Eagles

Nick Foles about to do what no Super Bowl-winning QB has

Nick Foles about to do what no Super Bowl-winning QB has

We’ve spent a good portion of the last month and a half talking about what a remarkable quarterback Nick Foles was in the postseason. Let’s go a different route for a change and talk about Nick Foles the person.

Because none of this would work if he weren’t just as remarkable a person as he is a quarterback.

Foles is about to do something nobody has ever done. Win a Super Bowl in his prime and head right back to the bench for the same team the next year.

Other backups have won Super Bowls. You know their names.

But guys like Jim Plunkett and Doug Williams were in their mid-30s when they did it and both began the next year — the next years in Plunkett’s case — as the starter. Kurt Warner and Tom Brady won Super Bowls as backups and never gave up the job. Jeff Hostetler started the Giants’ first 12 games the year after he won his Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer left Baltimore to become the starter for Seattle after winning his Super Bowl.

Foles? He fashioned one of the most remarkable postseason performances ever, won the Super Bowl MVP, delivered the first Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia, and it now looks likely he’ll be riding the bench when the 2018 season begins.

The combination of Carson Wentz’s rapid recovery — Doug Pederson said he’s ahead of schedule (see story) — and the Eagles’ decision to keep Foles this offseason means the Super Bowl MVP, the guy who rallied the Eagles in the final minutes to a come-from-behind win against the greatest coach in NFL history to their first championship in 57 years, begins 2018 the same way Mike McMahon began 2005, the same way Vince Young began 2011, the same way Chase Daniel began 2016.

I don’t know what’s more impressive. Foles’ performance in the postseason — all the touchdowns and fourth-down conversions and big plays — or his literally unprecedented willingness to set aside personal goals and do what’s best for the team. And in this case, that’s backing up Wentz.

How do you go from engineering an astonishing Super Bowl comeback with 100 million people watching and standing in the middle of U.S. Bank Stadium holding the Lombardi Trophy high above you and being handed the Super Bowl MVP trophy by the commissioner the next morning to throwing passes to scout team receivers Shelton Gibson, Rashard Davis and Bryce Treggs on a side field at training camp five months later?

You do it if you’re Nick Foles.

You do it if you are so obsessively unselfish and unconcerned with personal glory and focused only on team success that you’d be just as happy if Wentz or Nate Sudfeld had won that Super Bowl as you were when you won it.

No trade demands. No threats. No holdouts. No ultimatums. Not from Nick Foles.

Just … gimme the clipboard and let’s get to work.

There isn’t a team in the NFL that has a better quarterback situation than the Eagles. An MVP starting, a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and an impressive prospect as the No. 3.

We saw last year just how special the Eagles are, and we’re learning every day just exactly why.

Eagles’ defense plays record number of snaps

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AP Images

Eagles’ defense plays record number of snaps

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Cowboys were on the field for 45:33 in the Eagles’ 29-23 overtime loss at AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

It was the second highest time of possession ever against the Eagles. 

And it certainly showed up in the snap counts. 

The Eagles’ defense played an incredible 99 total snaps. Thirteen of those plays came in overtime, but even if this game ended in regulation, the Eagles still would have played a season high. 

As it turns out, the 99 defensive snaps is the most the team has played under Jim Schwartz or previous defensive coordinator Billy Davis. The previous high under Schwartz was 89 vs. the Giants in 2016. Davis’ defense once played 95 against Oakland in 2013. 

This game came the week after the defense played just 45 snaps, the fewest in the Schwartz Era. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, Rasul Douglas and Nigel Bradham played all 99 on Sunday.

Other defensive snap count notes: 

- Josh Sweat left the game with an ankle injury after six snaps, which left a three-man DE rotation. Brandon Graham played 83, Michael Bennett 74 and Chris Long 58. 

- Fletcher Cox played 79 snaps. His previous season-high was 65. But, then again, a lot of players had season highs in snaps on Sunday. 

- Sidney Jones played 37 snaps before getting pulled again late because of his lingering hamstring injury. De’Vante Bausby replaced him and played 61 snaps. Both players were beaten on touchdowns by Amari Cooper. 

Offensive snap count notes: 

- Darren Sproles led the way for running backs with 22 of 52 snaps (42 percent), while Josh Adams had 21, Wendell Smallwood had four and Corey Clement had four before leaving with a knee injury. Adams had a big run early but finished with just seven carries for 36 yards.

