Nick Foles Crashing The Party

On a scale of 1-to-Tebow, Nick Foles is now registering.

Most of the storylines coming out of Monday night in New England are of the depressing nature. Michael Vick lost to injury, again; Eagles commit 22 penalties (16 of which were enforced). Offensive line looks leaky; and on and on…There is this one positive that’s coming on like a freight train, though. And it’s really out of nowhere.

With Vick lasting just four snaps, Foles stepped in and went 18-of-28 for 217 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. In two games on this level now, he is 24-of-38 for 361 yards with four touchdowns and a pick.

Andy Reid is forced to entertain real thoughts about moving the rookie quarterback up the depth chart. There’s nothing he said after the win in New England that suggests Foles isn’t in the running to be Vick’s backup.

“You have to make sure that you go back and study the tape and see what you think,” said Reid. “I would tell you that I think he did a decent job…I don’t need to make a decision right now on that. But I credit the kid. You can see him progress as the game went on and he did a little bit better every opportunity he had.”

Reid was asked if he’s seen one of his rookie quarterbacks put together back-to-back preseason performances like this.

“I don’t think so,” said Reid. “You guys would know better than me but I don’t think we have.”

The list of rookie signal-callers in Reid’s tenure includes Donovan McNabb, A.J.  Feeley and Kevin Kolb. Why has Foles been able to do something that those men couldn’t?

“Colleges I think are a little more sophisticated than even when Donovan came out,” Reid responded. “I just think they are seeing more, particularly from the defenses, where they are more aware of the blitz game. I think he was better prepared coming in. And he’s a smart kid on top of that, very hard worker, very diligent.”

Reid indicated that Foles was going primarily against a  Cover 2 — something the Patriots were clearly working on — with a couple man blitzes and zero blitzes mixed in. It wasn’t a regular-season game plan, nor against all the Patriots starters,  but he did get a bigger test than the one he was handed in the opener against Pittsburgh.

There were a couple plays that stood out in particular. One was the 40-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson on a 3rd-and-5 early in the third quarter. Foles stayed in the pocket amid pressure, kept his eyes downfield and delivered a gutsy throw — just one series after being intercepted on a deep ball.

The other came when Jake Bequette leveled him with a late hit that definitely had some aftershock to it. Foles got to his feet, shook it off, and completed a 14-yard pass to Clay Harbor on the following play.

“It was a pretty good hit; I felt like I was in a wrestling match,” said Foles. “Just got up…next play was coming in so I was ready for the next play, just keep going.”

“You got to see him take a big hit tonight and he bounced up from that and didn’t hesitate. That was a big hit now,” said Reid. “That was a big one.”

Most have been taken aback to some degree by what they have seen out of the former Arizona quarterback so far. Foles asked if he is surprised at all by his play.

“No,” said Foles. “Just staying true to who I am. Staying calm and playing ball, playing with confidence. As a quarterback you have to play with confidence because the guys around you look to you in times of crisis.”

And does he feel capable of performing in a regular season game if the moment presents itself?

“Yeah,” said Foles. “You never want those things to happen but if it does, I got a lot of guys out here that depend on a quarterback to go in and step up. I would feel confident. But still a lot of work to do.”

It’s only the preseason, we all have to remind ourselves. Really small sample size. But there’s no arguing that Foles has worked his way into the conversation. And it will be fascinating to see where that conversation leads.