Eagles

Eagles thankful Nick Foles reconsidered retiring

usa-nick-foles-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles thankful Nick Foles reconsidered retiring

His year with the Rams was so difficult, so miserable, so unfulfilling, that when the 2015 season ended, Nick Foles thought about giving it all up.

At the tender age of 26.
 
Foles, just two years removed from his historic Pro Bowl season with the Eagles, said in a recent interview that he seriously considered retiring when his season with the Rams ended.
 
"Yes, I sat there and talked with my wife," Foles said. "You go through a lot of emotions. Changing teams, being traded, going there, going through that year, and once I was a free agent, we just sort of sat there and said, 'Hey what do we want to do?'
 
"It was the first time I had been a free agent in my career and it was the first time I had to make a decision because I was drafted and traded. I was leaning toward not playing and stepping back."
 
Foles, drafted in the third round by the Eagles in 2012, was traded to the Rams in March of 2015 along with second- and fourth-round picks for Sam Bradford and a fifth-round pick by new Eagles general manager Chip Kelly.
 
On a team with very little talent — their leading receivers were Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin — Foles went 4-7 in 11 starts before getting benched twice in favor of Case Keenum, who's now quarterbacking the Vikings.
 
When the Rams selected Jared Goff with the first pick in the draft, Foles asked to be released, and he was.
 
"My wife and I kept talking for months, and when I was free I talked with Coach (Andy) Reid for a while and then I took a break," he said.
 
"I went on a camping trip with my brother. I came back and my wife and I kept talking and just prayed about it. We just made the decision to go back and play for Coach Reid."
 
Foles backed up Alex Smith last year with the Chiefs but played well in two midseason appearances — wins over the Colts and Jaguars. He completed 65 percent of his passes with three TDs and no interceptions in those back-to-back wins.
 
"It was the best decision I made going there in that situation," said Foles, who had played for Reid in Philadelphia in 2012.
 
"It wasn't an easy call for me but I was back with someone familiar and I think Coach Reid is one of the best coaches ever. Love the man.
 
"Had a special year with them last year, and I can't say enough about that organization as well as a whole, much like here, which is really awesome."
 
As Foles prepares for his first start in an Eagles uniform in more than three years, here is the rest of our 1-on-1 with Foles from two weeks ago:
 
Roob: What has it been like working with Carson for the first time? It seems like you have a great relationship.
 
Foles: "Yeah we have a really good quarterback room with Carson, me and Nate (Sudfeld). We all get along great, we are all very similar in our values and in our work ethic. Just going to work every day. We get here early and get in the film room early. And you are around each other a lot so if your personalities clash it isn't a good thing but we all get along. Every day is enjoyable and we keep getting better. Carson is a tremendous player as everyone has seen throughout the course of the year in how much his game has developed from Year 1 to Year 2 and it continues to develop week to week, which is exciting to be a part of. It is a great place to work and it is a great quarterback environment."
 
Roob: What are your fondest memories of your first three years here? Obviously, a magical year in 2013, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions is still the greatest ratio in NFL history. You were the Pro Bowl MVP, you had seven touchdowns against the Raiders. What do you remember about that year?
 
Foles: "There are so many special memories. I think the biggest thing was playing in the Linc. When I wasn't a part of the Eagles the last couple of years, I just missed playing in the Linc, just being in that stadium and just being around our fans in a game-time situation, especially in the night and primetime games which are really fun here. The opportunity to be back here, to walk back in the Linc and to be back at the facility is surreal. There are so many great memories. All of the coaches and teammates I had. Some of the coaches I had are still here, which is really cool, and a lot of the strength staff and the personnel in the building. It was like coming back to a family you hadn't seen for several years. I can't say enough good things about the city of Philadelphia, living here, now my wife and I have a daughter and we are in a different part of life than when we were here before, so it has been a really awesome journey."
 
Roob: You talked about that year in St. Louis. What happened with the Rams?
 
Foles: "It didn't go exactly how I wanted it. Obviously, when you go somewhere you want to have a lot of success like you had in the previous spot. A great group of guys and teammates but it just didn't work out but there were still a lot of good wins and we played some good ball. Some didn't go my way but I think through those tough times you have to grind it out and keep working every day to get better. So with that, I moved on and went to Kansas City and got back together with Coach Reid, which was awesome and had a great year with them, got to play in two games and we had a lot of success. Just being around them at that time was a good thing for me at that time in my career."
 
Roob: I know you are the ultimate team guy and you have always been but at the same token you are a competitor and you want to play. How do you balance being the best backup to Carson you can and having that competitive urge to play football?
 
Foles: "I think that it is something deep down in your heart that you know you have the ability to play but at the same time this is why this is the greatest team sport because everyone in this locker room can play. They have played at one level or another, and sometimes you have to take a backseat and help that person to succeed and find joy in that. It has really been awesome to watch Carson grow and have the success in the same uniform that I had success in. When I was coming here, that does cross your mind like how is that going to work with everything but I feel that everything has been smooth and it has been an enjoyable place to come to work and I have a lot of good memories here. Now my memories are watching one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL that will be one of the greatest to play and it has been really cool to be a part of that my second time around here."
 
Roob: Now you are in Year 6, in your mind and in your heart, will you be a starter at some point in your career?
 
Foles: "That's the question, you don't really know. There are times where my wife and I talk about all of this and that does come up. Obviously, I know I can start. It is just taking it one day at a time. I am enjoying this moment right now and I signed a two-year deal and there was a reason for that. I am just going to do everything I can for this organization. We will see what happens at that point because that's how this business works. I would like to start again and do that and continue to play. We will sit down and make those tough decisions as a family and see where it leads us."

Eagles snap counts: It appears Birds have a new feature back

ap-jay-ajayi-eagles-rams.jpg
AP Images

Eagles snap counts: It appears Birds have a new feature back

If it seemed like Jay Ajayi was playing well enough early on Sunday to earn some extra carries, the Eagles' coaches saw it too. 

Through the first half at the LA Coliseum, LeGarrette Blount had six carries for 10 yards, while Ajayi had four for 49. Seems pretty obvious what the Eagles needed to do. 

Blount got just one more carry in the game, while Ajayi finished with 15 for 78. 

Perhaps more importantly, Ajayi led the Eagles' running backs in snaps for the second consecutive week. Maybe it was just the flow of the game again, but it sure appears the team has a new feature back. 

Ajayi got 43 snaps (47 percent) in the 43-35 win over the Rams, while Corey Clement got 27, Blount got 15 and Kenjon Barner got six. 

Through five games with the Eagles since the trade, Ajayi has averaged a gaudy seven yards per carry. 

The Eagles finished Sunday with 91 snaps, the most of the Doug Pederson era. That's way more than normal. The previous high under Pederson was 80 last season. They also controlled the ball for 39:12. Of the nine games in the NFL this season where a team has controlled the ball for over 39 minutes, the Eagles have two. 

Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Jason Kelce played all 91. 

Carson Wentz played 68 snaps before leaving with his knee injury. Nick Foles played the remaining 23. That's a new season-high for Foles ... for now. 

Without Zach Ertz, Trey Burton played 48 snaps and Brent Celek played 47. 

Left guard Stefen Wisniewski played 31 snaps before leaving with an ankle injury. From there, Chance Warmack played 17 before giving way to Isaac Seumalo, who played 44. 

On defense, the Eagles played just 48 snaps and were in nickel or dime for the entire game. That meant Najee Goode, who would have filled in for Joe Walker at MIKE, didn't get on the field. 

Six players were in for all 48 defensive snaps. Chris Long played just 18 snaps, but made the biggest play of the game, with the strip sack of Jared Goff. 

Here are full snap counts from Sunday afternoon: 

Offense
Lane Johnson - 91 snaps (100 percent)
Brandon Brooks - 91 (100)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai 91 (100)
Jason Kelce - 91 (100)
Alshon Jeffery - 86 (95)
Nelson Agholor - 77 (85)
Carson Wentz - 68 (75)
Torrey Smith - 67 (74)
Trey Burton - 48 (53)
Brent Celek - 47 (52)
Isaac Seumalo - 44 (48)
Jay Ajayi - 43 (47)
Mack Hollins - 38 (42)
Stefen Wisniewski - 31 (34)
Corey Clement - 27 (30)
Nick Foles - 23 (25)
Chance Warmack - 17 (19)
LeGarrette Blount - 15 (16)
Kenjon Barner - 6 (7)

Defense
Malcolm Jenkins - 48 snaps (100 percent)
Patrick Robinson - 48 (100)
Nigel Bradham - 48 (100)
Jalen Mills - 48 (100)
Rodney McLeod - 48 (100)
Ronald Darby - 48 (100)
Mychal Kendricks - 38 (79)
Fletcher Cox - 37 (77)
Brandon Graham - 36 (75)
Vinny Curry - 30 (62)
Chris Long - 18 (38)
Derek Barnett - 17 (35)
Beau Allen - 14 (29)
Corey Graham - 10 (21)
Destiny Vaeao - 9 (19)
Jaylen Watkins - 1 (2) 

Hey, Eagles backup QBs have actually fared well over the years

Hey, Eagles backup QBs have actually fared well over the years

They've been here before. An awful lot.

Eagles backup quarterbacks have actually fared extremely well over the years when forced into action because of injuries or other reasons.

This is a unique situation since Carson Wentz was having an MVP season and the Eagles are in position to lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC as early as next weekend.

But in the NFL, quarterbacks get hurt. It's a fact of life. And over the last 20 years, it hasn't been the end of the world when it's happened to the Eagles.

In fact, four of the last six times the Eagles reached the playoffs, their postseason quarterback was not their opening day quarterback.

Let's take a look!
 
1996
Rodney Peete had gone 9-3 and led the Eagles to a playoff win the year before after Randall Cunningham was benched. But after starting out the 1996 season 3-2, Peete suffered a knee injury against the Cowboys and was lost for the season.
 
The backup was Ty Detmer, and he went 7-4 in relief of Peete and led the Eagles to the playoffs, although he got benched in that rainy 14-0 wild-card loss to the 49ers at Candlestick Park.
 
2002
The Eagles were 7-3 when Donovan McNabb hurt his ankle against the Cardinals at the Vet. He threw four touchdown passes while hobbling around, and after the game, he learned that what he believed was a sprained ankle was actually broken.
 
Enter backup Koy Detmer, who gave the Eagles a big lead in San Francisco before getting hurt himself. That forced the Eagles to use No. 3 quarterback A.J. Feeley, who finished off the 49ers win and then went 4-1 in his first five pro starts. McNabb returned for the playoffs, but there wouldn't have been any playoffs if it hadn't been for Feeley.
 
2005
Mike McMahon on the other hand? That one did not go so well. A year after their Super Bowl trip, the Eagles were already struggling at 4-5 when McNabb's season ended with a sports hernia.
 
McMahon was the backup that year and he won just two of seven starts as the McNabb-T.O. drama swirled around the franchise.
 
2006
McNabb tore his ACL against the Titans in mid-November and was lost for the season. Jeff Garcia lost his first start as an Eagle, to the Colts at the RCA Dome, before winning the last five and leading the Eagles to the NFC East title.
 
Garcia then became the first quarterback other than McNabb to win a playoff game since Peete in 1995 when he beat the Giants at the Linc.

2007
McNabb missed parts of three games during the disappointing 2007 season with an ankle injury, but this time Feeley was unable to recall the magic of 2002. Although he beat the Dolphins in relief, he lost starts to the Seahawks and Patriots before McNabb returned.
 
2009
Kevin Kolb replaced McNabb for two midseason games and played very well, going 1-1 but showing enough that the Eagles were comfortable trading McNabb to the Redskins that offseason.
 
2010
Kolb was the opening day starter, but he didn't even make it to halftime. Michael Vick replaced him and went 8-3 in 11 starts and led the Eagles to the playoffs.
 
2011
In 2011 it was Vince Young's turn to serve as the backup, and he won just one of three starts when Vick was hurt.
 
2012
Nick Foles was a rookie in 2012, and when Vick suffered a concussion, Foles replaced him. He won only one of six starts, but he actually played well, completing 61 percent of his passes with more TDs than INTs.
 
2013
A year later, Vick suffered a hamstring injury against the Giants in early October. Foles responded with a Pro Bowl season, with 27 TDs and just two INTs — the best TD-INT ratio in NFL history.
 
2014
Foles opened the 2014 season as the starter but broke his collarbone in a game against the Texans and missed the rest of the season. Mark Sanchez went 4-4, and the Eagles finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs.
 
2016
Sam Bradford didn't get hurt in 2016 but he did get traded, and Wentz, No. 3 a week before the regular season, was promoted to No. 1 and responded with an auspicious rookie season, going 7-9 but giving everybody a hint of what was to come.
 
2017
Which brings us to this year. Wentz was having a remarkable season until he hurt his knee in Los Angeles Sunday. Foles replaced him and with plenty of help from the defense rallied the Eagles to a 43-35 win. Moving forward, it appears Foles will be the Eagles' quarterback the rest of the season and postseason.