Eagles

Whether it's Good or Bad Nick Foles, Eagles usually find way to win

Whether it's Good or Bad Nick Foles, Eagles usually find way to win

Nick Foles is the weirdest quarterback ever.

When he’s not playing at an elite Super Bowl-MVP level, he stinks. There’s no in-between. It’s all or nothing with Foles, and Thursday night was a healthy dose of nothing.

He averaged 3.5 yards per attempt, the lowest by a winning Eagles quarterback in 15 years.

His longest completion to a wide receiver was just 10 yards (although his longest completion from a wide receiver was 15 yards).

He held onto the ball too long, locked in on his first read, looked uncomfortable in the pocket, missed mid-range throws and underthrew deep balls.

And, of course, he won.

Story of his life.

Foles may be very good, he may be very bad, but he almost always wins.

Thursday night was uglier than most. It’s kind of hard to throw 34 passes for 117 yards. That’s 3.4 yards per pass, and that's not even a good rushing average!

But he’s now won seven straight meaningful starts in an Eagles uniform, and he’s 19-4 in his last 23 starts as an Eagle. With a championship of the universe in there.

When he’s good, he’s really, really good. And when he’s bad? It's ugly, but he almost always finds a way to battle through it and win a game.

“I mean, it’s never fun,” Foles said of his occasional awful performances. “I think the big thing is just to communicate on the sidelines, just continue to keep working one play at a time. This game is not easy. Winning in the NFL is not easy, especially against a team like Atlanta.

“No one freaks out, everyone takes it easy. We keep looking at the pictures. We keep talking about the plays. We go out there and we execute. We stay calm in the huddle and just (continue) to work. When we get behind the chains, just continuing to work.”

Foles is the first Eagles QB to win a game that he started and finished with a passer rating under 51 since Mike McMahon against the Rams in 2005.

Yikes.

Not the kind of company you want to be in.

But there’s always that W at the end of his ugly stat line.

It’s one thing when you can win games like the NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl, when everything is going so perfectly.

But Foles has that deep inner strength that allows him to fight through all kinds of adversity and ugliness and make a play when he has to make a play. 

I think about that huge 3rd-and-8 conversion to Nelson Agholor in L.A. in the final moments against the Rams that allowed the Eagles to run out the clock after losing Carson Wentz.

Or that Raiders Monday night game two weeks later, when the Eagles clinched the No. 1 seed, and Foles was terrible the whole game but with the score tied at 10 completed four straight passes to get the offense in range for a game-winning Jake Elliott field goal.

Thursday night against the Falcons, Foles managed the game-winning drive in the final minutes, completing three of four passes before the running game took over.

Say what you want about him, when Foles throws 15 or more passes, his teams are 28-13, good for a .683 winning percentage. And that includes his stints with the Rams and Chiefs.

That’s the second-best won-loss record in the NFL since 2013 among active QBs who’ve started at least 40 games, trailing only Tom Brady (.787) and tied with Russell Wilson.

Just another special thing about this team. They’re not afraid of adversity. They embrace it and attack it and beat it.

And Foles has faced his share.

“It’s the NFL,” Foles said early Friday morning. “Winning games is so tough.

“The big thing with our team is that we never turn on each other. On the sidelines, if the offense is struggling, the defense is going to go out there and get the ball back for us. That’s their mindset. They have our backs and vice versa.

“I think when you have a team like that, through a tough game like this when there isn’t a lot of rhythm, that’s how you have to win games. You lean on each other. You never turn on each other. That’s what is built here. That’s the character of this team.”

I can’t figure the guy out and I never will.

He’s the best quarterback you’ll ever see and the worst quarterback you’ll ever see and the only thing the two Nick Foles have in common is winning football games.

Foles hasn't lost at the Linc since 2013, and he hasn't lost in an Eagles uniform since 2014.

I can think of worse things to have than a backup quarterback who's a Super Bowl MVP and never loses.

