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Nick Foles Ready To Let 'Er Rip Vs. Falcons

Posted Jan 9, 2018

He’s had two weeks to scout his game, look at film until his eyes bleed, energize his body and his mind, and just consider the circumstances. And Nick Foles has also answered the questions, so many questions. With just a few more days to go before the Eagles open the playoffs with a Divisional Round game against Atlanta, Foles is ready to let ‘er rip ...

He’s had two weeks to scout his game, look at film until his eyes bleed, energize his body and his mind and just consider the circumstances. And Nick Foles has also answered the questions, so many questions. With just a few more days to go before the Eagles open the playoffs with a Divisional Round game against Atlanta, Foles is ready to let ‘er rip.

“It’s just going out there and playing and staying in the zone and trusting my instincts,” Foles said on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. “I think that’s the big thing. I’ve played this game a long time. There’s a reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do. Part of that is my teammates, my coaches, but when I play my best and am most comfortable, I just play.”

There is no magic formula here for Foles as he prepares for his second playoff start. The Falcons have a fast and athletic defense. They track the football very, very well. The windows for throws will be small, so Foles has to trust what he sees, follow his mechanics, and get the ball out quickly and accurately.

The subject of intense scrutiny since the Oakland game, Foles plans to put all of that in the rearview mirror against Atlanta.

It’s “go” time.

“I haven’t executed as well as I wanted to the last couple of weeks, but having this time to self-scout, go through practice and everything, you realize, ‘Hey, just go out there and play.’ Maybe I wasn’t doing that as much in those games,” Foles said of his performances against Oakland and in the single quarter against Dallas. “It’s as simple as that. Sometimes the hardest things are the simple things. Basically, get out of your own head and just go play the game you know how to play.”

This much is true, and every player in the locker room backs it up: The team’s success does not ride solely on Nick Foles. He is an intricate part, of course, but as the Eagles have stressed all season they are team first – WE ALL WE GOT, WE ALL WE NEED – and that’s the way they are approaching Saturday.

How much the Eagles will ask of Foles is to be determined by the flow of the game, but the intention is to run the football, establish the line of scrimmage, stay ahead of the first-down chains, and convert on third down. Own the clock. Keep Atlanta’s offense off the field.

The Falcons aren’t going to make it easy, though. They’re going to stack the box and play downhill football and try to take away the running game. They want to make Foles beat them.

To have a good day on offense, Foles is going to have to make some throws and put points on the board.

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“We have complete trust in Nick and he has complete trust in us,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We’re here in the playoffs. This is what we’ve played for all season. We’ve put a lot of work to get to this point and we’ve won as a team all season, had to overcome a lot of adversity. This is going to be no different. We’re going to do it as a team.”

Atlanta isn’t likely to throw a lot of curveballs at the Eagles’ offense and Foles. The Falcons rely on pressure up front, led by speed off the edge and an outstanding linebacking corps that is as athletic as any in the league. Foles is going to have to be quick in his setup and his decisions.

Will the Eagles take deep shots, as Foles has had success doing in his past? Maybe. But it could be that they work hard on the running game and get into some play-action passing before they have an opening. As aggressive as Foles wants to be, he also knows he has to be patient and not force things.

“We know it’s an intense time, but we’re going to work like we would,” Foles said. “There’s a lot on the line, we’re aware of that, but at the same time you can’t put too much pressure on yourself. The key is to go out there and play. That’s Doug’s (Pederson, head coach) message: Be yourself, do the little things, make sure you’re doing every little thing you can each and every day to put yourself in position so that when we play Saturday you know you did everything you could to put yourself right there in that moment where, hey, you can go play the best football of your life.”

There. Simple. Nick just has to be Nick. Go out and play the best football of his life and, really, have fun playing the game he’s loved to play since he was a little kid.

“That’s what it’s going to be,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. This is why we play this game, to be in this spot.”

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