There's no hiding for Foles — he has to be better

There's no hiding for Foles — he has to be better

Nick Foles didn't try to hide from it.

He was honest.

"I didn't play good enough," he said. "Absolutely. I've got to play cleaner."

The Eagles beat the Raiders, 19-10, on Christmas night at the Linc (see Roob's observations). They're 13-2 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If they keep winning, the next road game they play will be in Minnesota at Super Bowl LII. 

But if Foles plays like he did Monday night, they're not gonna get there.

After a four-touchdown game against the Giants last week, Foles simply wasn't good against the Raiders. With Carson Wentz watching from a box high above the field, Foles completed 19 of 38 passes with a touchdown and an interception for a passer rating of 59.4.

That's the lowest passer rating for Foles since his awful season in St. Louis and it's the lowest passer rating the Eagles have had this year (see report card). Wentz's lowest this season was 83.

"We're 13-2 and we still have a lot of room to improve," Foles said. "Sometimes games in the NFL go like this. I've been a part of games like this before. … It's something that we have to clean up because we can't go out there and do that and expect to win games."

Foles and the Eagles' offense came out pretty hot early, scoring a touchdown on their second drive of the game. But that was also their last touchdown of the game. They punted eight times, fumbled once and Foles threw a pick.

Last week, the offense bailed out the defense. This week, roles reversed.

All season, the Eagles have excelled on third downs and in the red zone. They were bad in both areas Monday. They were a paltry 1 for 14 on third downs and just 1 for 3 inside the red zone.

Torrey Smith pointed at self-inflicted wounds as the reason for the poor play on third downs.

"I think we put ourselves in tough situations," Smith said. "There aren't too many teams that are going to convert on 3rd-and-forever. Our key to success has been on 3rd-and-manageable."

Foles admitted he needs to be better on third downs. A big part of Wentz's success this season had been his ability to create something on even 3rd-and-long plays. Foles doesn't have the same type of playmaking ability, so he just can't afford to be inaccurate.

There were several throws from Foles Monday night that were just off (see breakdown). He listed a few of them during his postgame press conference. A couple to Zach Ertz, that one to Alshon Jeffery.

While Ertz put up numbers Monday, the Eagles' receivers combined to catch five passes for 40 yards. Alshon Jeffery didn't have a single reception. Foles said he has to work to make sure Jeffery is more involved in the offense.

The last time Foles played the Raiders, he threw seven touchdown passes and his cleats ended up in Canton. This time … not so much.

"You always want to win playing the perfect game," Foles said. "You always want to win throwing seven touchdowns. That's how you want to win. This game was totally different than the last time I played Oakland. But in the NFL and in a team sport, you want to find a way to win. The good teams find ways to win. We did tonight."

At least the offense ended the game with some momentum. Foles and his unit did enough, gaining 21 yards, to put Jake Elliott in field goal range for the game-winning kick to send everyone home (somewhat) happy.

Even with next week's game rendered meaningless, it certainly seems like Foles could use the game time with his receivers. While Smith said they could get on the same page with practice reps, head coach Doug Pederson said with just two quarterbacks on the roster, it's likely Foles will play next week.

Fans will be hoping for a better performance to ease their fears as the playoffs approach.

"We're confident in Nick," Ertz said. "We just have to play better as an offense altogether. It doesn't fall solely on Nick."

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 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.