The week of preparation is over. He's taken all the reps, he's buried his nose in the playbook and he's put in overtime watching film. All that's left for rookie quarterback Nick Foles is to take the field.
On Friday, head coach Andy Reid officially ruled quarterback Michael Vick out for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, meaning that Foles will make his first NFL start this weekend. After a week of practice with the first team, Foles is feeling confident and eager to step back out on the field.
"Right now I feel comfortable," Foles said after practice Friday. "Come game day I don't know what it's going to be like because I've never experienced that, but I assume that there will be butterflies and nerves. But I'm going to keep working hard, keep studying the playbook; keep watching film. The more you know about something, the more the nerves go down, so just preparation. Keep working until game day."
Foles stepped in after Vick left last Sunday's game with a concussion. The rookie played well, and with Vick still recovering from that concussion, Foles took all the practice reps with the starters this week. Now that the week of practice is over, how will he stay sharp until Sunday?
"Just keep going over everything," he said. "Keep watching film, keep going over the game plan; play the what-if game. 'What if different scenarios happen, what would I do in this situation?' Get the brain thinking, and that's what I'm going to do in the next couple days."
Last week Foles didn't have time to let the gravity of his first real NFL snaps sink in, but this is a week unlike any of his young career. Camera crews and reporters have been hanging on his every word and he's had a week to think about the game ahead. It's a lot to ask of a rookie, but Foles doesn't seem fazed.
"I don't care who you are, you're going to get nerves and butterflies," he said. "It's a game. You care about it. We care about the game we play in. You're going to get nerves, but the second the ball is snapped, the second you're in it, they go away and you just play. You get in the zone and just play football and just trust everything."
Foles has stressed the importance of trust a great deal this week. Trusting the system, trusting his teammates, and, most importantly, trusting himself. Foles is short on experience, but he's been playing quarterback long enough to have learned this lesson well.
"Don't try to do too much – that's the key on any level. I learned that in college," he said. "At times I'd try to do too much and really just stay calm. Trust the preparation, trust the week of practice with the guys. We have ten other guys out there with me playing together. It's a group. We work together."
His team firmly behind him, Foles is ready to step onto the field and lead his team against the Redskins. Foles has put in the time behind the scenes, and is looking to affirm the team's confidence in him with a win Sunday afternoon.
"We have a great group of guys here; great coaches," Foles said. "I feel great, I felt great ever since I got here. I feel like it's a home. We have fun together. We had fun out there in practice, working together in the locker room. It's a great environment to play in, it's a great environment to go to work in. I feel comfortable with everything and I'm ready to go play for these guys."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.