Eagles

Nick Foles grows emotional in what sounded like goodbye to Philadelphia

Nick Foles grows emotional in what sounded like goodbye to Philadelphia

NEW ORLEANS — It was hard to miss the fact that Nick Foles kept using the past tense when talking about his Eagles career.

Every single time.

Foles wasn’t specifically saying goodbye, but it sure felt that way.

And it was wistful, poignant and heartfelt. Exactly what you'd expect.

The big thing is what the city means to me. It’s always welcomed me and my family. It’s really been a joy to live there and wear the green and wear the jersey. No matter what, you can’t ever take that away. We were able to do some really special things. We’ll see what happens, but I’ll tell you this, I’ve enjoyed every single moment and (Philadelphia) will always have a special place in my heart. The city, the fans, the people, everything about it. There’s nothing like playing in the Linc in front of the crowd. It’s some of my favorite moments. My family got to experience them, my daughter got to experience them. We’ll see what happens, but I’ve enjoyed everything.

Foles most likely finished his second stint with the Eagles Sunday with the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the Saints in the NFC divisional round at the Superdome (see Roob's observations).

Last year’s Super Bowl MVP was brilliant in the first quarter, struggled for much of the game, then suddenly got the Eagles down inside the Saints’ 30-yard line in the final minutes with a chance for another miracle win before his pass bounced off Alshon Jeffery’s hands for a game-ending interception.

Most of the post-game conversation focused on Foles’ future.

He and Carson Wentz can’t both be here, so he knows the almost-certain scenario is that Wentz stays and Foles leaves.

Asked if he’d like to stay with the Eagles, he danced around the question:

That’s a tough question. It’s a really unique situation. Something that honestly I need time to just step back. I love this city, I love playing there, we have three guys in that quarterback room that can play in this league, but no matter what happens it’s been a joy playing in this city, being in that quarterback room with Carson and Nate (Sudfeld) and going to work every day. The city means so much to me and my family and it always will.

One question he didn’t dance around was this: Do you want to be a starter?

“Yeah,” he said. “I mean ... You know? We’ll see what happens in the future, but I love leading a team. I love being in the huddle, being part of the locker room. That’s why I play the game.”

He’s not going to be a back-up.

Not after all this.

So it’s goodbye.

And his message to the fans also sounded like goodbye:

I'd like to thank them. Thank them for their support. It’s not ultimately how we wanted to end the season, but I think this team represents what Philly is about. People counted us out and we were able to continue to fight and give us an opportunity to enter the playoffs and win the first round and we had an opportunity to win this round. This team never stopped fighting. Just like the city of Philadelphia.

If this is it, Foles finishes 24-7 in meaningful starts as an Eagle since 2013.

Including a Super Bowl championship.

“I’m just grateful for every moment in the Linc and will continue to support the Eagles,” he said. “There’s a bright future for the Eagles and everyone there.”

Foles may be leaving, but not before he gave us a lifetime of memories. 

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Howie Roseman fails to pull trigger on trade for Jalen Ramsey, who reportedly goes to Rams

Howie Roseman fails to pull trigger on trade for Jalen Ramsey, who reportedly goes to Rams

The Eagles failed to land one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. 

Instead, Jalen Ramsey has been traded to the Rams, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The price to get him was reportedly first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 as well as a fourth-rounder in 2021. 

Would you have done that?

That’s a lot to give up, but Ramsey really is that good. He’s widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and is still just 24 years old. Ramsey was the fifth overall pick in 2016. He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of the last two years and was an All-Pro in 2017. 

And now Ramsey is out of the AFC and on an NFC contender. So this is bad for the Eagles in two ways. 

Ramsey is in the final year of his contract this season and is on a fifth-year option in 2020, so he’ll be looking for a big deal soon. But he’s worth it. 

Back on Sept. 16, Ramsey and his agent requested to be traded from Jacksonville, the team that drafted him, after a sideline blowup with head coach Doug Marrone. Since then, the Eagles had clearly been in the mix. 

But Howie Roseman didn’t pull the trigger. There are still a couple weeks left until the trade deadline and there are other options, but opportunities to get shutdown corners who are just 24 don’t come around often. 

Getting Ramsey would have filled an immediate need for the Eagles, who haven’t had a true shutdown cornerback in years. They’ve tried to get by for the last couple years with a hodgepodge group, and they’ll have to continue. At least they do have some youth at corner, but they need some of these young players to play better. This news about Ramsey comes just a couple days after we all watched Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones get toasted against the Vikings.  

The Eagles might get Jalen Mills and perhaps Ronald Darby back this week and that will help, but they won’t help nearly as much as Ramsey would have. 

Ramsey could have been the first Eagles cornerback to make a Pro Bowl since Asante Samuel back in 2010. Yeah, it’s been a long time. 

Ramsey certainly has a loud personality and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. That is always part of what the Eagles look at when they inquire about potentially adding a player. Perhaps that played a role in not getting him. 

Since entering the league in 2016, Ramsey has nine interceptions and 45 pass breakups. During that span, Rodney McLeod has the Eagles’ lead in INTs with seven and Mills leads the Eagles in pass breakups with 30. So Ramsey would have immediately helped at a position where the Eagles desperately need help. Oh well.  

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A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

Cornerbacks always talk about how crucial it is to put bad plays behind them.

Gotta be confident. Gotta have a short memory. Gotta forget about it when you get beat.

Every cornerback gets beat. The great ones bounce back quickly.

Fair to say Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones didn’t bounce back quickly Sunday.

I asked Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Tuesday how Douglas and Jones have handled having a short memory and putting bad plays behind them, and his answer was surprisingly blunt.

Inconsistently,” he said. “There have been times that they have, but you know like a 3-3 team, we’re all striving for consistency and I think that those guys are striving for that.

Douglas has played fairly well much of the season, although he’s been inconsistent. Jones has struggled both on the field and to stay on the field.

On Sunday, both struggled through their lowest moments. Kirk Cousins victimized both young corners to the tune of four touchdowns and 333 yards in the Vikings’ 38-20 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This was the first time Schwartz has spoken this bluntly about Douglas and Jones and their confidence issues.

I don’t know that any of those were lack of confidence or [not] putting a play behind them, but whether it was a penalty, whether it was a physical error or a technique error or a communication error, another bad play ended up rolling up on them and that’s the life they live,” he said. “There were a lot of technique errors, there are a lot of miscommunications in every game with D-linemen and linebackers and everything else, whether you win the game like we did against the Jets or you lose a tough game like we did against the Vikings.

But generally those don’t get the attention that the cornerback position takes, and that’s part of the job description. That scrutiny. Kickers. Quarterbacks. Head coaches. It’s just what we deal with, and corners need to be able to put bad plays behind them, and we’ve been inconsistent doing that.

Jones is only 23 and Douglas is 24, and both come from big-time college programs and were high draft picks in 2017 — Jones in the second round and Douglas in the third. 

The Eagles clearly are hopeful both can go on to become high-level long-term starters.

But Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby could both be back for the Cowboys game on Sunday or, if not, soon after.

We all know both of them have allowed their fair share of big plays, but they’ve also started for a Super Bowl championship team, and nobody has ever questioned their confidence. They’ve both shown a knack for bouncing back.

Who’s going to wind up starting when everybody’s healthy? 

Too early to answer that. But if you’re a coach and you have two cornerbacks who have confidence issues and two who don’t? Who would you play?

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