Nick Foles is the perennial runner-up, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, or if you will, served perpetual understudy. Take your pick. His NFL journey began in Philadelphia, and took him to St. Louis, Kansas City, then back to Philly, and Jacksonville, before landing via trade in Chicago to compete with Mitch Trubisky.
His backup role lasted all of two-and-half games. Trubisky floundered against the Atlanta Falcons, and Foles led a comeback win with three touchdown passes in the second half. His long and strange trip continues as he will start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday October 4th.
His former offensive coordinator Frank Reich is now the Colts head coach. Reich referred to him as fearless and not tied up with emotionally with failure. “I think that’s more just life,” says Foles. “The book of James in the Bible talks about trials. And if you read it, finding joy within trails. I think so many times as people we think that that when we have bad game or a bad moment that world is against us, and that’s not really the case. I’ve said over and over again that the tough times are not really fun, but they equip you for what’s ahead, as long as you approach it with the right heart. Definitely not easy but, I think what Frank is trying to say is I’ve been very blessed throughout my life. Whenever I’ve had tough times, or had trials, to not only have my faith to grow from, but to have people like Frank and other people to lift me up and be there for me. And I can do that for others as well And that’s really why I play the game. You get opportunities to instill confidence and calmness with your teammates and your coaches in a chaotic moment. That’s just something throughout the years, going through trials, going through tough times. It’s never fun to go through tough times, but it is a big reason why stepping in those big moments I just don’t worry about it too much. I just go out there and be fearless.”
I feel really comfortable (with the offense.) Going into this week, there’s been a lot of great conversations. This week will be great to go out and get a preparation week. Go through the plays and study the plays and watch practice after practice and fine tune everything.-Nick Foles
Foles discussed what he expects to get out of practice. “The conversations you get to have with the coaches as it pertains to the game plan. Going through walk throughs, going through practice. Getting to rep the plays and fine tune the plays, talking with the guys in between periods. All that stuff is valuable knowledge. That’s the stuff that you look forward to. You have the opportunity to start in a game. You get that priceless time with the players. You get to grow and get better.”
Linebacker Robert Quinn, another new veteran on the team observed, “You see the way he practices. Working his craft all week long, even when he was given scout team looks. He is a super Bowl MVP quarterback. When he was called upon, he stepped up to the plate. He did a great job. It’s been a collective team win. For him to get out there rand perform the way he did, you can’t do anything but be happy and excited for him.”
Matt Nagy offered his thoughts on how Foles would approach his new role on the team. “One of Nick’s biggest strengths is that all of that stuff happened in the second half (of Sunday’s game) so fast, you don’t really have time to react. Now, here you are and everything you do, whether it’s your first meeting or your first walk through, or your first post-practice meeting. Whatever it is, now this is the first time the you are ‘the guy’ and you are doing it. Everything is just a little bit different, but it’s not like Nick hasn’t been in this situation before. He’s been there, done that. That’s probably where I think you’ll see growth.”
Rookie Wide Receiver Darnell Mooney: He’s a smart guy. He’s very vocal. He understands what the playbook is saying, but he doesn’t have to say too much about where we have to go, because he knew what was going on with the blitz.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor noted, “He is very much a good communicator; a people person. He knows how to deal with his teammates, and get everyone on the same page. Nick has a lot of wisdom from all the teams he’s been on, and the players he’s had to deal with. What you see every day is him using that wisdom, and really going out of his way to help build the team the way that the quarterback can. Talking to the players and getting them on the same page. One of the things he does really well is take information and process it.”
Nagy: “All the teams and all the stuff he’s been through different teams in different roles. He’d be the first to tell you that it’s ultimately made him a better quarterback than he was as a rookie, or even a second year guy. He’s a much different quarterback now than he was in 2013. He’s excited about this opportunity.”
Foles elaborated further on his trials and tribulations. “Understanding who I am as a person, and not letting my identity be framed in. How many yards did I throw for? How many touchdowns did I throw for? Even winning the Super Bowl. That’s been a huge part of my life and career. It is not holding tight to those things. I want the success to be a byproduct of the little things. Each and every day using this as a platform to help different people in different things. Then I can step on the field and be a lot more free than if I put everything on a pedestal. There’s been more of a peace in going to work. The key is learning how to alleviate stress.” His faith and his religion helps him get through these challenging situations.
Nagy: “I’ve always known that Nick has that calming presence. I didn’t know it right away. But I’ve seen him in another uniform and I felt it. And I’ve talked to other coaches that have told me about it. Obviously you’ve seen the Super Bowl. Then you talk to him in the off-season and you listen to the experiences that he went through. Little tricks that help him in those type of situations. A lot of that is DNA, but he’s also learned how to go about his own way of making it work. It doesn’t mean that something good is gonna happen. Because there are times he’s going to make a bad decision. But in the big moments the calmness, being cool and collected, that’s a strength of his.”
Nothing changes in the QB room, says Foles. We all throughout the course of this year depend on each other. Obviously there’s different roles. That’s the toughest part about the game. At the end of the day. I know I have great support from Mitch and Tyler (Bray) going through this preparation week. So I’ll lean a lot on them as we watch film and study, and then also talking with coaches and see where we can attack the defenses.