was Carson’s last game:

More downfield targets. More sideline throws.

Sometimes you have to trust your guy to go up and get it, and for whatever reason Foles and Jeffery seem to have a better understanding of that.


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11 Responses

  1. Love them Nick/Alshon Yards Per Catch averages. And based on no mathematical evidence to back it up, I will say that the constant concern of a 83 yard bomb like the one to Nelson vs. Houston keeps the D honest and opens the running game as opposed to a barrage of Carson Wentz 6 yard passes to Ertz at a record pace.

    1. Exactly! Foles is much more likely to throw the ball way down the field than Wentz. With Wentz mostly relying on the little 6-8 yard throws, the safeties naturally cheat up to play it as well as it puts them in better position to stop the run.

      Yes, they’re playing a talented Bears D but I also saw that the Bears D has struggled against QBs with quick releases like Foles does. If Foles can do his thing, the Birds have a solid chance at the upset on Sunday.

  2. Yeaaaa, it’s because BDN throws up a few prayers a game while Carson is maybe a little overly concerned with protecting the ball. Not saying that’s a bad thing on the whole, but it does make him more predictable compared to Foles’ whole wild-card, gunslinger style.

    1. Hi, Jill. Though you did not graduate, I know that you attended Temple for a few years. Did you hang out with Rhea Hughes while there? Rhea seems like a really fun person to be around so you must have had blast with her.

  3. Who put the hockey team named the Flyers to shame. They used to be champions of the world. They were run by a man named Ed but now he’s dead. They could have been champions of the world.

  4. Howie isn’t a dummy. Wentz can return a crazy amount of value and Foles cannot based on contract status. If Foles goes into chicago and beats the bears, the question if he is a really good quarterback gets put to bed. We may be better with Foles and a haul of draft picks vs Wentz and a big contract. Look at Aaron Rodgers: 1 SB title and none in the past 7 years. Need to sell high

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