Nick Foles is in a tricky position

USA Today Images

Nick Foles is in a tricky position

Doug Pederson says this is Nick Foles' team now.

Not so fast, says Foles.

"I feel like the confidence level (is there), absolutely," Foles said. "But this is Carson's team."

Foles is in an interesting position and it can be a little bit tricky. He feels like he needs to defer to Carson Wentz, his teammate and close friend when it comes to the big picture. He knows Wentz will be back behind center next year as soon as he's healthy.

But he also understands he has to assert himself as the leader of a playoff-bound football team.

"Now, I get like, 'Oh wait, you're the guy,' and all that, but that's just how I am," Foles said. "I respect Carson Wentz. I love that guy. I work with him every day and I'm going to give him his respect because he is this franchise's quarterback.

"My job right now is to be the starting quarterback, to lead the guys on the field and I'm going to do that. I've been here, I've done that. I know what it entails, I know the responsibility.

"But this is Carson Wentz's team and I respect him too much to make that statement. … Doesn't change my mentality. My mentality when I step on the field is, 'Let's roll.'

"I don't need to be named the starting quarterback. I'm going to go play and help my team win and be aggressive and be the player I've always been."

Foles threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first start in 14 months Sunday, leading the Eagles past the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

He'll make his second career playoff start next month in the conference semifinals at the Linc.

So it's a tricky balance. Foles knows he needs to show a tremendous amount of leadership in the huddle, in meetings, on the field. But he still thinks of this as Wentz's team.

"When you're in a position like I am, where you're the backup quarterback and you're out on the field and you're leading the guys, I'm myself," Foles said.

"I'm not changing. You just become more vocal and you have more responsibility and people look to you more because you're the one that's throwing the football.

"I understand the different roles. Carson is still the leader, he's still here, but right now he's in a different role. But we're all doing this together. It's just a different role.

"It's a crazy sport and things happen fast."

Sunday was a very important day for Foles, who other than a brief appearance at the end of the Rams game a week earlier had never played with guys like Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith.

Part of becoming this team's leader is proving you belong. Foles did that Sunday.

"The only way you do that is in the huddle in a game," he said. "You can practice as much as you want, but when the lights turn on and you're on the field, people can change.

"So you're never really sure until you experience it and go through adversity on the field, you're in the huddle, you see a guy get hit, you see a guy make a play and then that 'ah-hah' moment of 'this guy can do it.'

"And then it's just the relationship. You go through a game, you build camaraderie, you make plays together, you fight together. That's big."

Wentz has been around this past week. Not all day, but he's around for rehab every morning and Foles said he's popped into meetings and is always a big part of everything the other quarterbacks do.

"He's very much still involved," Foles said. "He loves this team, he's the leader of this team, he's the quarterback of this franchise, and he's going to be around.

"He's a huge presence and he's a huge reason why we're in this position."

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Everyone knows the plan is for Nick Foles to eventually head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz.

Apparently, Eagles fans just didn’t care.

Because when the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales list for the first quarter of 2018 was released on Thursday, Foles was right at the top for all officially licensed merchandise from March 1-May 31.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Nick Foles
2. Tom Brady 
3. Carson Wentz
4. Saquon Barkley
5. Dak Prescott
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Ezekiel Elliott
8. Jimmy Garoppolo
9. Odell Beckham Jr. 
10. Derek Carr

That means the NFC East took six of the top 10 spots, which is pretty wild.

But it’s even crazier to think that Foles went from starting last season as a backup to having more products with his likeness sold this offseason than any other player in the league, including the guy whose job he took and who is expected to take it back. He also beat that guy who didn’t catch a pass in the Super Bowl.

We definitely saw a Super Bowl spike in this list, starting with Foles, who led all players in photography products sold. I guess everyone wanted an image of him catching the football on the "Philly Special" or perhaps something with the now famous photo of Foles with his infant daughter. On the previous list from last year (from March 1, 2017-Feb. 28), Foles was at No. 22, so we should have seen this coming. Wentz held steady at No. 3, despite the injury and missing the Super Bowl.

Here’s every Eagle on the new list with their ranking on the last in parenthesis:

1. Nick Foles (22)
3. Carson Wentz (3) 
13. Zach Ertz (17)
33. Alshon Jeffery (43)
34. Brandon Graham (N/A)
46. Fletcher Cox (N/A)

The only Eagles player to drop out of the top 50 is Jay Ajayi (45), who is entering the final year of his current contract.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Foles can stay at or near the top of the list, especially if he starts the season on the bench. But based on the way most Eagles fans have celebrated the win in Super Bowl LII, Foles merchandise isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon.

More on the Eagles

Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

AP Images

Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank reminds fans of how good Carson Wentz is; despite the magical run from Nick Foles, don't forget about Wentz. Alshon Jeffery's impact goes well beyond his statistics. An unbelievable stat on Zach Ertz. And why Brian Dawkins is a truly unique athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

2:00 - Don't forget how good Carson Wentz is.
4:30 - Alshon Jeffery's value.
9:30 - Unbelievable Zach Ertz stat.
13:00 - Brian Dawkins' route to the Hall of Fame.
18:00 - Dawkins is a unique Philly sports figure because everyone adores him.

Subscribe and rate Roob Knows: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Art19