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Eagles QB Vick out; Foles to start at Washington

Eagles QB Vick out; Foles to start at Washington

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The news wasn't surprising to Nick Foles.

Or anybody else, for that matter.

After all, the Eagles rookie quarterback had practiced with the first team all week, and the starter at his position, Michael Vick, hadn't even touched the field since he left it with a concussion six days ago.

So, when Philadelphia coach Andy Reid on Friday officially ruled Vick out of Sunday's game vs. Washington, and named Foles the starter, there weren't many out there shocked by the expected proclamation. Certainly not the third-round pick from Arizona who has been preparing for his first NFL start his whole life.

``We've had a great week of preparation, a lot of hard work, and it definitely has sunk in,'' Foles said. ``I'm ready to go.''

Eagles fans certainly hope so.

When Foles and Philadelphia take the field Sunday in a matchup of disappointed 3-6 teams, there will be plenty at stake. Any chance of getting back in the NFC East race depends on this team making a run. Reid's future - and perhaps even Foles' as a full-time starter - also depend on it.

No pressure, or anything.

``We have a great group of guys here, great coaches. I feel great. I felt great ever since I got here. I felt like it's a home. We have fun together. We have fun out there at practice together and in the locker room,'' Foles said. ``It's a great environment to play in, it's a great environment to go to work in. I feel comfortable in everything and I'm ready to go play for these guys.''

Vick, meanwhile, will be resting this weekend, and spending time in ``in dark, quiet places,'' according to head trainer Rick Burkholder, who spoke to reporters at the Eagles training facility on Friday.

``He has too many symptoms for us to even exercise him,'' Burkholder said. ``He's not even close to playing this week.''

Reid finally made the announcement official after the team's final practice of the week, confirming a decision that had been in the works since Monday. It was only because Vick had not completed the league-mandated concussion testing earlier in the week, that Reid did not officially rule him out earlier.

``That was one of his goals, obviously, to stay healthy all season. He's a very considerate guy, and he feels like he lets people down, and his teammates down,'' Reid said of Vick. ``And that's not the case, he's hurt. But he's one of the most competitive, toughest guys I've been around.''

Vick completed just six passes for 70 yards vs. Dallas before leaving. The Eagles lost, 38-23.

``The one thing that we look at is that we want to see whether his cognitive function is down. We do that through impact testing. He did take an impact test today,'' Burkholder said. ``He's below baseline, so that's another indicator that he's not ready to play.''

Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception vs. the Cowboys. Those numbers weren't enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in Reid's 14 seasons.

``He's comfortable with what we've been running,'' Reid said of Foles. ``It's the same things we were doing in training camp. He's good with it.''

That said, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has tightened the playbook a bit this week for Foles, a third-round draft pick out of Arizona, who became something of a fan favorite in Philadelphia during an impressive run through the preseason.

``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.''

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.

``Come game day, I don't know what it's going to be like because I've never experienced that but I assume there will be butterflies and nerves,'' Foles said. ``I'm going to keep working hard, keep studying the playbook, watching film, so the more you know about something the more the nerves go down. Just preparation. Keep working until game day.''

Foles, equipped with a strong arm and the ability to move around in the pocket, threw for 553 yards in the preseason, with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He finished with a quarterback rating of 110.1.

All that said, putting the season in the hands of a rookie - whether it's forced or not - could create more problems. But Reid, as he has been throughout this season of discontent, is unfazed.

``I worry about right now. What we can control. What I can control, and that's getting this football team better,'' Reid said. ``Anything that you add into that mix is a distraction and you can't afford that in the National Football League.''

Vick has been inconsistent - at best - the last two seasons. After helping to rally the Eagles from a 4-8 start last season with four consecutive victories to close the year, he has thrown for 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions this season.

``He has to get better is what he's got to do right now,'' Reid said. ``That's it. Concentrate on that right now, and that's the most important thing.''

Vick's quarterback rating at the time of the injury was just 79.2.

``Right now, he currently has symptoms. He's had symptoms all week since the game. He's had a headache, which has gotten better during the week. He's foggy. He's not very alert right now in terms of he just doesn't have that energy,'' Burkholder said. ``He's tired all the time, he's slept a lot, and he's not getting rid of that fatigue. I would consider him heavy eyed.

``When I talk to him, he's just not the Michael Vick that I know when he's healthy.''

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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