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Eagles' holding just 1 open training camp practice is an insult to devoted fans

Eagles' holding just 1 open training camp practice is an insult to devoted fans

I could go on and on about how much I loved training camp at West Chester and the unforgettable memories, like Herschel Walker standing at the top of the steps on the west end of the practice field signing autographs in the blazing heat (with his helmet on) for an hour, until every kid had gotten something signed.

I could go on and on about how much I loved training camp at Lehigh and how fans could stand literally six feet from the practice field and hear the thud of contact and interact with the players as they stood on the sideline.

But I’m not going to do that because those days are gone forever and no amount of me crying about it is going to bring it back.

And I understand why the Eagles — and more and more NFL teams every year — are holding practices in their own year-round facilities instead of remote college campuses. It makes sense to practice where your film library is stored, where your modern medical and training facilities are housed, where all your equipment and gear is, where your immaculately maintained practice fields are located.

I get it.

What I don’t get is just one open practice for the fans.

One. In a year.

That’s inexcusable.

The Eagles moved from Lehigh to the NovaCare Complex in 2013, when Chip Kelly replaced Andy Reid. The Eagles scheduled five open practices that first summer, then three in 2014 and two each from 2015 through 2018.

And now just one.

Yeah, the $10 ticket fee for the Eagles’ one open practice this summer goes to a great cause. Every penny goes to the Eagles Autism Challenge, a cause that’s close to Jeff Lurie’s heart. The Eagles Autism Challenge raised $3 1/2 million this year, and it’s a terrific event that I’ve participated in the last two years.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the Eagles have an opportunity to put on a show for their fans two or three times during training camp, and for reasons they haven't explained, they’ve chosen not to.

The Eagles had no comment on why they've reduced open practices to just one this summer, but I assume it’s because it’s a logistical nightmare loading up all that equipment and moving it across the street for a glorified walkthrough.

It’s a hassle — and presumably an expensive one — for Doug Pederson to lose a valuable practice day in the cozy environment of the NovaCare Complex so Jake Elliott can play catch with fans, Brandon Graham can sign autographs for every kid he can find and everybody can watch in person while Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson light it up.

But this is a franchise worth close to $3 billion, according to Forbes, and these are fans that devote their lives to this football team, buying their jerseys, snagging every ticket the instant it’s available, traveling to their games.

They deserve more than one open practice.

They deserve more than one day to watch their football team with their own eyes.

We all know how hard it is for the average fan to get tickets. If you don’t know someone or already have season tickets of your own or have a whole big pile of money, you’re not going.

The open practices are the only remaining opportunity most fans have to see their heroes up close. To interact with them. To feel like they’re a part of everything.

It’s a long preseason. Training camp starts July 25 and really continues until Aug. 21, when joint practices with the Ravens wrap up.

I find it hard to believe the Eagles can’t find one more day to move their operations across Broad Street for all the people who've helped make this franchise worth close to $3 billion.

We’ve gone from five to three to two and now to one. You can see what direction this is trending. I’m afraid of what’s coming next.

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Eagles to charge for 1 open training camp practice, proceeds going to autism research

Eagles to charge for 1 open training camp practice, proceeds going to autism research

Eagles players will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 24, and the first practice will take place on July 25 at the NovaCare Complex. 

All but one practice will be held at the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles will hold just one open practice for fans at Lincoln Financial Field, but this year will charge admission. 

The open practice will be on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.; it will also be Military Appreciation Night. 

Tickets will be $10 and all proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge. Tickets can be purchased on TicketMaster.com and went on sale at 10:30 this morning. 

For years, most of the Eagles’ training camp practices were open to fans at Lehigh University and even since the team moved camp to the NovaCare Complex, select practices have been open to fans for free at the Linc. This is the first year the Eagles will charge admission to a training camp practice. Parking for the open practice this year will still be free. 

Last year, the Eagles had two open practices at the Linc. Tickets were required, but they were free of charge. 

According to ESPN, there was internal debate about whether or not to charge admission to practice this year, but, "Ultimately, the desire to further the team's charitable efforts won out."

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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