Eagles

Can't help but think about Nick Foles' future after a game like this

Can't help but think about Nick Foles' future after a game like this

LOS ANGELES — It's impossible to watch Nick Foles play football without wondering about the future.

You can't help it.

He's the Super Bowl MVP and he's stuck behind the Eagles' quarterback of the future, but every time he gets on the field, something special happens.

And it happened again Sunday night.

Foles, making his first start since Week 3, led the Eagles to a 30-23 upset win over the NFC West-champion Rams at L.A. Coliseum a year after he replaced an injured Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to a comeback win over a very similar Rams team.

That win propelled the Eagles to the Super Bowl. This one? Who knows.

But you'd be lying if you said you're not intrigued by Foles, Wentz and where the Eagles go from here.

Foles said he tries not to think about it, but sometimes he can't help it.

"That part does creep in," he said. "I do say there is a human side, but I'm very self-aware that those distractions don't do you any good. I really thrive in staying in the moment and just enjoying it. We'll see what happens but I really want to just enjoy the moment and just be in the present in all I do, and that's what I try to focus on daily."

Foles completed 77 percent of his passes (24 for 31) for 270 yards against the Rams, and although he didn't throw a touchdown and did throw an interception, the biggest thing he did was add life to an often mundane Eagles offense.

He led the Eagles to scores on six of their first eight drives and then left it up to the defense to hang on in the final seconds and get the Eagles back to .500 at 7-7.

Wentz started the last 11 games but is out — you would think for the rest of the season — with a fracture in his back.

The Eagles didn't announce until Saturday that Foles would start against the Rams, but Foles has known for a while, and he said it was a tricky week for him.

"It was really emotional," he said. "You hate for your teammate to get hurt. I feel really bad for Carson. We're tight in that quarterback room. But then you don't really know what's going to happen. You start taking reps, it's been a while (since I played), you go through the human emotions. I don't care what you've done in the past or what I've done in the past, it doesn't matter when you step on that field, it's a new day. So I was dealing with the emotions, prepping as hard as I could and then realizing I'm not alone. I have great teammates out there. All I have to do is spread the ball around and stay in the moment, and we were able to do that tonight."

The biggest difference in the offense was that Foles delivered big plays down the field. He connected with Alshon Jeffery on pass plays of 18, 26, 36 and 50 yards, and Jeffery finished with his biggest game in five years — 160 yards.

Foles just brought a lot of energy, a lot of juice, and it seemed to carry over onto the defense, onto special teams and onto the sideline.

It carried the Eagles to a huge win, and that's what Foles does. He wins. He's now 22-11 as the Eagles' starter.

Foles was asked if he thrives on being the guy who comes in and saves the day. And it sure seems like he does, even going back to 2013, when he went 8-2 after Michael Vick got hurt and led the Eagles to the playoffs.

And, of course, last year.

"I don't really thrive on it," he said. "It's just sort of the way things have fallen.

"It's not about me. Great teammates, great coaches, great organization, and we're able to rally together. That's the thing that I love about being an Eagle."

Can history repeat? Can Foles use a win over the Rams in L.A. as a springboard to a playoff run?

Stranger things have happened. And nobody knows that better than Foles.

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Could Super Bowl hero Jay Ajayi be returning to the Eagles?

Could Super Bowl hero Jay Ajayi be returning to the Eagles?

Jay Ajayi, who hasn’t played football in more than a year, will be at the NovaCare Complex Friday for a workout with the Eagles, NFL Network reported Thursday.

Ajayi, who was huge for the Eagles down the stretch during the 2017 Super Bowl run, has been out of football since his rookie contract that he originally signed with the Dolphins in 2015 lapsed following last season.

He's battled injuries most of his career but he's only 26 and when healthy has been terrific. He has a 4.5 career average, 5th-best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries (behind Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry).

The Eagles acquired Ajayi from the Dolphins on Oct. 31, 2017, in exchange for a 4th-round draft pick. He ran 70 times for 408 yards and a TD with a 5.8 average in seven regular-season games in 2017, then ran 42 times for 184 yards (4.4 average) in the three playoff games, including 9-for-57 in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots.

AJayi was 45-for-184 with three TDs in four games last year before going onto season-ending Injured Reserve on Oct. 8 with the latest in a series of knee injuries.

Ajayi's 5.15 rushing average in an Eagles uniform is fifth-highest in franchise history, behind quarterbacks Michael Vick (6.7), Randall Cunningham (6.6) and Donovan McNabb (5.7) and 1940s running back Ernie Steele (5.18)

Ajayi made the Pro Bowl in 2016 for the Dolphins with 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns but has played in only 18 games since.

He hasn’t played since getting hurt against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard have been terrific, but Howard and Darren Sproles are both dealing with injuries going into the Patriots game Sunday.

Sproles missed practice Thursday with a quad injury, and Howard has been limited in both practices this week with a shoulder injury. 

Sproles missed the Vikings, Cowboys and Bills games with a quad injury. He played against the Bears -- 10 snaps on offense, 8 on special teams -- but apparently seemingly aggravated the injury at some point.

Sproles, 36, has played in only 15 of a possible 46 games over the past three years because of a series of injuries.

The Eagles already lost Super Bowl star Corey Clement, who’s on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury of his own.

Because of his oft-injured knees, Ajayi probably can't handle a huge workload these days. But in a limited role a healthy Ajayi could could definitely help the newly run-heavy Eagles.

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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

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Alshon Jeffery misses 2nd straight day of Eagles practice

Alshon Jeffery missed practice for the second straight day with an ankle injury on Thursday, putting his status for Sunday’s game against the Patriots very much in question. 

It’s rare for an Eagles player to miss the first two days of practice in a week and play that weekend. 

On Wednesday, head coach Doug Pederson said Jeffery was “day to day” with the ankle injury he suffered in the Bears game before the bye week. He left that game early, but then had an extra week to rest. 

Earlier in the season, Jeffery suffered a calf injury early in the game against Atlanta. It’s possible he’s been playing through injury for most of the season, which would help to explain his drop in production. 

In eight games this season, the 29-year-old receiver has just 34 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2012. 

On Wednesday, I asked Pederson about Jeffery’s dip in production. 

“Well, I think with having Dallas [Goedert] a little more involved in the offense, the ball gets spread around a little bit more. The times we have gone to Alshon, he's made plays,” Pederson said. 

It’s worth noting that Jeffery is tied for the team lead in drops with three. He’s one of five Eagles with three drops this season. 

“His value to the offense has been very good,” Pederson continued. “The ball's going to find the open guy. Sometimes he's the primary, sometimes he's not. He might be the secondary or the third guy in the progression. He's a guy that gives of himself to the team. That's who Alshon is. He doesn't gripe or complain. He does battle through injury. He's battled through it his whole career. He's battled through it here. He's a tough kid.

“We continue to game plan. We game plan for him every week. Again, it's my job to try to dial up as many plays as I can for him.”

If Jeffery doesn't play on Sunday, look for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or Jordan Matthews to have a big role. 

The only other notable player missing at Thursday’s practice was Nigel Bradham, who will likely miss his fourth straight game this Sunday with an ankle injury of his own. 

Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Howard (shoulder) were both practicing Thursday after being listed as limited on Wednesday. 

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