Brian Baldinger
Brian Baldinger On the Eagles

On the Sunday night after the Eagles victory in the LA Memorial Coliseum versus the LA Rams to go to 11-2 and clinch the NFC EAST Crown, I boarded a flight from LA back to Philadelphia on the dreaded red-eye.

I was in LA to announce the other LA team’s game, the Chargers. The flight was entirely full of Eagle fans dressed from head to toe in their home team’s gear.

It was very bitter sweet. In fact there wasn’t one E-A-G-L-E-S chant. While it was an exciting game and a thrilling finish, it was bittersweet with the unknown condition to Carson Wentz.

Everyone had their mobile phone looking for an update to the injured Wentz.

The conversation with many was that if Wentz’ injury was feared to be the worst, could Nick Foles deliver a championship?

I didn’t know and no one else does as well. Nick played the final quarter on Sunday and actually helped bring them from behind.

When he entered the game with 13:18 in the fourth quarter the Eagles trailed 35-31. Most teams hope that the backup quarterback can help them win a game. Nick attempted 11 passes on that fading Sunday afternoon.

None were bigger than on a three-and-eight with 1:55 left in the game to Nelson Agholor for nine yards and the right to take a knee for the final few plays. Nick did his job.

But to deliver a championship? That is never easy for any quarterback. And pressure that Nick Foles shouldn’t have to carry.

I do think that Eagle fans should be grateful during this holiday season that the Birds acquired Foles back in March when Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas were busy rebuilding this roster.

We watched him in 2013 go 9-2 as a starter in Chip’s inaugural season. The asterisk next to his nameplate in that historical season will forever be “27-2”, It may have faded a little over four years but it still carries weight. He was also the MVP of the Pro-Bowl that season.

I recall the frigid January evening with a frothy packed Lincoln Financial Field Crowd on Wildcard Weekend against the Saints where Foles quarterbacked the Birds to their last playoff appearance. With 4:58 left in the fourth quarter, Foles found rookie tight end Zach Ertz for a three-yard touchdown pass to take the lead 24-23.

That lead wouldn’t last long as the Saints would march down the field and kick the game winning field goal as time expired. It was truly sudden death.

Foles would return to lead the Eagles in 2014. When he fell awkwardly on his shoulder, and broke his collarbone against the Houston Texans, the Birds were off to a 6-2 start. That injury was followed by a December collapse.

During that off-season, Foles in California visiting with his father, Larry, when Nick received a phone call from Chip Kelly informing him in a 30-second conversation that he had been traded to the Rams. Shock!

Things didn’t go well for Foles with the Rams. He was benched for Case Keenum after 11 games.

The team wasn’t very good and the coaching was questionable. After that season Foles’ love for the game really dwindled.

In fact it was hard for him to even pick up a football for the better part of 8 months. The thought of retirement entered his mind.

Then Andy Reid came calling. Andy drafted Nick in 2012 and always had admiration for Nick’s studious approach to the game and his overall talent. He would serve as Alex Smith’s backup and even start one game on the AFC West Champs. Football was fun again.

Lots have happened to Nick Foles since that magical 2013 season. He has gotten married, become a father, and traveled through the NFL’ QB carousal.

Through it all he has had some high’s and many low’s. Much valuable experience has been gained.

That experience will be needed as the Eagles race to the post season. The team around Nick is solid. I think they will rally around Nick and Carson will help with his daily inspiration. Ultimately this job and the expectation for Foles is not too big. He will be level headed and poised. Whomever the birds draw in the playoffs will be met with max preparation by Foles. Its a real strength of his.

He has a sturdy 6-foot-5 frame and will take all the hits that come with the job and not flinch. In his 4th quarter against the Rams, he was hit on five of his 11 pass attempts and on two of the five hits he was really crushed as if he was a crash test dummy.

He didn’t flinch. He easily will have all the credibility in the locker room because of his toughness.

I have only one criticism of Foles and one piece of advice and they go hand in hand. The criticism is to know when the play is over and not try to do too much, Throwing  the ball away and punting are not bad options when you have a very capable defense.  My advice is that after watching Carson play for 4 months he watched one of the best athletes at QB to ever play the position. He produced highlight plays every game. It would be natural to try and emulate those plays and to mentally believe that you can do the same things. BUT, you can’t. Only a few can. Do not try and be Carson.

 Just be Nick Foles. That is plenty good enough. And to the great fans of Philadelphia, be grateful that Nick Foles has returned. *

3 Jan 18 - Eagles, Football, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Baldinger - No Comments

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