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Nick Foles must be more accurate in Eagles' offense

No NFL quarterback had a better passer rating on deep throws last year than Nick Foles' 124.0.

Through four games this season, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback's passer rating has plummeted to 58.3 on passes of 20 or more yards.

So why the nosedive?

As we pointed out on the Around The NFL Podcast, Foles has been a liability in two of four games this season and mediocre in a third.

Foles conceded this week that he needs to be "a little more accurate," pointing to sloppy footwork as a culprit.

"Our guys are getting open," Foles said, via the Philadelphia Daily News. "I've just got to hit them. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it needs to be where they can go and make a play."

For the most part, that explanation checks out on game film.

Receivers are running free; Foles is still gunslinging; and the tattered offensive line has allowed the fifth-fewest sacks of any quarterback with at least 150 pass attempts.

Foles has simply held onto the ball too long and missed too many throws.

The differences from last season are three-fold.

Last year, Riley Cooper routinely won contested catches as one of the NFL's most dangerous downfield threats. This season, he's averaging roughly 10 fewer yards per catch while bringing up the rear among all qualified receivers in yards per route run.

Cooper's drop-off wouldn't be quite as severe if the Eagles still had DeSean Jackson's rare speed to take the top off of defenses and open space for underneath routes.

Perhaps most importantly, defensive coordinators used the offseason to study Chip Kelly's offense. They have done a great job of taking away the ground attack, leaving Foles in more third-and-long situations, as NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell pointed out this week.

The Eagles knew defenses would adjust to their revolutionary offense. If they're going to swing the pendulum back in their favor, they need Foles to consistently capitalize on throws that are there to make.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 5 game and explains why Sammy Watkins is now a favorite for Rookie of the Year. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.

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