- Alshon Jeffery played 51 snaps and had six catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Nelson Agholor had 49 snaps with two catches for 49 yards. His long was a 42-yarder that set up the touchdown at the end of regulation. 

- Dallas Goedert played 31 snaps and made the most of them. He had four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown and should have had a 75-yarder that got called back for a bogus OPI. 

- Golden Tate played just 20 snaps (38 percent) and had one catch for seven yards. Hard to not look across the sideline and see what Amari Cooper did. He played 90 snaps and had 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Safe to say that trade is looking better than the Tate trade. 

Offense 

Brandon Brooks: 52 snaps (100 percent)
Lane Johnson: 52 (100)
Carson Wentz: 52 (100)
Jason Peters: 52 (100)
Alshon Jeffery: 51 (98)
Nelson Agholor: 49 (94)
Jason Kelce: 49 (94)
Zach Ertz: 44 (85)
Dallas Goedert: 31 (60)
Stefen Wisniewski: 30 (58)
Isaac Seumalo: 25 (48)
Darren Sproles: 22 (42)
Josh Adams: 21 (40)
Golden Tate: 20 (38)
Jordan Matthews 11 (21)
Wendell Smallwood: 4 (8)
Corey Clement: 4 (8)
Richard Rodgers: 2 (4)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 1 (2)

Defense 

Malcolm Jenkins: 99 snaps (100 percent)
Corey Graham: 99 (100)
Rasul Douglas: 99 (100)
Nigel Bradham: 99 (100)
Brandon Graham: 83 (84)
Fletcher Cox: 79 (80)
Michael Bennett: 74 (75)
Cre’Von LeBlanc: 71 (72)
Kamu Grugier-Hill: 64 (65)
De’Vante Bausby: 61 (62)
Chris Long: 58 (59)
Haloti Ngata: 46 (46)
Sidney Jones: 37 (37)
Treyvon Hester: 32 (32)
Tre Sullivan: 31 (31)
Nate Gerry: 29 (29)
Bruce Hector: 20 (20)
Josh Sweat: 6 (6)
LaRoy Reynolds: 1 (1)
Deiondre’ Hall: 1 (1)

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Should Eagles have gone for two to win in regulation?

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Should Eagles have gone for two to win in regulation?

ARLINGTON, Texas — Doug Pederson could have given the Eagles a chance to beat the Cowboys in regulation and sneak out of AT&T Stadium with a win, but instead he kicked it and the Eagles lost 29-23 in overtime. 

In hindsight, maybe the Eagles should have been more aggressive.

After they scored a touchdown on Carson Wentz’s pass to Darren Sproles with just 1:45 left in regulation, DeMarcus Lawrence was called for an unnecessary roughness on the extra point. 

If Pederson wanted, he could have taken the all at the 1-yard line with a chance to get a 2-point conversion and give the Eagles a win in a game they probably had no right to win. Instead, he chose to keep the extra point and head to overtime. 

“The decision-making was to kick the extra point and tie it up,” he said. “I just elected at that point just to go for the kick.”

Pederson said the Eagles had a brief discussion on the sideline, but “felt good about it.” 

After the loss, Pederson was asked if he’d do it the same way if given the chance again. He said he stuck by his decision. 

“Fourth quarter. Late in the game where it was,” he said. “Opportunity, you know, to just keep points on the board. Nothing other than that.”

It’s tough to kill Pederson for not making a call that would have taken a point off the board and could have potentially lost the game without a chance to go to overtime. But it does sort of go against his aggressive nature. This is the guy who wrote the book “Fearless” after all, and has built his reputation on making gutsy calls. 

It’s pretty telling that Pederson didn’t go for the two-pointer. Here’s what he said about those scenarios last season. Good pull by PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski. 

“That, to me, is almost a no-brainer to go for it,” Pederson said last season. 

It’s a little telling that even after the Eagles’ offense seemed to get going on Sunday afternoon in the second half, he still wasn’t confident enough in them to pick up one yard at the goal line in a crucial situation. 

Instead, the Eagles played it safe, went to overtime and then lost as the Cowboys drove 75 yards to score a touchdown and end the game. 

Was it the right call to go for two? It’s hard to say. Maybe we’d be killing Pederson if they tried it and failed. But maybe they would have gotten in the end zone and kept their playoff hopes alive. 

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but this is one that might haunt the 2018 Eagles.

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