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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Nick Foles: Talk of the Town this Preseason

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Kevin Noonan
Kevin Noonan
Kevin Noonan has covered and commented on the Delaware sports scene for more than 30 years, everything from amateur recreation leagues and high schools to local colleges and the Philadelphia professional teams. He’s been voted Delaware Sportswriter of the Year multiple times and currently covers the Philadelphia Eagles for CBSSports.com and teaches creative writing courses at Wilmington University.

No other team worked him out, no other team met with him, no other team showed any interest. And that’s why Nick Foles earnestly says, “This is where I was meant to be. They believed in me.’’

So far, Foles has done a great job justifying that faith. The rookie quarterback has been the biggest story of the Philadelphia Eagles preseason, completing 24 of 38 passes for 361 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in two games. That translates to a QB rating of 118.4 and no quarterback in the NFL has a higher rating this preseason.

Yeah, we know — it’s just the preseason and Foles has played mostly against other second- and third-teamers. And, sure, there have been lots of other rookies who looked like stars in pretend games and faded quickly once the games started to count.

Nobody is anointing Nick Foles as the next great quarterback of the Eagles, nobody is saying that he will be the one who finally leads them to a Super Bowl championship. At the same time, the third-round pick from Arizona has been the talk of the town and Eagles fans are eager to watch him tonight when Foles starts against the Cleveland Browns in the third preseason game.

“I don’t think anybody expected a rookie quarterback to jump in there like that and play as well as he has,’’ Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “Everything he’s shown in the preseason has been outstanding.”

This exhibition, however, will be different. With No.1 quarterback Michael Vick sidelined with bruised ribs and No. 2 (for now, at least) Mike Kafka out with a broken hand, No. 3 is suddenly No. 1, which means Foles will go against the Browns’ starting defense instead of the mixed bag of backups he faced in the last two preseason games.

Another caveat – the Eagles and Browns play each other in a couple weeks in the first game of the regular season, so neither team is going to prepare and game-plan like it would normally, even for a preseason game.

Still, for a rookie who has mostly practiced and played with guys who probably won’t even make the team, this is a big step.

“I think that will be a good test for him,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a young guy, so every rep he gets is a positive rep for him.’’

So far, Foles has handled every challenge thrown at him and impressed everyone – especially his coaches and teammates – with the way he goes about his business and Kelce raved about Foles’ cool, businesslike demeanor in the huddle

But Foles realizes this game will be a little different, mainly because the defense he’ll face will be better and people are going to be more focused on him.

“I know the game is going to be fast,’’ Foles said, “so I’m just going to have to play fast.

“My biggest thing is to just go out there and execute the offense, run things the way they’re supposed to be run, and then rely on the guys around me,’’ Foles added. “We have a lot of great players in this offense and I have to make sure I put them in a position to make plays.”

Contact Kevin Noonan at knoonan32@aol.com.

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