Eagles

Nick Foles failing to live up to folk hero status, but history says that's OK

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Nick Foles failing to live up to folk hero status, but history says that's OK

He’s not Nick Foles anymore. He’s Superman, and that’s a lot to live up to.

Foles will never take another snap as just third-round pick Nick Foles out of Arizona.

He’ll forever be Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Record-setting postseason passer Nick Foles. Folk hero Nick Foles.

And that can play tricks on anybody.

Foles isn’t a Joe Montana or Tom Brady who casually stacks Super Bowl title on top of Super Bowl title.

He’s essentially a journeyman who’s averaged 6 1/2 starts per season and has never played a full season and was with his fourth team in four years when he came off the bench to lead the Eagles on their historic run.

So now all of a sudden everything has changed. He’s got this insanely high bar to live up to in everything he does.

Foles was virtually perfect in the Super Bowl. And I can’t imagine how hard it is to try to measure up to that every time you throw a pass.

It has to be just about impossible.

And I feel like part of what we’re seeing this summer from Foles is that process.

Trying to live up to an impossible standard. Trying to be Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles every snap instead of just being plain old Nick Foles, third-round pick out of Arizona.

I asked Doug Pederson about that after the game Thursday night in Cleveland.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I would say that you might want to ask him that question. … The past is the past and we can’t rely on that. It’s a new season and a new team. We’ve just got to continue to work and get better.”

Foles was asked the same question after his ugly two-interception performance against the Browns Thursday night in what will be his final appearance of a terrible preseason.

Is he going out there trying to be great instead of just trying to run the offense?  

He listened intently to the question and paused and then said this:

“I know that this game is a process, and I’ve played this game my whole life. I haven’t always played great games. These are the toughest ones. When you have to keep battling, it really shows you what you’re made of deep down inside.

“I was going to keep firing it, no matter what. I didn’t want to throw any more picks, but I was going to keep firing the ball. You can’t play with fear. I didn’t play as clean as I wanted too. Knowing me, knowing this team, we’re going to learn from it and move forward.”

He didn’t really answer the question, but he didn’t shoot down the theory either. 

One thing about Foles.

His career has always been wildly non-linear. One of the worst games of his life was against the Cowboys in 2013 — 11 for 29 for 80 yards in a 17-3 loss. Next game, he tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in Oakland.

He was dreadful against the Cowboys again in that meaningless year-ender last year — 4 for 11 for 39 yards in a game the Eagles eventually lost 6-0.

The next time we saw him, he took off on one of the greatest postseason runs ever.

If Carson Wentz isn’t ready to go against the Falcons and Foles has to play, he’ll be fine.

This has been his history. He can be impossibly bad followed immediately by historically great.

I don’t understand it. I’ve never seen anything like it. But that’s the reality.

“When you play this game, you’re going to be analyzed,” he said. “Everyone is going to analyze your every move. Everyone is going to analyze and look for perfection. We’re not perfect people, I’m not a perfect player. I’ve not had a perfect game and I never will. That’s just how it’s turned out.

“That’s where I can lean on those experiences and continue to improve, not be too hard on myself, while being hard on myself. If you’re too hard on yourself all the time, you’re going to crumble.”

Sometimes I wonder if Foles thinks too much instead of just going out and firing the football.

And when you just went on a historic run and were named Super Bowl MVP out of nowhere and did a book tour a year after backing up Alex Smith and hit the talk show circuit and became an instant celebrity, I can’t begin to understand what goes through your mind when you’re back out there trying to live up to all of it.

The bottom line is, in games that he’s started and finished in an Eagles uniform since 2013, he’s 19-5.

Through it all, he wins games.

I’m confident Foles will figure this out just like he’s figured out every other challenge that’s come his way in a strange, wonderful and historic seven-year career.

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Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

Eagles vs. Patriots live: Highlights and analysis from NFL Week 11 game

8:41 a.m.: Good morning, everyone! The Eagles have an unusual 4:25 p.m. start today, so we have a little bit of waiting on our hands. 

The big news as you was up this morning is that Jordan Howard (shoulder) will reportedly be out for this game. He has a stinger and hasn't yet been cleared for contact. That means Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and recently signed Jay Ajayi will have to carry the load.

As you wait for kickoff today, here are five matchups to watch in Eagles-Patriots.

At least we have Cowboys-Lions to watch at 1 p.m. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Eagles leading rusher Jordan Howard is not expected to play Sunday as he deals with a shoulder injury, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles have officially listed Howard as questionable for the team's Super Bowl rematch Sunday afternoon against the Patriots at the Linc.

Howard suffered a stinger in the Eagles’ win on Nov. 3 against the Bears, his former team.

That means Jay Ajayi, who the Eagles re-signed on Friday, should be active for the first time in over a year and will likely have a role.

Howard, in his first year with the Eagles, has 525 rushing yards, a 4.4 average and seven touchdowns, including one receiving. 

Since Week 4, Howard has been the 13th-leading rusher in the NFL, averaging 71 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Howard was limited in practice during the week and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday he had not been cleared for contact, which left him with a remote chance to be active on Sunday.

Howard has never missed a game because of injury. He didn’t play in the Bears' 2016 opener against the Texans — opening day of his rookie year — but he did dress for the game and was active, he just didn’t get onto the field.

Since then, he’s played in 57 of a possible 57 games.

Howard has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL since 2016 behind only Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.

The Eagles are already down two running backs. Super Bowl hero Corey Clement is on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury and Darren Sproles joined him on Injured Reserve this week with a season-ending quad injury.

The Eagles will go into Sunday with Miles Sanders, Ajayi and Boston Scott. They also have a rookie, De’Angelo Henderson, on the practice squad.

Sanders, after a slow start, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 76 for 336 and has 22 catches for 305 yards.

Ajayi, acquired by the Eagles from the Dolphins midway through the 2017 Super Bowl season, hasn’t played since injuring his knee in a game against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Ajayi has battled knee injuries most of his career but his 4.5 career average is fifth best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries.

Scott has 16 carries for 68 yards, a 4.3 average in limited duty.

The Eagles have averaged 141 rushing yards in their last six games. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over their last six games.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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