The goal for Nick Foles and the rest of the Eagles was to be playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday. While they came up short in bringing a championship to Philadelphia this year, the Eagles certainly accomplished a great amount in 2013. On Thursday, Foles joined ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" to discuss what this past season meant to both him and the rest of the franchise moving forward.
"We have a great team," Foles said. "We had a good year, but that's something that we have to build on. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Just because we played well last season doesn't mean we're going to do it this year, so we have to have that same drive that we've always had."
Foles' narrative this past season has been well documented. The 2012 fourth-round pick was handed the reins of the Eagles offense in Week 5 when Michael Vick injured his hamstring on the road against the New York Giants. Aside from a game and quarter in which he was sidelined with a concussion, Foles led the Eagles for the rest of the season, taking the team to its first postseason appearance since 2010.
According to Foles, he knew what was being asked of him when he took the field, and while he was always confident in his abilities, he saw things really start to click after his record-breaking performance on the West Coast.
"It's a team sport," Foles said. "One guy goes down, another guy has to step in and go in there and execute. We have a great team in Philly – great coaches and great players. I just stepped in there and I played, and I knew my role and I needed to go out there and perform.
"I always felt comfortable. It was one of those things where as a team we were bonding together, and week-to-week we were just growing as a team and figuring (it) out. I think after the Oakland game, it was one of those things were the team was like 'Hey, we can do this. Let's do it,' and we just took it from there."
Foles finished the season with the highest quarterback rating in the league at 119.2. He threw 27 touchdown passes compared to just two interceptions. In his second season in the NFL, he helped lead his team to a division title. And while those accomplishments made for headline-grabbing news, Foles was also able to do something else that not many people expected; he successfully shattered the misconception that Chip Kelly needed a mobile quarterback to run "his" offense.
"In Chip's offense, playing quarterback, I believe the main thing is to get the playmakers the ball," Foles explained. "You have to make plays on your feet at times, but in Chip's offense, he wants a guy who can distribute the ball, be smart, be quick in thinking, and be able to react and to go fast. I was a basketball player, so that helped."
The 2013 season, as impressive as it was for the Eagles' young quarterback, is now a thing of the past. After Sunday, all 32 NFL teams go back to 0-0. The future for this young group of Eagles is bright, but potential does not always lead to success. According to Foles, the only way for the Eagles to build upon 2013 is to keep the same focused approach as they head into next season.
"I've always approached it the same," Foles said. "I've always approached it like I'm a starter. The thing is, once you start playing a lot, you get more comfortable, and it's exciting. I'm excited to get back to Philly, get back to work, and I know that all of us are.
"It's just one of those things where you build relationships with the guys around you, and you do learn the offense (over) time. I think the big thing is that everybody does it in their own way and to just be natural and do it in your own way."
Before his interview came to a close, Foles gave his prediction for Sunday's big game. Though he knows that both teams proved to be among the elite in the NFL, Foles is siding with Denver because of the man pulling the strings for the Broncos offense.
"I'm expecting a great game, of course," said Foles. "You've got two great teams that had great seasons, but it's hard to bet against Peyton (Manning), so I'm going with him."
Foles and Manning shared an interesting connection in 2013. The Eagles were defeated by the Broncos in Week 4, but Foles didn't enter that game until Broncos had all but assured a victory. At that time, no one would have predicted that Foles and Manning would both have their gear put on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but that is exactly what happened. Both quarterbacks had record-tying seven-touchdown performances in 2013, the first time that two quarterbacks have done so in the same season. In fact, no quarterback had thrown seven scores in a game since Joe Kapp in 1969. The quarterback duo also became the benchmarks of offensive efficiency, with Manning setting an NFL record by throwing 20 touchdown passes before throwing an interception; Foles threw 19 touchdowns before his first pick.
Foles finished just ahead of Manning as the league's highest-rated passer, but the Eagles quarterback knows that there is a lot that he can learn from Denver's signal-caller.
"I was definitely watching Peyton (when we played the Broncos) and how he conducted the offense," said Foles. "He's a field general out there. He's fast, he does everything sharp, he makes the right calls, so he's one of the best to ever play the game.
"I think (I can learn) just how he takes command, how he takes command of the offense, how he owns everything, how he makes sure the receivers are always on the same page and that the line gets the right calls and the back knows what to do. That command is something that guys respond to, and you can tell that he's taken it over in Denver."
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