Confident Foles expects to be Eagles' starter next season

20141230_inq_eagl30z-f
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, whose season was cut short by injury, did not get a ringing endorsement on his future from owner Jeffrey Lurie or coach Chip Kelly. RON CORTES / Staff

Nick Foles expects to be the Eagles' quarterback in 2015, which was a more emphatic declaration than anything coach Chip Kelly or owner Jeffrey Lurie said about Foles' future in Philadelphia.

"I expect to be back here," Foles said Monday in his first public comments since he suffered a broken left collarbone in November. "I expect to be the quarterback. I love my teammates, and I expect to be out there leading them and winning some games."

Foles, 25, is held in high regard in the Eagles organization, and Kelly and Lurie have praised him. But they also stopped short of endorsements for Foles entering the offseason, which was the case after last season.

Foles followed his record-breaking 2013 campaign with an inconsistent season that was cut to eight starts because of his injury. He completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 2,163 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Kelly said last week that the Eagles would evaluate Foles in the offseason and make decisions on what to do at quarterback based on his performance this season. Lurie said that he wished Foles did not get injured but that the Eagles will likely know by March what they plan to do.

"Under Chip and the staff, he's 14-4 - and that's pretty [darn] good," Lurie said. "He's a hard worker, great guy. We'll just have to see."

The owner has emphasized the need for a quality quarterback but also has noted how difficult it is to find a franchise player at the position. Foles could become one in Philadelphia, but he might need to win another competition during the summer. Foles said he would not have a problem with that strategy.

"They can draft whoever they want to, they can bring in anybody," Foles said. "I'm going to compete, I'm going to be here. I'm not going to shy away from that."

Foles acknowledged that he turned the ball over too often in 2014. He had only two interceptions on 317 passes last season but had 10 on 311 passes this season. Kelly said that his quarterbacks "played good football" at times but that he had never been part of a team that turned over the ball as much as this year's Eagles.

"The interceptions . . . that's something I can fix," Foles said. "And that's something I will."

Foles said that his collarbone is improving but that he would not have been able to return for the Eagles' 34-26 win over the Giants on Sunday even if the postseason was on the line. The healing process "is right on track" with the expected timetable.

Foles has missed games because of injuries in four of his last five seasons, but he said he is not concerned. He hopes to play all 16 games and wants to become more durable.

"You can count on one hand the guys that don't get hurt at the quarterback position," Kelly said. "That is just the nature of that position. Those guys are going to get hit and that's why I've always said you'd better have two because of the nature of that position. But very rarely do guys make it through unscathed at that position."

During his recovery, Foles remained a part of the team in practices and in meetings. No. 2 quarterback Mark Sanchez called Foles "pure class, absolute professional, one of the best guys I've been around."

Foles is eligible for a contract extension this offseason. There would not seem to be an impetus from either side to work out a deal, and Foles did not want to comment on the matter.

Kelly said Foles must "continue to work" this offseason, which is not a concern for the coach because he does not fault the quarterback's work ethic.

But no evaluation has been made yet at the position, and Foles said he would be evaluated in January, the same way he was after last season. He must hope that the Eagles see enough to validate his confidence about returning as the starter.

"That's for the coaches to determine," Foles said. "I still have a lot to prove."


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm