How 'point guard' Foles could win Super Bowl

How 'point guard' Foles could win Super Bowl

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — In a few days, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will play in the biggest football game on Earth. 

So let's talk a little about basketball. 

As a kid, Foles loved that sport just as much and he was just as good at it. He made the varsity team as a freshman and was getting serious looks as a potential college hoops player. He would have played at a Division I university if he wanted to, but decided to stick with football instead. 

“I think I committed to Arizona State after my junior year," Foles said in this 2014 story from Reuben Frank, "so at that point I came to the realization that I looked at LeBron James and was like, ‘I don’t think I can do that. But I think I can throw a football.’"

Foles obviously made a good decision. He eventually went to Arizona, became a third-round pick, and although he hit some road bumps in recent years, he's going to start in the Super Bowl on Sunday night in Minneapolis. 

OK, so great history lesson. Why are we bringing up Foles' basketball past when he's going to play in the Super Bowl in a matter of days? 

Well, thanks for asking. It's because of the run-pass option. The Eagles have been using more and more of these RPOs in the weeks since Foles took over for injured Carson Wentz. They're types of plays Foles excelled at running under Chip Kelly and they require instincts and reacting. Those seem like the same skills Foles needed to play hoops. 

If you're still not sold on reading a story about basketball during Super Bowl week, blame Frank Reich. 

"If you're around Nick, you know Nick is a great basketball player," the Eagles' offensive coordinator said earlier this month. "He's a point guard. If he was playing basketball on the street, he's going to wheel and deal the ball. He's the guy out there. He can throw it behind his back with accuracy. He can give you the no-look pass. He can be looking one way and hit a guy. He has that knack and feel, and that's a little bit of the RPO game. I think he's very comfortable with that."

Foles said the key to the Eagles' RPO game isn't that hard to figure out. They just want to disguise what they're doing as much as possible. The idea is to make every look they give the defense to look the same before adding wrinkles. 

The execution on those plays needs to be perfect because there's just not much room for error. 

And then it of course helps to have a quarterback who seems to have a knack for them. 

"Anytime you've played different sports, for me it's always been basketball, that's an instinctual sport," Foles said last week. "You're dribbling the ball, you're passing, you're doing that stuff. I'm sure that's helped me along the lines of my football instincts."

It's been a long time since Foles has played competitive basketball. He actually stopped playing high school hoops before his junior year after a coaching switch at the school and since then has thrown his focus into football. 

Foles graduated from high school in 2007, so we're talking well over a decade since Foles played in a basketball game that counted. Since then he's played college football, been drafted, became a starter, got traded, demoted, nearly retired and will now start in the Super Bowl. 

There are a few things he still keeps from those basketball days. Maybe one of them will help him in the biggest pressure game in the world.  

“When I played basketball, the last-second shot, my team always wanted to get me the ball," Foles said back in 2014. "The coach knew I wanted it, but the team, we would draw up a play so I would shoot it. And I just liked having my hands on the ball when it was crunch time and I had to make a decision."

Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

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Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

We’ve officially reached the only sort of dead period on the NFL calendar. The Eagles are through their spring practices and won’t be back at the NovaCare Complex until July 25 for the start of training camp. 

That sounds far away, but it’ll be here before you know it. 

You guys were great and gave me a ton of questions, so I’ll answer half today and half Sunday. Let’s go: 

I’m tempted to say defensive tackle just for health concerns surrounding Tim Jernigan, but I have to answer linebacker. Jordan Hicks appears to be healthy after tearing his Achilles last year, but as good as he is when healthy, it’s just tough to count on him. Two years ago, he was able to play a full season and things were looking good, but then he suffered another serious injury. If Hicks and Bradham stay healthy, linebackers aren’t a concern. The Eagles will have either Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry or Corey Nelson take the weakside spot on base downs and they’ll be OK. 

But without Mychal Kendricks, it’s fair to be concerned about their depth at the position, especially after veteran pickup Paul Worrilow was already lost for the year. Kendricks came up huge last year as a fill-in; not sure the Eagles have that kind of depth this year. 

Not sure yet. What I can tell you about De’Vante Bausby is that he was impressive this spring and the coaching staff seems to love him. I remain very, very skeptical that he’s good enough to keep Sidney Jones off the field. With that said, I do think he’s talented enough to make the 53-man roster. We’ll get a better sense at camp when the pads go on, but I have him penciled in to make the team. 

Yes on both. The Nate Sudfeld hype is real. In our first extended looks at the young quarterback, he’s been incredibly impressive. It’s starting to make sense why the Eagles snatched him from Washington and then blocked the Colts from signing him last season. They kept him on the 53 in the second half of last year, so they’re completely prepared to keep three QBs on this year’s roster if Foles is still on the team. 

This is going to be the summer of Nate Sudfeld. We’re going to see him play a ton in those preseason games and that will let us know if he’s ready to be QB2 behind Carson Wentz. But the fact that the Eagles didn’t bring in a more experienced veteran after Wentz went down last year pretty much tells you all you need to know about what the Eagles think of him. 

We tried that. Didn’t work out well. We’re up for suggestions. 

You have no idea how out of water this fish is. This is like taking a fish from the ocean and dropping it in Kansas. 

How about Portugal? I’ll go with them because of Ronaldo. 

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

Where should Carson Wentz land on NFL's top 10 list?

We now officially know Carson Wentz will be somewhere in the top 10 of the NFL Network’s top 100 players of 2018. 

We just don’t know where he’ll land. 

As far as the other Eagles on the list, the Super Bowl champions weren’t extremely well-represented: 68. Zach Ertz, 69. Fletcher Cox, 95. Lane Johnson, 96. Malcolm Jenkins. 

Before tearing his ACL and LCL on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles, it seemed like Wentz was on his way to an MVP season. In 13 games, Wentz threw for over 3,200 yards and a franchise-record 33 touchdown passes. 

Wentz is the only player in the top 10 who has never been anywhere on the top 100 list before. Can he go from off the list to No. 1?

Here’s the list of players (in alphabetical order) who will be unveiled in the top 10 on Monday night. 

  • Le'Veon Bell 
  • Tom Brady 
  • Drew Brees 
  • Antonio Brown
  • Aaron Donald 
  • Todd Gurley
  • Julio Jones 
  • Von Miller 
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Carson Wentz

In the comments below, leave your top 10 in order. We’ll see how close everyone can get. 

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