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Friday, March 5, 2021

Eagles' Foles Gearing Up for a Better Game Sunday

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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.

Chip Kelly said being an NFL quarterback is a lot like being a PGA golfer – some days can be very good and some days can be very bad.

Kelly, the coach of the Eagles, made that comparison while talking about young quarterback Nick Foles, who will start on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders after missing last week’s loss to the New York Giants because of a concussion.

Foles got that concussion the week before against the Dallas Cowboys, and that was adding injury to insult since Foles was playing the worst game of his brief career when he got knocked out of the game on the final play of the third quarter.

But the week before that, Foles had the best game of his career against Tampa Bay, a performance that earned him NFC offensive player of the week honors. And that’s what elicited Kelly’s comparison of Foles to, say Tiger Woods.

“Sometimes that position is a lot like a golfer,’’ Kelly said. “You can go one week and be in contention and you’re leading and you have a great round, and the next week the guy doesn’t make the cut, and that’s unfortunate.

“But what we need out of Nick is consistency, and he understands that.  So, that’s what he’s working for in practice right now.’’

Foles said he felt fine, with no aftereffects of the concussion, and that he’s been throwing the ball well all week. Foles also said he’s had bad games before and always bounced back.

“One of my strengths is that I always know when I mess up,’’ Foles said with a smile. “I understand my body.’’

Kelly said most of Foles problems against Dallas were mechanical, but even that is not as easy as explanation as it might sound at first.

“It’s not just one thing,’’ Kelly said. “You just can’t say, ‘Aha! His step was nine inches and it should have been three inches,’ and we correct that step, we’re good.  One play is different from the next play, and I think overall he can do a better job in his setup and getting his feet set a little better and he can do a better job in terms of his shoulder plane and how he’s delivering the football.

“Those are all things we work on. But when you get out there, you’ve still got to go play. And I think sometimes you can paralyze him, and I’ll use the golf analogy — if you stand over the ball and you think about nine million things before you hit it, you’re not going to hit it very well.  Sometimes, as I told Nick, grip it and rip it, let’s go. … The big thing for him is let’s just get him back in the flow. Let’s get in a rhythm.’’

Foles said the key to that is to simply take what the defense gives him and not try to force big plays, something he admitted doing against Dallas – like a golfer who tries to cut a dogleg and drives the ball into the trees, instead.

Foles also said he won’t let himself get caught up in the notion that a good game on Sunday could be a springboard to winning the starting job permanently.

“I’m playing in the here and now,’’ he said, ‘’because if you play in the here and now everything else will take care of itself.’’

Contact Kevin Noonan at knoonan32@aol.com.

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