During his weekly press conference Thursday, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said there are no longer any rookies in the Eagles locker room. Four months into the regular season, there are now 53 seasoned veterans preparing to play on Sundays.
"All of this progressing and all of that is over now," Mornhinweg said. "We are no longer rookies - that's done. We expect to play at a high level consistently."
This mantra rings especially true for Foles, who will make his fourth consecutive start – and his first as the official starting quarterback – Sunday in Tampa Bay. Foles has been getting better each week, but the time for promise and progression is over. He is now expected to take control of this offense and win games. Fortunately, Foles hasn’t felt like a rookie in months.
"I think after preseason you can’t have the mindset of being a rookie," Foles said Friday after practice. "This is our first year, but you can’t have the mindset of, ‘I’m a rookie,’ and that you can afford mistakes. You can’t. We’re here, we played in college and we played a lot of football. It’s a different league, but in your mind you can’t be thinking that way."
This Eagles rookie class has played more than any in recent memory, but lately all eyes have been focused on Foles. Fortunately, he isn’t going it alone. On either side of his locker are two quarterbacks with a combined 134 starts in
"To have the support of both of them to help me along the way has helped tremendously," Foles said. "They’ve been there for me every step of the way (for) anything I’ve needed. And no matter what, I’m cheering them on, too, no matter who’s playing. I’ve been very fortunate to have two veteran quarterbacks right there with me."
Solid play from Foles down the stretch could answer some questions about the Eagles’ long-term answer at quarterback. And he’ll have another chance to showcase his skills Sunday against a porous Buccaneers secondary. The Bucs are ranked first against the run, but dead last against the pass. Will that impact the way Foles goes into the game?
"We have to run our offense," he said. "You can look at statistics all you want, but the big thing is, for any offense, to go out there and execute our plays, if that’s running or throwing. We’ll have to do both throughout the game successfully to put points on the board and give us a chance to win."
Sure, wins are still important. This is the NFL, after all. But for the Eagles, and especially the young players, the end of the 2012 season is about more than the numbers. It’s about pride, and it’s about living up to the standards they set for themselves as Eagles.
"We’re fortunate to do what we do. We love the Eagles, we love playing for this organization and our coaches, the owner, everything," Foles said. "We have an opportunity to go out there and play football again. And what could be better than going to Tampa Bay right now and play against them, and have an opportunity to continue to play? I’m 23 and I’m still able to play football. That’s something that’s pretty special."
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