FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – Nick Foles surprised many around the NFL last year with his spectacular 27 touchdown-to-2-interception ratio in the regular season.
Among them was Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“The year that Foles had relative to the production, his touchdowns to interceptions, his overall handling of the team, I mean was great, was outstanding,” the three-time Super Bowl winning head coach said Tuesday afternoon before the Patriots and Eagles began their first of three joint practices leading to Friday night’s preseason game at Gillette Stadium.
“I don’t know that at that point we were there in training camp (last August in joint practices at the NovaCare Complex) that I would have necessarily said I saw that coming, but I mean you see a good football player. He had a great year.”
Belichick said he didn’t study the Eagles much last season - they weren’t on the Patriots’ schedule, obviously - but he praised their offensive explosiveness as the most impressive aspect of their 10-6, division-winning season.
“I think Chip is a good coach, does a good job,” Belichick said. “They’re a good football team. I think the play that they got at quarterback last year was really good. I’m not sure that anybody totally saw that coming, but that was a big part of it. They had a lot of explosive plays. They were very dynamic on offense. (They) created more explosive plays than anybody in the league.”
Before Belichick took the podium, Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur addressed the media, speaking for the first time since Friday night’s preseason loss to the Bears, during which Foles threw two interceptions.
On the first interception, Shurmur said, Foles tried to force the pass and make a play, “which typically he won’t do,” the coordinator said. “He’s just trying to see what he can get away with.”
And the second?
“They did a good job of covering it. He’s done it in the past - he’s just got to pull it down and get what he can with it and then we’ll play third down,” Shurmur said. “That had nothing to do with what he’s been working on. Nick’s training well. Nick’s doing some good things. Fortunately, if you make some mistakes in the preseason it doesn’t hurt you, and he certainly learns from every rep he gets.”
Here are a few other quick hits from Shurmur’s media session on Tuesday:
**On practicing with the Patriots
“This is a training session. This is very valuable. We went back and looked at all the training we did last year against the Patriots and we got a lot out of it. At this time in training camp to be able to work our scheme – and we’re really not game planning – but work our scheme against a different opponent is very valuable for us. We’re going to grade it like we would. We’ll evaluate it like we would if we were playing against ourselves.”
**On Jordan Matthews’ dropped passes in his preseason debut
“We’d like to think it was just a first game deal. He’s trained well all the way through the spring and certainly through training camp. So we’re going to anticipate he’ll be back out there running routes and catching balls. He’s fine. … I think it was one of those deals where had some drops and he’s just got to get over it and play through it. I don’t think it’s anything too revolutionary.”
**On the performance of the first-time offensive line against Chicago
“I thought we did some good things. Unfortunately what we didn’t do well is we got penalties. And any time you have penalties you can see what happens to an offensive drive. We had penalties. We got knocked back. You couldn’t get in a rhythm. You’ve seen, when we play our best ball we get a couple good plays and then we get on a roll. We had a couple good plays that were brought back because of penalties and so then it kind of knocks you out of sync a little bit. Those are things that we can learn from."