What do the advanced stats of Nick Foles say about the Chicago Bears signing?
Over the past two seasons, we have done an advanced stats review of Mitch Trubisky to dive into his strengths and weaknesses. A lot of the underlying issues found in 2019 were expected from his 2018 deep dive. So, with the Chicago Bears signing Nick Foles, it is a perfect time to dig into those stats for him and look into how they compare to Trubisky.
Although the sample is small, we are going to look at the last three years of Foles as it is much more recent. With that in mind, how has Foles looked compared to Mitch Trubisky?
Pressure vs. No Pressure
Mitch Trubisky unsurprisingly was worse against pressure than in no-pressure situations. Most quarterbacks are, the question is how big is the drop-off?
For Trubisky, his completion rate dropped 21.4% going from a clean pocket to under pressure. Foles completion rate dropped just 16.8% when he is under pressure. Trubisky’s yards per attempt goes up 0.1 when under pressure, which seems nice, but Foles saw an even greater rise, with a 0.3 increase. It is true that under pressure can cause fewer completions, but bigger plays off of it.
When looking at touchdown rate, Foles touchdown rate improved under pressure by 0.3%, while Trubisky dropped his TD rate by 0.1% under pressure. However, the trade-off is that Trubisky had a 0.3 INT rate increase under pressure while Foles had a 1.4% INT rate increase. Trubisky does take 3% more sacks than Foles under pressure, but it is fair to note that Foles plays a bit more dangerously under pressure, resulting in bigger plays, but more turnovers.
Blitz vs No Blitz
Pressure can come from anywhere. When a blitz comes, more than four rushers are coming. How a quarterback recognizes a blitz can be vital in getting the ball out before pressure comes. How do the two handle pressure?
Trubisky saw a 10.8% decrease in his completion rate against the blitz. Foles saw a decrease, but only 1.8%. This is what a lot of analysts have noted with the Bears liking Foles over Trubisky. Foles gets the ball out quick and on time and can recognize the blitz.
In yards per attempt, Foles also increased his average by 2.4 yards per attempt against the blitz. Trubisky only saw a 0.1 increase. Foles also had a 4% TD rate increase, while Trubisky had just a 0.6% increase.
Beyond that, Foles did not throw a single pick against the blitz. He saw a 3.2% decrease in his interception rate. Trubisky saw a 0.6% increase in his interception rate.
Nick Foles is not very good against pressure, but his work against the blitz is impressive. When he recognizes more than four are coming, he gets the ball out and on schedule. This is clearly what the Bears want from him.
Remember when throwing to the left side was an issue for Trubisky? How about this, Trubisky has a 64% completion rate and averaged 6.4 yards per attempt to the left side. Foles has a 61% completion rate and averages 6 yards per attempt. Trubisky is better throwing to the left side. That is one of the few areas to his advantage.
Trubisky has a 72% completion rate to the middle of the field with 7.3 yards per attempt. Foles is better, with a 76% completion rate to the middle of the field, and 8 yards per attempt. One thing we noted in the Tarik Cohen and Allen Robinson statistical reviews were that these two struggled more in the middle of the field in 2019 than in 2018. Can Foles bring that back?
To the right side, Trubisky completes 64% of his passes, 6.4 yards per attempt. Foles completes 73% and averages 6.8 yards per attempt. Foles is better to the middle and right than Trubisky, while Trubisky was better throwing left.
10 yards or less
Throwing the ball 10 yards or shorter, Trubisky has an 81% completion rate and averages 8.2 yards per attempt. Foles has an 80% completion rate but averages 5.1 yards per attempt. Does the huge difference in yards per attempt compared to the similar completion rate speak to Matt Nagy scheming up quick passes? Could this help with Foles in this area?
When the distance starts to get further, Trubisky gets less efficient. He is completing just 51% of his passes, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. Foles has a 69% completion rate to this area of the field and 8.6 yards per attempt. Again, this is the area Cohen and Robinson saw a regression in 2019.
This may be the kicker. Trubisky has a 37% completion rate averaging 11.3 yards per deep pass attempt. Foles completes 60% of his passes 20 yards or deeper. One of the issues with Foles is that similar to against the blitz and pressure, more passes get picked off in this area than Trubisky. It seems under pressure and against the blitz is when he tends to throw more 50/50 balls where Trubisky would take sacks or throw the ball away.
It results in more picks, but certainly more completions, yards, touchdowns, and efficiency.
Time to throw
Nick Foles gets the ball out in 2.68 seconds while Trubisky gets the ball out in 2.64 seconds. This speaks to the Bears wanting to get the ball out quick, and Foles fitting into the type of quarterback they want. For what it is worth Andy Dalton had a 2.51 time to throw last year, which was quickest in the league.
Air Yard Differential
Air yard differential looks into the air yards completed subtracted from the air yards attempted. Trubisky has a -2.7 air yard differential, Foles has a -2 air yard differential. It is fair to note that Trubisky averages 8.8 air yards per attempt, while Foles is at 6.7 air yards per attempt.
Aggressiveness looks at the percent of throws into tight windows. It is good to be aggressive, but not over-aggressive. Trubisky has typically been on the more aggressive side. His 17.7 aggressive rate is higher than Foles at 14.9, who is much closer to names such as DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson.
Expected Completion Rate
Foles also has a +4.9 expected completion rate, meaning he completes more passes than he is expected to. Trubisky completes 1% more passes than expected.
When looking at their completion rate over the past three years head to head, Nick Foles has a 66.6% completion rate while Trubisky has a 63.4% rate.
Touchdown Rate and Interception Rate
Foles has a 3.6% touchdown rate and 2.3% interception rate, Trubisky has a 3.8% touchdown rate and 2.3 interception rate.
Adjusted yards per attempt and QB Rating
Yards per attempt– Trubisky 6.7, Foles 6.5
Adjusted Y/A – Trubisky 6.41, Foles 6.36
Net Y/A – Trubisky 5.83, Foles 5.81
Adjusted Net Y/A – Trubisky 5.56, Foles, 5.69
It is tough to come away from the last three years and think that Trubisky is better than Foles. They have similar raw numbers, but the biggest discrepancy comes from yards after the catch on passes 10 yards or shorter. Trubisky also throws fewer interceptions.
However, Foles plays on schedule better beats the blitz at a much higher rate, and while he does throw more picks, he also takes more shots, and that pays off more often.
When it comes to Nick Foles, health is an obvious concern. His physical ceiling is certainly questionable. However, if we are debating who is better between Foles and Trubisky, the advanced stats lean to Nick Foles.