Eagles

Foles is the starter now but what's his future?

Foles is the starter now but what's his future?

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nick Foles has a game to play and then he has a future to sort out.

Foles will start for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday but then what?

Will he go back to backing up Carson Wentz next year or become a starter elsewhere?

It's an intriguing question. It's hard to imagine Foles taking second-team reps at training camp with a bunch of unknown rookie wide receivers next summer after playing in a Super Bowl, but whenever Carson Wentz is healthy, he's the Eagles' quarterback.

It's a unique situation and one Foles is trying not to think about just yet.

"You know what? I'm signed for another year with the Eagles, that’s all I’m focused on," Foles said Monday night. "I’m focused on this game. 

"At the end of the season what my wife and I always do is we just sort of will reflect and take a breath. It’s a long year and so much goes on. And when the time comes that you have to make career decisions, then you tackle them. 

"But I really focus on my family and my faith and then the career comes after that, and the family and faith is what makes those decisions."

Foles has changed teams after each of the last three seasons, from the Eagles to the Rams to the Chiefs and back to the Eagles this year.

His career arc has been insane, from making the Pro Bowl with the Eagles in 2013 to getting benched by Jeff Fisher two years later to backing up Alex Smith last year and back to Philly this year, where Wentz's injury gave him this opportunity to lead the Eagles to Super Bowl LII.

So what's next? Will the Eagles try to trade Foles, whose value will only increase more if he plays well on Sunday? Will they keep him as insurance in case Wentz gets hurt again?

The Nick Foles we've seen in the playoffs is clearly a better quarterback than a lot of starters out there.

There will be opportunities for the Eagles to trade him to a quarterback-starved franchise. But since his contract is up after 2018, no team is likely to trade anything of real value for him unless he agrees to a new deal. So he essentially controls his future. He likely won't have to go anywhere he doesn't want to go.

Foles insists he hasn't even thought about it.

“It might sound crazy but I’m really grateful to be in the moment," he said. "To have one more game and have it be a Super Bowl, that’s all I care about.  

"My career, we'll see what happens after this. I'm not worried about it. I'm just worried about this game, playing with these guys and whatever happens with my carer after, we'll see what happens."

Foles spoke at length Monday night about how he mulled retirement after that miserable 2015 season with the Rams. He said the experience taught him to live in the moment instead of worrying about an uncertain future.

"My perspective has changed like crazy since my decision to come back and everything I went through," he said. "So I'm really just enjoying the moment, I'm grateful for the moment. The future can take care of itself because right now we have a lot going on and a lot of responsibility and I can't wait."

Foles goes into Sunday's game with the highest completion percentage and highest passer rating in NFL playoff history.

He said he still considers this Wentz's team. He's just caretaking the quarterback position until Wentz gets back.

"I did not imagine I'd be the starter in the Super Bowl when the season started," Foles said.

"When you're playing behind Carson Wentz, you're playing behind Carson Wentz. In my opinion, he's the MVP of the National Football League. He's one of the best in the NFL. 

"I can't wait to see what he does in his future. He's handling everything so well and he's going to have a great career. His time will come."

But right now, this is Foles' time. 

Two years after considering retirement, two months after becoming the Eagles' starter, he'll make a bid for football immortality on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"It's really humbling," Foles said. "Just to be here. If you had told me a couple years I'd be with the Philadelphia Eagles with this group of men and this fan base? It's unbelievable. 

"Just really enjoying it. I'm grateful for my teammates, grateful for my coaches and family. I'm really just trying to soak it in. It's surreal."

A progress report for Eagles' draft picks after spring practices

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A progress report for Eagles' draft picks after spring practices

The Eagles ended up not making a first-round selection in April after they traded out of the No. 32 slot. 

Eventually, after all the trade dust settled — and there was more — the Eagles ended up drafting five players, their smallest draft class since 1989. 

But now that we’ve gotten through the rookie minicamp, OTA practices and the mandatory minicamp, it’s time for a draft class progress report. 

2-49: Dallas Goedert
It’s obviously really early, but Goedert looks like a great pick. He was so impressive, he was the only draft pick from this year to make Doug Pederson’s list of six young players who impressed him this spring. 

It’s always tough to figure out how a player from FCS (South Dakota State) will adapt to the NFL game, but the skills Goedert has are hard to teach. He’s big, long, has great hands and is — at the very least — a willing blocker. 

During the spring, we saw Goedert’s hand-eye coordination and body control on full display. It’s why I think he’s going to become a monster in the red zone (see story)

We’ll learn more about Goedert when the pads go on, but I don’t anticipate him slow down. 

4-125: Avonte Maddox
A little bit of an up-and-down start for the undersized (5-9) cornerback from Pitt. The Eagles didn’t care about his size when the drafted him, mainly because of his high compete level. 

While he played outside cornerback in college, even with his lack of height, many thought he projected as a nickel cornerback in the NFL. Apparently, the Eagles agree. Because during the spring, Maddox worked in the slot, but never got time with the first unit. 

It’s going to be a learning process for Maddox. And because of that, we saw some hiccups for the 22-year-old this spring. There are probably a few factors here: learning a new position, catching up to the speed of the game and learning the playbook. The Eagles shouldn’t be too concerned yet. 

4-130: Josh Sweat
So far, Sweat is looking like the steal of this draft class. Once a highly-touted prospect coming out of college before a devastating knee injury, Sweat still had a productive career at Florida State. Right after he was drafted, Sweat said he thought he was a better fit with the Eagles than he was with the Seminoles. Turns out the DE was right. 

Sweat stood out as much as any defensive lineman can stand out in non-padded practices in May. The first thing that jumps out about Sweat is his size. He’s 6-5 and while he could stand to pack on some more muscle to his frame, he’s already an imposing player. 

Now, some of his success this spring probably came from facing extremely inexperienced offensive tackles, but either way, Sweat was impressive. He’s obviously buried on the depth chart, but he should have a chance to make an impact as a rotational player. 

6-206: Matt Pryor
I still love that Pryor was the biggest guy on the roster for less than an hour after they drafted him. At TCU, Pryor played both OT and OG, so the big question about him at the NFL level was about which position he would play. So far with the Eagles, he’s played both. 

The Eagles listed him as a tackle when they drafted him, but to me, he looked better at guard in college. Apparently, the Eagles have some of those same thoughts, because as the spring went on, it seemed like Pryor got more and more reps inside where he can use his strength. 

Now, there are certain downsides to a guy who is 6-foot-7 playing guard and it starts with leverage and throwing lanes for the quarterback. But if Pryor is more natural at guard, that’s OK. The Eagles really love versatility on the OL and Pryor has the potential to back up four of the five spots along the line. 

7-233: Jordan Mailata 
For much of the spring, Mailata was a turnstile, but no one said this was going to be easy. The big rugby dude is off to a rough start, but that’s to be expected for someone who wasn’t a football player a year ago. 

On his very first snap of his first day on the job at rookie minicamp, Mailata didn’t hear the snap during an offensive line drill and just stood there. It looked like that scene from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” — Do less, but you have to do more than that. 

We actually saw real improvement from Mailata over the last few weeks. I know, I know, there was only one direction to go, but the Australian showed off the power and athleticism that attracted the Eagles in the first place. He was always going to be a project. 

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Roob’s 10 observations: Agholor, underrated Super Bowler, Shady’s career

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Roob’s 10 observations: Agholor, underrated Super Bowler, Shady’s career

More improvement from Nelson Agholor, an underrated Super Bowl performer, two agonizing yards from a milestone and an incredible accomplishment that LeSean McCoy is closing in on.

It’s all right here in this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations!

1. Doug Pederson has found the perfect balance these past few months of allowing his players to really enjoy being Super Bowl champions while still keeping an eye on 2018, and that’s not an easy thing to do. The Eagles have celebrated when it’s time to celebrate and they’ve worked when it’s time to work, and honestly, I feel like most of the guys on this team would rather be at an OTA practice under the hot June sun than at some banquet re-living Super Bowl LII. Which is the beauty of this team. Zach Ertz put it beautifully when he said this: “There’s always going to be one-hit wonders in this league. Teams that won one Super Bowl or players that made one Pro Bowl and then you didn’t hear from them again. But it’s the great players and the great teams that are able to have that sustained success.” And that right there is the mantra for this football team. Last year was incredible. But it’s in the past. It’s time to move on. It’s time to go to work.

2. Five quarterbacks in NFL history have had a passer rating of 101.9 or higher in their second NFL season [minimum of 200 attempts]. Three of them are Hall of Famers – Otto Graham, Kurt Warner and Dan Marino. The other two are … Carson Wentz and Nick Foles.

3. This is insanity, but there’s no doubt in my mind T.O. can still help a football team. I know, I know. He’s 44. The oldest player in NFL history to catch a pass is Jerry Rice, Owens’ former teammate, who was 42 years, 67 days, when he caught his last three career passes – 3 for 25 yards from Matt Hasselbeck for the Seahawks against the Jets on Dec. 19, 2004. The only other player to catch a pass in his 40s is Brett Favre, who caught a batted pass that he threw (for minus-two yards) against the Rams at 40 years, 1 day, for the Vikings in 2009. I know T.O. hasn’t played since 2010, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine TDs playing for the Bengals. But T.O. is different than other human beings. He’s a freak of nature. He could play till he’s 50. But considering his history, no team is ever going to take a chance on him. It’s a shame, but that’s the reality.

4. It still blows my mind that the Eagles won the Super Bowl just two years after Chip Kelly was fired. Think about that. Jeff Lurie, Howie Roseman and Pederson overhauled the entire franchise from late 2015 train wreck to 2017 NFL champs in 769 days. 

5. During that span, the Browns have won one game.

6. Kind of lost in all the Super Bowl insanity – Philly Special, Nick Foles’ performance, Brandon Graham’s strip-sack, the 4th-down conversion to Zach Ertz – was LeGarrette Blount’s remarkable performance. Blount’s 6.4 rushing average that day (14 for 90) is highest in NFL postseason history by a back 31 or older. The previous record was Tiki Barber’s 5.3 for the Giants in the 2006 wild-card game that the Eagles won at the Linc. Blount destroyed that record. And it came after a stretch in which Blount had averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in his previous eight games. Blount wasn’t here long but what a tremendous impact he made both as an unfailingly unselfish leader and as a battering-ram running back.

7. Hard to believe DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are the only Eagles draft picks with a 1,000-yard receiving season since Fred Barnett, who was drafted 28 years ago. I expect Nelson Agholor to do it this season.

8. I’m still sad Brent Celek is sitting there with 4,998 career receiving yards. 

9. Wondering what the heck the Redskins are thinking is a way of life around the NFL, but it still blows my mind that they believe they have a better chance of winning with a 34-year-old Alex Smith and than with a 29-year-old Kirk Cousins. 

10. LeSean McCoy has averaged 101 yards from scrimmage per game in his brilliant nine-year NFL career, and he now has 13,470 net yards from scrimmage – eighth-most in NFL history by a player before his 30th birthday (behind seven Hall of Famers). Every back in NFL history who’s gained 16,000 yards from scrimmage — and there are 10 of them — is in the Hall of Fame. At his current pace, Shady would get to 16,000 in Week 9 of the 2020 season. I’m sure as heck not betting against him. 

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