It wasn't pretty, but Nick Foles was 'perfect when needed'

It wasn't pretty, but Nick Foles was 'perfect when needed'

After Ronald Darby intercepted a pass with just under a minute left to give the Eagles the ball back against the Raiders on Christmas night, offensive coordinator Frank Reich walked over to Nick Foles and delivered a message.

"Just be clutch right here," Reich said, recalling part of it. 

Foles didn't have his best game Monday night. In fact, it was probably one of his worst; afterward, he admitted he needs to play better (see story). But the Eagles' backup-turned-starter was able to drive the Birds down the field 21 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.

Reich said that even when their offense was struggling mightily against Oakland, there was a sense they were still going to pull out a win.

How was Foles in that situation?

"He's an unflappable guy," Reich said. "He doesn't show a ton of emotion good or bad. That's one of the things that makes him so poised. I never felt like on the sideline that he was in a panic or concerned. There's always a sense of urgency. You hate it, it stinks ... when you're struggling to make first downs, it's terrible. But you've got to keep fighting one play at a time, one series at a time. And I think he did that and maintained that confidence to do what he did in the last drive."

Sure, a drive that goes 21 yards on five plays isn't exactly setting the bar high. And the Eagles are going to need Foles to play better if they have any hopes of getting through the playoffs. But as far as five-play, 21-yard drives go, this one was pretty good. And it set up Jake Elliott's 48-yard game-winning field goal.

First, Foles his Nelson Agholor for five yards, hit him again for eight, hit Zach Ertz for four, hit him again for another four and then the only incompletion came when Corey Clement dropped a ball that could have given them another first down.

"It wasn't a great performance but he goes down and makes three or four perfect throws to maximize the yardage on every throw," Reich said. "It's gotta be good ball placement on that crossing route so Nelson didn't have to slow down for it. Zach's going to the sideline. You need all those five yards on those catches. You don't need three, you don't need the throw to be down or behind him. You need it to be perfect and he was when we needed him to be."

Foles was perfect at the end of the game, but he was far from perfect for most of it. He completed just 50 percent of his 38 pass attempts for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His passer rating of 59.4 was the worst the Eagles have gotten from a starting quarterback this season.

Reich echoed head coach Doug Pederson, who on Tuesday, made sure to point out that the poor offensive performance wasn't on Foles alone. He said they all had a role, but Foles' role, as the quarterback, was just more noticeable.

"We talk a lot the whole year, the coach's mantra is ownership, the good and the bad," Reich said. "There's been a lot of good this year and we own it together. Sunday wasn't a good offensive performance and we own that coaches, players. We own that."

Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

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Forget empty Day 2 of draft, Eagles hoping to find gold in Day 3

The Eagles are scheduled to have a pretty boring Day 2 of the draft this year. Because after they pick at No. 32, they don’t have another selection until the 31st pick of the fourth round. 

That means 98 players will be taken between the Eagles’ first and second picks. And they’ll have to watch other teams pick that entire Friday (Rounds 2-3) without them … unless they make a move. 

“We’re not looking at it like we’re sitting out on Friday,” Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman said. “We’re going through our draft process looking at every scenario. When we get to Friday, we get to Friday.” 

Even if the Eagles don’t make a move, they’ll be plenty busy on Saturday, the final day of the draft. They have two fourth-round picks and one pick in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. 

Eagles personnel head Joe Douglas showed up to his media availability with a stat ready to go to illustrate the importance of Day 3. 

“We’re excited that we have five picks on Saturday,” Douglas said. “When you look at the Super Bowl, there’s 22 starters that were third-round picks or lower. Of those 22, 18 of them were fourth-round picks or lower. So 18 starters in the Super Bowl this year were fourth-round picks or lower, including six of them that were undrafted free agents. We choose to keep the glass half full.” 

Douglas is right on all those stats — 22 of 44 starters in the Super Bowl were drafted in the third or lower and 18 of them would be considered Day 3 picks. Not bad. 

Here’s how the Super Bowl starters broke down by round: 1-10, 2-12, 3-4, 4-4, 5-3, 6-3, 7-2, UDFA-6. 

The Eagles accounted for seven of the 18 players who were drafted in the fourth round or later, so the Patriots were the ones who found even more value late in drafts. And of those seven, just three were original Eagles — Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jason Kelce and Jalen Mills. 

Of the six undrafted players who started in the Super Bowl, two were from the Eagles — LeGarrette Blount and Rodney McLeod. Neither was an original Eagle, but the Birds also relied heavily on running back Corey Clement, who was an undrafted rookie last season. 

With a dearth of high draft picks, it would make sense if the Eagles attack the undrafted market following the draft, but Douglas thinks it won’t be as easy as many might think. 

“You would think because we’re coming off a Super Bowl, we don’t have a second or third round pick that it would be a lot easier after the draft,” Douglas said. “But my experience coming off a Super Bowl, it’s sometimes harder to get guys to commit to your roster because agents and players have a perceived notion that it’s going to be that much tougher to make the team. I think that’s going to be a challenge. I think that’s going to be a challenge for us and we know it and we’re going to attack it.”

The Eagles in recent years have shown a willingness to pony up significant money to entice undrafted players to sign with them and if Douglas is right, they might need to do it again to land some this year. 

Either way, the Eagles know how important Day 3 and beyond can be. So when they’re bored on Day 2, they don’t plan on losing focus. 

Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

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Eagles reward Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles with reworked contract

The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed. 

Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago. 

Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season. 

Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport. 

That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money. 

Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation. 

Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story)

Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile.