The more quarterback Nick Foles studies the Arizona defense, the more he is impressed with what he sees. The Cardinals have been a takeaway machine for much of this season, particularly during the team's four-game winning streak, and Foles knows he and his offense must be prepared for anything on Sunday (1 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field, FOX).
"They have a lot of talent. They have a big front. They have a lot of size up front ... and then in the secondary they are very athletic so it will be a great test for our whole offense," said Foles.
Todd Bowles is Arizona's defensive coordinator and he knows Foles a little bit having coached with the Eagles last year. That he knows Foles may give Bowles some insight, but the second-year quarterback thinks he is a totally different player than he was a a rookie.
Foles, of course, was named on Wednesday as the NFC's Offensive Player of the Month for November and he's thrown 16 touchdown passes without an interception this season.
"I feel like as you play this game you continue to grow," said Foles. "I'm not necessarily the same guy I was last year."
Arizona's pressure packages have been successful this year, and Foles is aware of the challenges playing against a fast, physical front backed up by an athletic secondary.
"They really try to generate pressure on the quarterback and then their secondary really hunkers down and tries to take away the easy routes and make you work for it," said Foles. "Like any team in the NFL they will disguise, they will try to turn the safeties one way and come the other way. I think the big thing is that when the ball is snapped they will show their hand, so it's really just recognizing when the ball is snapped what is happening and making a smart decision from there."
The key against the blitz, said Foles, is that the offensive line sees the pressure coming and adjusts. That comes from center Jason Kelce setting the protection and making sure everyone is on the same page.
The presence of cornerback Patrick Peterson makes every quarterback stand up and take notice and Foles has all the respect in the world for the third-year player, so the Eagles have to figure out a way to get the ball down the field if Peterson is manned up against DeSean Jackson. The team's spread-it-around approach is key for this game. Foles has to see the field and get the ball to the open receiver.
"I have all the confidence in the world in my guys and know that they're going to get the job done," said Foles.