Nick Foles Set For His Second Act
“Nothing really,” said Foles, when asked about any notable fan interaction since his preseason debut against the Steelers. “Nothing out of the ordinary. Just sort of go about my business like I always have, and stay the same. No fun stories. I’ve had a couple people say hi and be really friendly. But I usually have my glasses and hat on…that’s how I’ve always been — just really laid back, normal.”
On a scale of 1-to-Tebow, Foles isn’t registering. But another strong outing against the Patriots in prime time Monday night, and he’s sure to have better stories than a couple people coming up to him and saying, “Hi.”
Foles went 6-of-10 for 144 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses against Pittsburgh. It was against third-stringers and expectations internally are more tempered than in the public. But it was the most the coaches could have asked for from the rookie out of Arizona.
“I know this – he’s a gamer. He’s got some natural instincts. The most important thing with quarterbacks is gut instincts, and that’s number one,” said Marty Mornhinweg. “Then the decision-making, the accuracy, and the timing become just critical factors in a quarterback being able to play at a very high level. I know that he has all of those. I know that there is a lot of hard work left for him and he is in an early stage there…He may even be ahead of most quarterbacks at this stage. I’m certain that he will go through more ups and downs on his way to the player that we and he want him to be.”
Foles’ “natural instincts” seemed to be on display during his first touchdown pass against Pittsburgh, where he evaded pressure, rolled to his right and found Damaris Johnson over top of the defense for a 70-yard score.
With Mike Kafka struggling a bit in the opener, many are wondering if there is a legit competition for the backup spot behind Michael Vick. That kind of thinking is premature. However, with Kafka dealing with a broken hand and likely sidelined for the next couple games, there is an opportunity for Foles to plant a few more seeds.
“We’ve got a load of plays in for him and he’s able to recite those properly,” said Andy Reid. “Now it is just making sure he’s got everybody down and that comes with reps but I would tell you we knew he was smart coming in and he hasn’t disappointed us in that area. He’s a pretty sharp kid, very diligent, works hard, and all of those things.”
Foles hasn’t shown the deer-in-the-headlights look that washes over most rookies — especially quarterbacks trying to learn a system as complicated as this one. Then again, he hasn’t tasted adversity on this level yet.
“There’s a lot in this offense, there’s a lot on the quarterback getting things right. It’s a lot of stuff and I don’t have it all down,” said Foles. “But I’m working at it every day and learning. It just takes reps, seeing Mike [Vick] do it, studying film. I understand the plays and everything but there is so much that goes into each play, every look, and I think the key when I’m out there is just playing fast.”
Vick is expected to play at least the first half Monday night and perhaps into the third quarter. Foles will be the next man in, and will likely face a higher degree of competition than he saw against the Steelers. If the second act is like the first, the buzz will begin to pick up.