Nick Foles stepped to the podium to address the media for the first time after being named the team's official starting quarterback. Would the newfound status change the second-year quarterback? Would Foles project more of an outward confidence? Or would he remain the humble, inwardly confident quarterback who has posted historic numbers over the Eagles' three-game winning streak?
If you've been paying close enough attention to Foles, there never was another option.
"No, I feel the same," Foles responded when asked if being named the starting quarterback made him feel differently. "Nothing has changed in the way I am or who I am or the way I approach the game. How I am on the practice field, how I am in the locker room, I've always stayed true to who I am and I just have to continue to approach the same game every week."
A big fuss was not made about the decision internally, nor was there a sentimental announcement in front of the team. Instead, Kelly invited the quarterbacks into his office and let them know the situation, just as he did in Training Camp when Michael Vick was given the nod. Foles even made sure to give Kelly some grief about his alma mater's victory over Oregon this weekend. Friendly ribbing aside, though, Foles said the objective remains the same – to win.
"Chip's a simple guy," Foles said. "I just went in there, he told me the situation, that I was the one and Mike was the two, and let's go. It's not like drawn out. I know in movies it's a big thing and there are tears and everything. I walked in, we talked a little bit about the Oregon-Arizona game – had to throw that in there for my Wildcats out there – and then he just told me the situation. I was ready to go, Mike's ready to go. It takes multiple quarterbacks to win in this league. You never know what will happen. It's the same talk he gave me, you always have to be ready. We're the same group we were, we're going to keep pushing each other the same every day and make everybody better. It's a great quarterback room to be in with Coach [Bill] Lazor, and that's why it's pretty cool that we're still approaching the game the same way."
The flip side of Foles being named the starter is, of course, how this impacts Vick and his role moving forward. Vick has been the consummate professional and teammate during his tenure with the Eagles, and that has not changed with Foles' elevation to starting quarterback. While Vick is a competitor and would rather be out there on the field, his duties as a backup and supporter of Foles are vital to the team's chemistry and on-field fortunes. Besides, as Kelly likes to say, Vick is "just a chinstrap away" from getting in the game.
"Mike's been tremendous throughout this whole thing," Foles said. "Mike's done so many things in this league, he's such a great quarterback and still is. The best thing about Mike is he's a great team player. He's been nothing but helpful towards me throughout everything, whether it's me on the sidelines and him maybe telling me what he sees out there. If it's a time when composure's an issue, we'll just sit there and talk. And that's what's special about Mike, he's a good person and how he's approached this. Just to see him being a team player throughout this, it's been great for me to look up to and older guy and see how he's handled this whole situation."
As for the future and what being the "starting quarterback" means moving forward, Foles is not concerned. All that matters is the here and now.
"If you worry about the future, you're going to miss out on what's right in front of you," Foles said.
What's right in front of the Eagles now is a critical matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in a game that kicks off what will be the franchise's most exciting, relevant December of football since 2010. Both the NFC East title and final Wild Card spot in the NFC are up for grabs, and the Eagles, with Foles at the helm, are in control of their own destiny.
"I'm just worried about Arizona," Foles said. "I know that they've been playing some really good football, and they have a really good team with a sharp defense that has a lot of talent. This is a great challenge. It's exciting we get to come back home again. We got that off our chest last time and finally got a win for our fans. We have to continue to build on that and use home as an advantage. The fans were great, and I'm excited for them to come back out there and be ready again and have some fun. We just need a great week of preparation to get ready."
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