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No Question: Nick Foles Is The QB

Posted Jan 2, 2018

There is no doubt, even as some want to create it. The Eagles have Nick Foles as their starting quarterback for the playoffs ahead, with second-year man Nate Sudfeld in reserve. That’s the end of the conversation ...

There is no doubt, even as some want to create it. The Eagles have Nick Foles as their starting quarterback for the playoffs ahead, with second-year man Nate Sudfeld in reserve. That’s the end of the conversation.

As head coach Doug Pederson met the media on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, he was asked, on the third question in, to clarify Foles’ role as the starter, as if somewhere in the last 48 hours since the regular season ended there needed to be clarification.

And then later in the session with reporters, Pederson was asked if he had given any consideration to a quarterback change, of going with Sudfeld, who made his NFL debut on Sunday a very fine one with 19 completions in 23 attempts, over Foles, who won the game in Los Angeles coming in and playing in the fourth quarter after Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury, threw four touchdown passes to beat New York, struggled but led a final-minute field goal drive to beat Oakland and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, and then played a quarter of a game that meant nothing in the standings against Dallas on Sunday.

Oh, and who in his sixth NFL season and who has been a co-MVP in a Pro Bowl.

Pederson, for the record, has not considered a change. Nor should he. The Eagles have to get a lot of things right with an offense that struggled against Oakland and Dallas, but taking Foles out in place of Sudfeld – with all due respect to the developing young quarterback – is not one of them. There are times, as we all know, when the No. 2 quarterback is the most popular signal-caller in town, but this is not one of them.

What’s of utmost importance for the Eagles between now and Saturday, January 13 at 4:30 p.m., is that every phase of this team is ready to peak for the postseason. Foles is included in that recipe, and he is not alone. Not by any stretch. The Eagles are using this bye week as a time to keep the players around, work them Wednesday and Thursday, one day in pads, and focus on situational football rather than specific game planning since, you know, the Eagles don’t yet know who they will play in the Divisional Round of the postseason.

As for Foles, he’s got a lot of work to put in and a game to improve.

“The key is just to allow the guys around him to do their jobs as well,” Pederson said prior to his press conference. “As a quarterback, your job is to get them the football. He can just keep it as simple as that; just manage the offense that way. He does an outstanding job, he’s a smart guy, he studies, he prepares extremely well. He’s done a nice job here down the stretch and the guys around him have to play better, too.

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“It takes all 11, you know, on offense. Defense has to continue to play to help your quarterback. Special teams, you know, field position. Everything is tied into this game. Nick just has to continue to work, continue to detail his work, keep leading this football team. He’s the guy. He’s the one we’re going to look for and lean on. At the end of the day, this is a team sport and it’s going to take everybody to rally and to get the job done.”

Pederson may tweak a few things to put Foles more in his comfort zone. Foles isn’t Carson Wentz and there are throws that Foles perhaps likes more and, in that way, Pederson can tailor some of the game plan to Foles’ strengths. Using some tempo in the offense, for example, is something to consider given Foles’s success going no-huddle from the Chip Kelly days.

Really, anything and everything is on the table as the game plan comes together in the next week. Getting Foles into a groove early is important, so Pederson is considering all ideas.

Ultimately, though, it’s going to come down to the players executing the X’s and O’s. The Eagles earned the top seed in the playoffs and they fully intend to take advantage of the time off and the opportunity to self-scout and make adjustments.

“It comes down to detailing your work and understanding the game plan and understanding your opponent,” Pederson said. “At the end of the day, it’s about us and what we do and taking care of our business.”

There is a lot of things to work on ahead, but doing something stupid and considering, even for a moment, subbing Sudfeld for Foles is not one of them. That the question was even asked, or that Pederson needed to confirm Foles as the starter, was stunning and off base.

Foles is the starter.

Underline it 100 times.

He has the full confidence of the team and everyone in the organization. For the next week and a half, Foles and the offense have to work together and get ready to play great football in the playoffs.

“It’s not about Nick,” Pederson said. “It’s about the whole team. That’s how you win football games – as a team. That’s our focus.” 

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