What It’s Like To Be Nick Foles Today

foles_400_102913When Nick Foles finally got a chance to review the tape, a full week had passed.

A week where Foles went from potential starter for one of the NFL’s 32 franchises to the target of criticism after his clunker in Week 7 against the Cowboys.

He’s spent his days recovering from a concussion – the second one he’s ever sustained. Foles rested, received treatment and went through the league-mandated protocol before being cleared to return to the team.

As he watched, he saw throw after throw – behind receivers, in front of receivers, high, low, misses every which way. Yards and touchdowns left on the field with first place in the NFC East on the line.

“I was by myself two days ago,” Foles said. “Was able to just go through it and break it down. I had some notes from the coaches and was able to see what they saw. I’m already critical of myself. You play this game long enough and you kind of can coach yourself, and I was able to see why I wasn’t accurate.

“I didn’t execute like I needed to. I was inaccurate on certain throws that I’m usually very accurate on. And just watching the film, there’s big plays that I missed, and I see. It’s one of those things where I had a little bit longer because I didn’t play last week obviously so I didn’t have the next game to move on to.”

Foles stood at the podium in his red No. 9 practice jersey with a white long-sleeve shirt underneath, grey sweatpants and black Nike cleats. He began the session with reporters with his arms folded, making no excuses, accepting blame and looking forward to moving on.

Life in the NFL goes week-to-week with different emotions and storylines. It was merely 13 days ago that Foles was named NFC Player of the Week for his performance in Tampa against the Bucs. The Cowboys game was a test of sorts. Playing well and passing with high marks might have meant Foles being named the starter for the rest of the season.

In the end, it was an opportunity missed. When Foles was away from the team, he probably wondered about when and if another chance would come. But that’s where the whole week-to-week thing comes in once again. Today, Foles and Matt Barkley split time with the first team. With Michael Vick sidelined, Foles appears likely to start Sunday against the Raiders.

It will be another chance with not as much on the line. But Foles has to be anxious to show things will be different this time around.

As for what exactly happened against Dallas, the question of pressure was brought up. With so much on the line for him personally, was the moment too big?

“No… I just didn’t play well,” Foles said. “I saw it on film. I’m so critical of myself. There’s also things there during the game that I saw the reason I didn’t go places with the ball, and sometimes you feel like you see things. I was able to watch film and see why I didn’t do it. I saw what I did, and then I’m able to correct, like maybe I can throw the ball like this or different things. Sure, it was tough, but the pressure wasn’t a thing. It was just I didn’t play well. I’ve gotta make sure in those games… I’ve gotta be very accurate with the ball, and I wasn’t. And that’s on me.

“It’s hard to watch those games, but like I’ve said, you treat wins and losses [the same]. Like when you’re watching the game, you’ve got to be critical, so I’m always very critical of myself, and I see the mistakes. I did not play well. But one game has never defined me and it never will. I’m gonna continue to work and get better. And that’s what today is for.”

Foles usually has a 24-hour rule. That’s the amount of time he’ll allow himself to think about the previous week’s game. Then it’s time to move on. But this was an exception. Foles said his confidence is at the same level it was a couple weeks ago, even though that will be hard to believe to observers.

Physically, there was no other injury other than the concussion that knocked him out of the game. Psychologically, we’ll likely find out where Foles is at on Sunday.

“After a loss, it is tough,” he said. “That’s why there is that 24-hour rule. Cause when you lose and you have a tough game and stuff like that, you do feel emotions. You’re human. You played bad. It creeps in that you let everybody down. But then you’ve gotta get back to it and you’re like, ‘Hey, I can’t mope. I can’t do this.’ You’ve gotta study the film and you’ve gotta man up and get after it. So that’s why I approach it that way, and I feel really good, confident throwing the ball today.”

From a mechanics standpoint, the issue Foles kept coming back to was accuracy. He completed 11 of 29 passes on a day where receivers ran free all game long.

“My big thing I saw in that game was there were some throws that I wasn’t accurate on,” Foles said. “And I feel like if I completed those, it would have gotten us moving in a better direction.

“There’s a guy running that way and it’s right here [points to his back hip]. It’s really hard to catch. If I put it right here [in front of him], it’s a big play. And that was the difference in a lot of plays. I was inaccurate. And I take pride in being an accurate quarterback, so that’s something I’ve really gotta get back to and really focus on this week.”

The film has been reviewed, and the Eagles are back on the practice fields getting ready for their trip to Oakland. The last two weeks have brought ups and downs for the second-year quarterback. The way he’s viewed by fans, teammates and the organization is different. But now he’ll get a chance to show he can bounce back.

“It’s tough, it’s very tough,” Foles said. “There’s a lot of adversity, but I’ve always had my family there. They were great, supporting me. A concussion’s not something that you want to go through, but they were great to support me. My teammates were great in supporting me, coaching staff. So a week later, I feel great, feel healthy. It was great being back out there, and I’m excited to just keep going.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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