There is no longer talk out there (or at least it's been muted in the heat of the playoff race) about the "quarterback of the future" for the Eagles. The focus is on Nick Foles and what he is doing now for the Eagles.
As unflappable as they come for a quarterback who is, please remember, only in his second NFL season, Foles continues to play outstanding football. He has 23 touchdown passes and two interceptions this season with a huge game approaching on Sunday night against Chicago. If there is any tension in Foles, you would be hard pressed to find it. He has the same demeanor he had when he started his first NFL game at Washington last year, and the same he had in the aftermath of the seven-touchdown, he's-arrived-in-the-league game in Oakland earlier this season.
There are plenty of things for Foles to improve in his game, and he knows it. He's taken a sack or two here and there when he's had an opportunity to throw the ball away. He's had the football sail on him when throwing to an open receiver because his mechanics were just a smidgen off. There are some decisions he would like to have back.
The quest for perfection never ends, and it is never attained. That's one of the characteristics to love about Foles. He wants to work harder than anyone else and he wants to be the best. He wants to take the Eagles to greatness.
Foles just knows that it can't happen lickety split. It's a day-by-day process.
"It's all about having a great day today and then doing the same thing tomorrow," says Foles. "Stay in the moment and don't get ahead of yourself."
Where is Foles as a quarterback? He's really, really good right now, as all of the numbers suggest. Foles leads the league in passer rating, in yards per passing attempt, in interception percentage and all of those statistics are quality metrics when evaluating performance.
Foles is more than numbers, though. He's a developing talent who is on the rise. The best is yet to come with Foles, who takes his team into Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night in front of a television audience that is national and that has not seen enough of Foles to have an informed opinion of his abilities.
We've seen how far Foles has come from the time he was drafted. He's obviously always been a big, tall, strong, smart quarterback who makes good decisions, but he's also done a nice job working with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor on his mechanics. The motion that appeared a bit looping last year has become more compact. The footwork is better as Foles drives through his throws. His accuracy has improved, and his touch and feel for what defenders are trying to do is leaps and bounds better than it was when he was a rookie and, even, earlier this season. Foles is never going to be mistaken for a "running" quarterback, but he's mobile within the pocket and he has taken advantage of opportunities to run the football.
And the way Foles bounced back from the struggles he had when Dallas visited Lincoln Financial Field in October has been impressive. Foles has a 5-1 record since the loss against Dallas and in every game except the Snow Bowl against Detroit Foles has compiled a passer rating of more than 100.0 with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sunday night, and the following Sunday at Dallas, are important moments in Foles' development. In these moments, ones that Foles has not experienced, a quarterback must deliver the big drives and the key first downs and, ultimately, the wins. This is truly the stretch run with playoff-hopeful teams on the other sideline.
The pressure is mounting, and Foles remains the cool, collected quarterback who shows up early to the NovaCare Complex and leaves late. He's in this to win it for the Eagles, no matter how it happens.
A young quarterback's career takes many twists and turns before we truly know what he's all about. With Foles, the sample size grows, and so does the appreciation for what he is as a leader of the franchise. A new experience waits for him on Sunday with a national audience looking at him with a different set of expectations.
"It's a football game and when it comes down to it, it's just football," says Foles. "We're preparing for it like we do every game and I'm going to go out and play it like I do every week."
That's what we hope. Foles is playing as well as any quarterback in the league at the moment and he has plenty of room to grow his game. In the immediate picture and in the big view, that's a hugely positive piece to know. The Eagles have Nick Foles at quarterback, and everybody believes in his ability to get the job done for this football team.