Philadelphia Eagles News

Nick Foles Knows That Bears Defense Is The Real Deal

For his next task, quarterback Nick Foles has to find some weaknesses in a Chicago Bears defense that doesn't have many. The Bears led the NFL in run defense this season, topped the league in total takeaways and interceptions, turning those takeaways into a league-leading 107 points. Among their many statistical accomplishments, consider this: Opposing quarterbacks compiled a passer rating of just 72.9, the best for any defense in the league.

So, yeah, Foles knows the challenge that comes with playing the Bears on Sunday in the final game of the NFL's Wild Card Weekend.

"They're an extremely talented defense. I'm really impressed with what I see, what I see from their front, from their secondary, from their linebackers," Foles said on Wednesday at his NovaCare Complex press conference. "They do a great job with vision. The reason they have a lot of turnovers, obviously, is the pressure they can cause up front, which causes a little havoc, quarterbacks holding onto the ball. And then their secondary understands concepts. They can tell when receivers are running different routes, what else is coming behind it so they're able to have vision on it and cut it. They have really good ball skills. That's something that you don't always see.

"So I've been very impressed while I'm watching film of what they do. The key to that is really going out there, executing, and being aware of when they have vision, what they're doing, and ultimately playing fast and not worrying about making mistakes."

Foles, who left Sunday's 24-0 win at Washington with a ribs injury, said he feels good and he's ready to go. Foles was a limited participant in Wednesday's team walkthrough. He may wear some extra padding in his chest/ribs area just to be sure on Sunday, but it won't be a hindrance.

The offense has performed at a high level in Foles' past three starts, scoring 30 points in the win over Los Angeles, 32 points to beat Houston, and a dominating 24 points on Sunday at Washington (Nate Sudfeld came off the bench for the final touchdown). Foles likes the way the offense is "playing fast," and part of that success is coming from the quarterback releasing the ball quickly and avoiding pressure. Foles wants to get the football out of his hand fast and into the hands of his playmakers.

That's exactly what's happening.

Chicago's defense is as complete as any in the NFL. Foles said it would be a "tall task" on Sunday, and that's not just pregame nice-speak. Chicago acquired pass rusher Khalil Mack prior to the season, and he's paid off with 12.5 sacks as the final piece to a defensive puzzle that was already good. Mack just took the Bears over the top.

"The big thing is, we're a confident team," Foles said. "We talk about it all the time. It's about the people inside this building that work together and with that confidence and belief in one another, you can go out there and do great things. We've been able to do that the last several weeks. Those weeks don't mean anything right now because we're in a new week. We will continue to believe that way, continue to prepare that way.

"They're very well-rounded. They mix up the coverages well, their front, their defensive linemen, they do a really good job of pressure. Their linebackers are athletic and move around well. The thing that I'm really impressed with is their secondary and the vision they can have with route recognition and eyes on the quarterback."

Foles has a relationship with Bears head coach Matt Nagy, as Nagy was an Eagles' offensive quality control coach in 2012, Foles' rookie season, and then served as Kansas City's co-offensive coordinator when Foles played the 2016 season with the Chiefs. There are a lot of familiarities here as Foles makes his first road playoff start, his fifth postseason start overall.

Putting aside all the hype and all of the storylines, Foles knows the Eagles have a job to do on Sunday, and that's to win a football game.

"To me, communication is key to success," Foles said. "We're doing a great of communicating. We just have to keep it going and keep sticking with one another and that will give us the best chance."

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