Nick Foles knocking on the door of superstardom in Philadelphia

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After three weeks, the NFL’s passing leader isn’t Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or any of the other big names we’ve become accustomed to seeing battle for the passing yards title.

Instead, Nick Foles sits at the top of the leaderboard with 978 passing yards. That puts him on pace to compile 5,216 yards, which would be the fourth-most in NFL history. His arm has also helped the Eagles stay unscathed as one of the league’s three remaining undefeated teams.

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It’s been quite surprising to see Foles develop into a super-effective, high-volume passer. A former third-round pick, Foles was only handed the starting job as a rookie in 2012 after Andy Reid essentially threw in the towel on what would become a 4-12 campaign, Reid’s final go-round in Philadelphia.

When Chip Kelly took over, it was assumed that Michael Vick would be a better fit in the former Oregon overlord’s system. Vick did claim the job out of training camp -- but only lasted until Week 5 before suffering a hamstring injury. Foles took over for Vick in a win against the Giants and immediately looked as though he’d been reared in Kelly’s system for years.

The Eagles posted an 8-2 record in games he started, and Foles helped them claim the NFC East division title while throwing 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions, the best TD-INT ratio in NFL history. He also made the Pro Bowl despite playing just nine complete regular-season games, his gaudy numbers just too good to ignore.

Nick Foles 2013 Game-by-Game Stats | FindTheBest

Despite losing offensive coordinator Bill Lazor this offseason to Miami -- where fellow third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has not taken nearly as well to the scheme -- Foles hasn’t missed a beat this year.

Some briefly wondered during the preseason if Foles would have a short leash with former Jets starter Mark Sanchez waiting in the wings as a backup. Now, that seems more laughable than Sanchez’s infamous butt-fumble.

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In 16 total games under Kelly, Foles has compiled 3,869 yards with 33 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He’d have even more passing yards if a few of those games weren’t in relief of Vick.

Foles has managed to help Jeremy Maclin fulfill his potential as a deep threat after doing the same with Riley Cooper last year while simultaneously not forcing risky throws.

His career yards per attempt (7.9) and interception percentage (1.4 percent) match up stunningly well with the league’s active legends.

Nick Foles Compared to the League's Best | FindTheBest

On Sunday, Washington stuffed eight men into the box to try and stop LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles from running amok, essentially daring Foles to beat them. He obliged, completing 65.9 percent of his attempts for 325 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. His total QBR was 95.2 out of a possible 100 -- a certain “A” on whatever grading scale you use.

That performance came behind an offensive line missing four starters (two of which are Pro Bowlers). McCoy certainly noticed the difference in perhaps the worst game of his career, gaining just 22 yards on 19 carries.

Foles, though, calmly picked apart Washington’s defense. It bodes well for Foles that he was able to adjust to the added load. It also bodes well for Eagles fans that Chip Kelly is obviously willing and able to effectively adjust his gameplan based on what the defense gives him.

That pair could be attached together for quite a while. Their story last season sounds eerily similar to the famed joining of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, with Vick assuming the role of Drew Bledsoe. Of course, that comes with the caveat that Philadelphia didn’t win the Super Bowl last year.

But if Foles keeps on the upward trajectory he and Kelly have paved, it’s not hard to imagine the Lombardi Trophy heading to Philadelphia in the near future.

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