Eagles quarterback Nick Foles casts an eye to the future
Nick Foles wore his practice jersey on Wednesday, so badly wanting one more chance to play for the Eagles this season. But the rookie is sidelined with a hairline fracture in his throwing hand and is on injured reserve, not even a member of the 53-man roster.
That means Foles' tryout for the starting job in 2013 is complete, and his case must be made based on the film from seven games he played this season, six of which he started.
"That's not my decision," Foles said of who will start next season. "What I can do is keep working. I can look at what I've done and compete."
The 23-year-old Foles is not one to grandstand or boast about his ability. He even refused to use his broken hand as an excuse for the way he played in Sunday's loss to the Redskins
But it's that loss - and the other four of his NFL career - that defines Foles. He is 1-5 as an Eagles starter, and that follows a college career at Arizona in which he was 15-18, a record that was held against him by some scouts during the predraft evaluations.
To his credit, Foles played with a depleted Eagles roster this season, but he insisted that a quarterback's record is still an important metric to evaluate.
"Starting quarterback, you have to put [up] more points at whatever cost to win the game," Foles said. "If you look at it like that, which I do, I didn't do my job, and that's something I need to keep working on."
Foles finished the season with 1,699 passing yards while completing 60.8 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and five interceptions. He rushed for one touchdown and lost three fumbles.
He acknowledged there were "some good things" and "some bad things" about his 2012 resumé, but he was not specific about what he needs to work on during the offseason because, he said: "There are so many different things."
"I think just continue to work on the fundamentals, continue to understand the defenses in this league, blitzes, protections," Foles said. "But when you study it, you break it down. You don't go at it all at once. It might be one week I'm just going to focus on my feet and keeping everything underneath and me and driving it. And the next week might be moves if I get pressure, getting out of the pocket."
Foles hasn't yet taken time to reflect on the season, during which he was transformed from an intriguing rookie to a preseason sensation to the backup and, finally, to the starting quarterback.
Foles said he plans to take time after the season to analyze what he has accomplished. Coach Andy Reid said it's most important for Foles to continue gaining experience.
Of course, Foles' development will likely be altered based on who is coaching the Eagles and which offensive system is used next season. He gushed about working under Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg this season. They were instrumental in selecting Foles in the third round of the 2012 draft and then grooming him for the NFL.
Foles specifically praised their attention to detail.
Foles is paying plenty of attention to his hand injury, which is expected to need around three weeks to heal. Foles said he believed it occurred on a scramble in the second quarter of the loss to Washington, and he said he did not think about the broken hand for the rest of the game. Foles labeled the injury "disappointing," but he said he's confident he will recover and continue improving.
"The hand will heal up," Foles said, "and I'll be better than ever when it heals."
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