Origins: How the Eagles came to draft Nick Foles

Origins: How the Eagles came to draft Nick Foles

There are two really great stories going around about how the Philadelphia Eagles came to select Nick Foles, quarterback from the University of Arizona, with the 88th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and both manage to cover the pick from different angles.

The first is Jeff McLane’s in Saturday’s edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which looks more closely at the influence of Andy Reid and his coaching staff’s influence on the decision. That includes former offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who actually wound up showing Foles’ tape to Reid, and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson, who spent the most time with the kid in person.

One day during the 2012 offseason, Marty Mornhinweg turned on the college tape of Nick Foles and liked what he saw. So he walked down the second floor corridor at the NovaCare Complex and into Andy Reid's office.

"I said, 'Have you seen this Foles kid?'" Mornhinweg said recently to The Inquirer. "So he watches him, likes what he's watching and says, 'Where's Doug?'"

Doug Pederson, the Eagles quarterback coach, was on the road. He was working out other quarterbacks and by coincidence was scheduled next to be in Phoenix to visit Brock Osweiler, the 6-foot-7 Arizona State quarterback.

"We're like, shoot, let's get him over to work out Foles instead," Mornhinweg recalled. "So we had our people redirect Doug to Tuscon."

The tape must’ve been impressive to just decide the hell with another prospect just like that. And Osweiler actually went earlier than Foles, landing with the Denver Broncos in the second round.

McLane walks us through what happened from there with insight from all three coaches and Foles, who was worried he might’ve bombed his workouts with the Eagles. You can’t blame him for being a little nervous. I didn’t realize this, but McLane reveals the Birds were the only team to work Foles out individually or bring him in for a pre-draft visit.

It’s a very well-done piece by McLane, and it certainly lends credibility to previous reports that the team was also interested in Russell Wilson, not to mention that Reid and Pederson would’ve liked to take Foles to Kansas City with them.

CSNPhilly.com’s Reuben Frank has the story from the other side: Howie Roseman and the front office. In the interview, the Eagles’ general manager talked a lot about the evaluation process, and in particular what qualities they saw that maybe other teams were glossing over.

And most importantly, where other teams saw a guy who never won more than six games in a season in college, the Eagles saw a guy who always dealt with the adversity in a positive fashion.

“One of the things you look for is how players respond to adversity,” Roseman said. “He did not have a lot of talent around him. Especially on the offensive line. He was constantly hit and knocked on the ground, but he’d just bounce back up and find a way.

“There were some hits that he took where you just wondered, ‘How is he getting back up?’ It goes back to his toughness and his size.

“We also went back and looked to see how he played against good competition, and he did play well against ranked teams, including Oregon and USC, so when you saw kind of those things, that’s important.”

It almost sounds like if the Eagles hadn’t taken Foles in the third round, they might’ve been able to get him later. Roseman pooh-poohed that notion though, pointing out that when you think you can get a good quarterback at a certain point in the draft, you better not to wait.

But again, the story circles back to Reid, who Roseman gave a lot of credit to for evaluation and selection of Foles. I really respect the fact that the GM does not feel the need to make himself look better and gives a guy who’s no longer even with the organization his due.

“Andy Reid deserves a lot of credit,” Roseman said. “He really does. Obviously, when you’re going to pick a quarterback the head coach is going to be a big factor in that, and Andy is a great evaluator of quarterbacks and he spent a lot of time on that quarterback class, and he had a lot of confidence in Nick’s ability.”

So thanks, Andy. The last couple years were kind of brutal, but thanks for leaving us a nice parting gift.

>> How the Eagles landed Foles [Inq]
>> How the Eagles saw in Foles what no others did [CSN]

Sixers reach respectable spot in ESPN's latest NBA power rankings

Sixers reach respectable spot in ESPN's latest NBA power rankings

Everything seemed status-quo in ESPN’s Marc Stein’s most updated NBA power rankings. As expected the Warriors, Spurs, and Cavaliers occupied the top spots. But when you venture down to number 15, you may gasp. 
  
Yes, the Sixers (15-27) are gracing the middle of the power rankings at number 15. Stein is starting to "trust the process" after the team’s recent 8-2 stint. It isn’t just Joel Embid making headlines with his record-breaking numbers and internet love life, but the team is now getting its due.  
  
“Philly is doing plenty of interesting things,” Stein wrote. “Ersan Ilyasova and Robert Covington have combined to drain 51 threes over the past 10 games. The Sixers, as a team, have moved into the league's top 10 in defensive efficiency.”

Covington and Ilyasova are part of a new-look starting five along with Embiid, and guards T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas. McConnell and Stauskas had spent the majority of the season coming off the bench, but Stauskas has started the last 12 and McConnell 10 of the last 11 (McConnell was sidelined for one game with a wrist injury). The Sixers are 7-3 with that starting guard duo.
 
Despite the most recent loss to the Hawks, the Sixers have won four of their last eight victories by one possession. Giving them plenty of momentum to jump up ten spots from the last power ranking. 
 
The Sixers will be at home to play the Clippers this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. They will be without Joel Embid who continues to rest his injured left knee. 
 

Jim Gaffigan warned Pope Francis not to mention Santa Claus in Philly

Jim Gaffigan warned Pope Francis not to mention Santa Claus in Philly

Comedian Jim Gaffigan opened up for Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families back in 2015.

That would seem like an odd opener for the Supreme Pontiff. And Gaffigan admits as much.

Gaffigan was a guest of Stephen Colbert's on Friday on his Late Show and talked about the surreal experience of warming up the crowd in Philly.

"I'm not a good Catholic," Gaffigan says. "If there was a test for Catholics, I would fail. But most Catholics would fail which is probably why there's not a test."

The comedian also got in a few low level digs at our town.

"'Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love,' which if you've been to Philly you know they mean that sarcastically," he says. "I mean, I love Philly but they mean that the same way they say 'Syria: the place for peace.'"

Meh.

"I was nervous at the sound check so I had to come up with some Philadelphia jokes. What do I know about Philadelphia? I know about the Liberty Bell, I know the cheesesteak, and I had just watched this ESPN 30-for-30 about Eagles fans throwing snowballs at Santa. Not on the brand of Brotherly Love. So when I was finally introduced there was still nobody there, I figured I'd just do my set. So I said, 'It's good to be here in Philadelphia,' and I heard a roar from crowd on the highway, so I thought I'd play to the crowd in the highway. 'Philly loves the Pope!' and I got another roar. 'Not that I was worried but you guys weren't that nice to Santa Claus.' Nothing. Silence. And then I heard something that sounded like booing... because it was booing. It wasn't everybody, maybe ten percent, so like 100,000 people booing my Santa joke before they saw their religious leader who was going to talk about mercy."

"Eventually I got a chance to meet the Pope and I was in this room and everybody was saying something to the Pope and I didn't know what to say. So when it finally came my turn, I said, 'Don't bring up the Santa incident.' The Pope didn't say anything but he gave me a look like, 'Dude, I would never bring that up.'"

The ESPN film that Gaffigan mentioned was actually a spoof. It was just kind of okay. You can watch it here.

The Pope part starts around the 5:10 mark in the below video.