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Eagles move closer toward starting the Foles era

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Eagles move closer toward starting the Foles era

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Nick Foles practiced with the first team this week and stuck around for extra film work.

He's ready to make his first career NFL start for the Philadelphia Eagles.

All he needs now is to officially and publicly be named the starter. The Eagles again practiced another day without injured quarterback Michael Vick. The veteran has sat out since suffering a severe concussion in last week's loss to Dallas, turning playcalling duties over to Foles, a third-round draft pick.

Foles relieved Vick against the Cowboys and is ready to start Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Because Vick had not completed his concussion testing, he has not officially been ruled out of Sunday's game. That could come Friday when coach Andy Reid talks to the media after practice.

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg sounded like a coach who knew he'd be tightening the playbook for the rookie.

``He will see some things that he hasn't seen before, and how he reacts to those things will be key,'' Mornhinweg said Thursday. ``That would be the two biggest things right at the front of my mind that we've talked about.''

The Eagles and Redskins are both 3-6 and badly need a win to even begin thinking about a .500 season. Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception in relief of Vick. Those numbers weren't enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in coach Reid's 14 seasons.

In a dreary season that has fallen well short of expectations, seeing if Foles can show enough flashes to become a franchise quarterback has put some snap back in the Eagles' year.

``There's quite a bit of excitement, I think, in this situation because of a couple of things,'' Mornhinweg said. ``Number one, the situation we're in. Can we get it done and make a run here? Secondly, with a rookie quarterback there is certainly some excitement there.''

Mornhinweg said Foles, who played at Arizona, would be a good fit in the Eagles offense and was glad they drafted him.

``He's big, has a big arm,'' Mornhinweg said. ``I thought he carried Arizona as best as he could. They really had problems personnel-wise and injury-wise. He's tough, both physically and mentally.''

Fans rooted for Foles, who had an outstanding preseason, to replace Vick for weeks. He was impressive in the preseason and his receivers have been enthusiastic over his arm strength. He could put that deep ball back in play against a Redskins pass defense ranked among the worst in the NFL.

Mornhinweg, a former head coach with the Detroit Lions and a veteran of the NFL sidelines since 1995, was also wowed by Foles' maturity and the quick way he earned respect in the locker room.

``I will say this, Nick Foles has excellent command,'' Mornhinweg said. ``It appears that he is an excellent leader.''

Yes, there are always difficulties that go along with starting a rookie QB. The Redskins are experiencing their own growing pains with the often dynamic rookie Robert Griffin III. Foles isn't expected to carry a franchise like Griffin is doing in D.C. quite yet.

But he has seven games left to prove he's the right guy going forward for the Eagles, even at the expense of Vick.

``Every rookie quarterback that has started since I've been coaching, and I've been doing this a little while,'' Mornhinweg said, ``I've had confidence in that he could go in and get certain things done that we needed done.''

Foles is the next in line.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler