Quarterback Nick Foles is just a little bit popular among Eagles fans after his stellar preseason debut on Thursday night. It also helps that the backup (to the backup) quarterback is always one of the most popular positions on the team anyway.
However, Foles promised on Saturday to remain grounded after his performance.
"I'm going to stay true to myself. Family and my faith are the most important things," Foles said. "I don't really worry about it. I go out there and try to help my teammates get better and they are going to help me get better."
Foles was 6-of-10 for 144 yards with two touchdowns for a 143.8 quarterback rating. He electrified the crowd with touchdowns on back-to-back passes - a 70-yard touchdown to Damaris Johnson and a 44-yard lob to Mardy Gilyard – to erase what was a 13-0 halftime deficit.
As the team returned to work on Saturday morning, Foles learned that backup quarterback Mike Kafka fractured his non-throwing hand in Thursday's game. Kafka can still take part in drills that don't require him to take a snap, but in live drills Foles is now working with the No. 2 offense. Head coach Andy Reid said it would be a three-week injury for Kafka, so that means Foles is in line to be the primary backup when the Eagles travel to New England for their second preseason game on August 20.
"The game is going to keep getting faster and faster, and I'm going to have to keep studying harder and harder," Foles said. "I'm going to work at it every day. The competition is getting greater. Even at practice, I'm getting more reps and seeing a lot more movement, which is going to benefit me just getting out there and seeing more repetitions. I love to play, so just getting out there and getting reps is just fun for me."
On the first play of the team blitz drill Saturday afternoon, Foles looked to recreate the magic he had with Gilyard on Thursday. He threw up a ball as Gilyard ran a go route down the left sideline, but this time cornerback Brandon Hughes did a good job of jumping up to break up the pass. Despite the incompletion there, Foles was poised throughout practice as he wasn't rattled during the team blitz drill. There were times he came to the line of scrimmage and confidently checked out of a play based on the defensive alignment.
"I've got a lot of work to do, but I feel like I've got some time to get it done," Foles said.
When he watched the film from Thursday, Foles didn't delve into the successful plays. He wanted to know what he did wrong and where he needs to improve his game. Even though he had a great performance, Foles was "not satisfied" with his play.
"A couple times even on the plays that went well like the (touchdown pass to Gilyard), even though it might've been a good play, there are still little technical things that I can make better," Foles said. "It's the little things that you don't want to take for granted. You have to work on the little things in football, and hopefully it carries over to the big things."
Even though Foles is taking the No. 2 quarterback job on a temporary basis, it's fair to wonder what would happen if the third-round pick was one snap away from playing in a game situation. Foles is not changing how he prepares. Whether he's the top backup or on the bottom of the depth chart, Foles wants to be ready at all times.
"If I had to go in, I could. That's my job here. If I'm in that position, I've got to be ready," Foles said. "You can't get complacent. You always have to be ready to play."
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