Jason Whitlock explains why he was so impressed with Nick Foles’ NFC Championship performance

– Whitlock, who are you more impressed with? Nick Foles or the coach?

– I’m more impressed with both but I’m more impressed with the man actually in the fire, in the arena, taking the hits. Nick Foles made some passes, some of them under duress, that I just didn’t think he had in him. To do it on this stage when you know– it was a couple years– the guy was thinking of retirement, he was out of football.

He doesn’t really have a future in Philadelphia regardless of what he does. I just thought for him to come up that big in that moment, it’s hard. I have to lean towards Nick Foles.

– I lean to the coach. I think Doug Pederson– I’ve always kind of been like I’m not sure, he didn’t call plays in Kansas City. So here’s a coach that lost an MVP at the most important position, a Pro Bowl left tackle at, arguably, the second most important position, and his signal caller, his verbal kind of guru, Jordan Hicks at linebacker. All in a season.

Missed a running back for some time in the better NFC. And honestly, he inherited a mess after Chip Kelly. There was a mutiny in a locker room. He comes in with kind of AFC pedigree, He goes to the NFC in a very well-funded competitive division. Dak and Jerry and Cousins playing well. Grudin’s a great coach and the Giants had come off an 11 win season.

And I look at them and I’m like, I think Minnesota’s going to peel back. Jacksonville’s going to peel back. I think Philadelphia is a– it would be my Super Bowl favorite next year. This team was a mess when he took them over. They were a mess.

Who loses an MVP in season and wins? That’s incredible to me. Foles is a limited quarterback who’s had a couple of great games because that staff, which Pederson assembled, Frank Reich, is terrific.

– I’m all on Doug Pederson’s bandwagon as well. I think it’s more about and it’s been more impressive watching what Doug Pederson has been able to do with this team as far as creating depth to step in for players that you mentioned that he’s missing. And these aren’t just your second tier guys. These are Pro Bowl, All-Pro caliber players that he has guys filling in for and they haven’t missed a beat.

The reason why I can’t say Nick Foles is because he has flaws. If you get him outside of the pocket, he’s not Nick Foles. His safe haven is right there in that pocket. He can slice you up and down the field if he’s able to stay upright, off the ground, and stay in that pocket.

You get him to move off that spot and get outside the pocket, what Carson Wentz is great at, no more Nick Foles. So that’s why I have to say what Doug Pederson has been able to do with this team– not an old team, a young team. Very good mixture but they were a really good team last year until they missed their right tackle and All-Pro and then their season started to kind of spiral away. Or we may have been seeing this last year.

So I mean, for me, Doug Pederson has done it all year. He’s been able to answer the bell, he’s called the right plays, he’s pulled the right things. Jay Ajayi– adding Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles going– that was huge. No one– Miami didn’t want this guy. Doug Pederson says, we’ll take him. And look what he’s doing for this ball club. It’s just been impressive week after week to see what he’s done.

– I agree 100% with you. But you know, to me, this questions like saying who’s the hottest supermodel? You know, they’re both the right answer because they both had some impressive seasons. But Doug Pederson, going back to the beginning, probably have to give him the edge just because of what’s happened to him throughout the season.

But yesterday, just in that game– in that game, I’m going to give the edge to Nick Foles. Coming in there with all that pressure, the NFC championship game, which I’ve been in before. You have to be locked in, focused. And we all know the history of what he’s done. He has been that up and down player. He talked about it, he was almost out of the league. Lost the desire, Andy Reid took him back, he got it back.

I love that story because mentally he got it together. And he, the way he ended the season everybody was like, oh, no. They might not even make it out of that– their first game. But he did and he showed up and if he can play like that in the Super Bowl, this is a team that can go in there and can beat Tom Brady.

– You know what they’ve done– the last two weeks Philadelphia’s been great situationally. That defensive stand on the goal line against Atlanta, when it was like they knew what Atlanta was running, they were jumping routes. Yesterday they were unbelievable on third down.

Minnesota had the best third down defense in 40 years. Like when I look at that game, I’m like oh, they can do a little chess match with New England.

– No question about it because what we’re not even talking about on the defensive side, Jim Schwartz was incredible.

COLIN COWHERD: Yes.

– His blitzes were well timed and very effective. Look, their coaching staff, I think Tony’s made the point that I believe in, has done a remarkable job all season.

– Both these staffs, by the way, could be the two best staffs.

– But when you reduce it down to what we just saw in the last 24 hours, no one’s expected– no one thought Nick Foles could do that to the Minnesota defense.

– I agree with you.

– And so when we talk about more impressive yesterday I think it’s Nick Foles. The Doug Pederson has had some critics all year. I respect the fact that he ate that criticism and used it as vitamins and took him and his coaching staff to a higher level. They made clowns out of everybody that second guessed them.

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