Eagles

Contemplating retirement best thing to happen to Nick Foles

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Contemplating retirement best thing to happen to Nick Foles

It was less than two years ago when Nick Foles thought about retiring from football. He seriously contemplated, at 26, walking away from a game he's played his whole life, a game he loves.

On Sunday, he'll play for the chance to play on football's greatest stage. 

After a disappointing 2015 season with the Rams, Foles was eventually granted his release from the organization on July 27, 2016. Before he signed with the Chiefs on Aug. 3, Foles did some serious soul-searching. 

During that week, he spent time talking to his wife Tori and then he leaned on his Christian faith to come up with his answer. 

"I literally said a prayer," Foles said, "and my heart said go back." 

Foles reunited with Andy Reid, the guy who drafted him in 2012 out of Arizona, and he said that decision made him a better person. After the Chiefs didn't pick up his option last offseason, Foles came back to Philadelphia where his career started and once hit its highest peak. He came back in a different role, obviously, as Carson Wentz's backup. But things happen and ACLs sometimes tear. The Eagles are now relying on Foles as their starting quarterback. 

Now, thanks to his choice to re-find happiness in football, Foles is one win away from playing in the Super Bowl. 

"It wasn't an easy decision," Foles said on Wednesday. "It's not like it was 100 percent, but my faith and my guidance and the way I felt like going into that experience allowed me to grow to make me a better player now because you experience those emotions, you go through that. I mean, it's an emotional thing. It's something I've done my entire life, and to go through that and make that decision, that wasn't easy.

"But I leaned on my wife, I leaned on my family and I leaned on my faith in those moments, and I'm very grateful I made the decision I did and we made it together."

The fact that Foles will start in the NFC Championship Game against his former teammate Case Keenum isn't lost on him. Both have been benched, turned into backups, thrown into the trash heap and now resurrected. 

He said the biggest message to take from it is to never give up on yourself. While Foles almost gave up on football, he never gave up on himself. 

Foles calls the week he spent contemplating his football future the best thing that ever happened to him. He knows he's not the only NFL player who felt that way or questioned whether or not they should walk away. 

"We're professional athletes and we have moments where we step back and we have to think and assess everything in life," Foles said. "Like I have a family, I have a wife, I have a daughter, I have a dog. I have to step back and focus on that because that's so important to me. 

"I'm so fortunate that I have my wife there to talk these things through and in these moments where we're playing for this Championship Game, like you do reflect. A few days ago, you just sit there, and I sat there with my wife and we just talked about how blessed we are to be in this moment.

"But I know where my heart is and my heart was all being in Philly, being with these guys, going out there on the field, like stepping in the huddle and knowing that each guy is playing for each other, that's a special thing and that's been the testament of this season. And you know it's an honor and blessing to be here and play in this game."

Eagle Eye podcast: A heartbreaking loss in Atlanta

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USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: A heartbreaking loss in Atlanta

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast presented by Nissan, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro break down the Eagles’ heartbreaking 24-20 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta. 

They go through the laundry list of injuries and wonder about the future. 

Plus, Roob is tired of all this moral victory stuff. The Eagles had a chance and didn’t win. 

• A heartbreaking loss
• Everyone got hurt 
• The key plays that went wrong
• The Eagles couldn’t run the ball
• This makes next week very important 
• And plenty more 

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What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

What to make of Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson's nights? Our Week 2 Eagles report card after loss to Falcons

Eagles fans won’t want to hear this, but there’s nothing for the team to be ashamed of after a 24-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday night. 

The injuries started in warmups with tight end Dallas Goedert and continued to pile up as the game went on, with Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Tim Jernigan and Sidney Jones among the players who came off the field at some point. Add in the road trip, and it was a tough game.

Sure, the Eagles had opportunities to steal a win, and that’s reflected in the grades. But by and large, this isn’t a terrible report card considering what transpired in Atlanta.

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz: 25/43, 231 YDS, TD, 2 INT

Was Wentz hurt, or was the offense out of sync because the Eagles were suddenly down to their backup receivers? Whatever was ailing the signal caller, he snapped out of it in the second half, completing 19 of 27 passes for 184 yards with two scores — one passing, one rushing — plus he put the possible game-winning touchdown on Nelson Agholor's fingertips. By no means a classically great performance, but a gutsy game for Wentz, particularly under the circumstances.

Grade: B-

Running backs

Miles Sanders: 10 ATT, 28 YDS, 3 REC, 9 YDS

Sanders is explosive when he’s moving north-south, but has a tendency to bounce runs outside, to limited success. To be fair, the backs didn’t have a ton of room to operate. Looked like Darren Sproles might’ve missed his assignment in pass protection on an interception.

Grade: C

Wide receivers and tight ends

Nelson Agholor: 8 REC, 107 YDS, TD

There’s no getting around it. Agholor’s drop in the fourth quarter might’ve cost the Eagles the game. Atlanta would’ve had an opportunity with the ball, but that was six points. Backbreaker. Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery all exited in the first quarter with injuries. Mack Hollins helped pick up the slack with five catches for 50 yards, though he often did not appear to be on the same page with his quarterback.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Eagles running backs carries 18 times for 46 yards — a 2.6 average — and didn’t record a gain over five yards. Five! Atlanta’s pass rush enjoyed some success too, registering 10 quarterback hits and three sacks. Give the Falcons’ front and pressure packages some credit, but this unit has set the bar high and didn’t meet those expectations.

Grade: C

Defensive line

Derek Barnett: TFL, 3 QH

The numbers won’t do them justice, but the pass rush helped create three interceptions despite five quarterback hits and zero sacks. Falcons running backs also carried 15 times for 54 yards, a 3.6 average. Barnett and Brandon Graham set the tone with their efforts.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Nate Gerry: 2 TKL, INT

It might’ve been a case of right place, right time. Regardless, Gerry’s end zone pick kept the Falcons off the board and gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Clutch. Zach Brown led the unit with five tackles. Nigel Bradham left some plays out there, though.

Grade: B

Defensive backs

Sidney Jones: 6 TKL, INT

Ronald Darby was getting killed, and rightfully so as the Falcons were clearly picking on him. Yet on the 34-yard touchdown over the top, it was Andrew Sendejo arriving late with the help. Darby’s play picked up in the second half, as did the rest of the secondary. Darby and Jones had picks, Andrew Sendejo a sack, and Rodney McLeod was everywhere with a team-high seven tackles. Unfortunately, the lasting image will be Avonte Maddox getting buried on the game-winning screen.

Grade: C

Special teams

Cameron Johnston: 52.3 AVG, 3 IN20

Underrated moment that will go forgotten: Corey Clement’s kick return fumble to open the second half. Three plays later, the Falcons were in the end zone. For what it’s worth, Clement was injured during the return. Still, a big turnover that marred an otherwise solid night for special teams.

Grade: C-

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 1-1

Jim Schwartz’s aggression may very well have kept the Eagles in the game and eventually turned the tides, but a zero blitz on 4th-and-3 turned out to be the call of the game. The Falcons caught Schwartz with a wide receiver screen, which Julio Jones took 54 yards to the house for the win. Also of note, Doug Pederson’s run-pass ratio — 72 percent pass in a game in which two starting receivers and a tight end were all lost to injury early in the first quarter.

Grade: C-

 



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