From one extreme to another in a matter of seven days.
Nick Foles, fresh off his first snow game at any level, will now play his first NFL game indoors when the Eagles travel to Minnesota Sunday.
“Yeah, it will be a little different. Wind shouldn’t be a factor unless they have the AC blowing up,” Foles joked. “I’m just going to play football.”
The roof was open when the Eagles visited the Cowboys last season. That would have been his only other opportunity to play inside as a pro. Foles said he played several playoff games in the Alamo Dome in high school, and also played in the Alamo Bowl in college.
“The big thing with domes if you haven’t played in them before, it’s a sight to see,” he said. “Everything’s enclosed, they’re usually pretty awesome. I think the big thing is just really focusing in and keying on the football field and in your mind just realize it’s the same football game.”
Noise is the other obvious factor. It’s very difficult for visiting offenses to communicate verbally in dome games. The Eagles practice every day with the speakers blaring, and often communicate via hand signals in their no-huddle operation. That should come in handy in an environment like the one they’ll find themselves in Sunday.
“We’ve worked with sound since the first day of practice,” said Chip Kelly.
Added Foles: “When you can have controlled chaos in a practice and get used to not being able to hear the guy next to you because the music is loud…dealing with that in practice, dealing with the signals, dealing with the silent count..is huge. That’s why we have that at practice so when we do get in that environment, we have been practicing in that environment so it doesn’t catch us off guard.”
Foles has a ridiculous 146.9 quarterback rating in road games this season, having thrown 16 touchdowns with no interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes. The Eagles are 5-1 on the road, so they’ve obviously handled themselves pretty well to this point.
“Communication is going to be a big deal,” said rookie tackle Lane Johnson. “Being on key with what the center says is going to be [important]. I think this is the noisiest place we’ve played so far.”