Foles on possible start: 'I'm staying ready'
Nick Foles, who went 1-5 as a starter last season, is working on his timing with DeSean Jackson and the Eagles' other receivers in anticipation of potentially starting against the Buccaneers on Sunday. (USA Today Images)
The last time Nick Foles opened up a game under center was last December. That figures to change this week.
Michael Vick, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, is expected to miss Sunday's game against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay (see story). As a result, Nick Foles has seen his practice reps increase this week. That extra work, Foles said, is important for a specific reason.
Foles, Chip Kelly, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and many of the receivers have insisted that nothing changes in terms of the offensive scheme should Foles start instead of Vick. And yet Foles and many of the receivers said that working together in practice this week will help polish one of the most important aspects of the quarterback-receiver relationship: Timing. It’s everything -- especially for a quarterback that hasn’t started a game in more than 10 months.
“When you get the timing down with those guys, you get the feel for the O-line, you’re communicating, it definitely helps a lot,” Foles said at the NovaCare Complex. “They can feel how you work. Your tempo. How you move in the pocket. It is important. Those reps, they’re going to count.”
Foles pointed out that he “threw to these guys” last year, as well as “this year during camp” and in the preseason. He said he’s gotten used to how they run their routes, but he added that “building the reps” this week will help everyone get reacquainted.
In seven games last season, Foles completed 161 of 265 passes (60.8 percent) with six touchdowns and five interceptions for a 79.1 quarterback rating. In his six starts, the Eagles won once -- the road game against Tampa Bay.
In the locker room on Thursday, wide receiver Jason Avant reminisced a little about the win over the Bucs. And while he wouldn’t confirm that Foles would start this Sunday, Avant agreed with Foles’ assertion that working on timing and “talking about different things” during practice will make the potential quarterback transition easier for the wideouts.
“Timing is totally different. Everyone has different timing,” said Avant, who’s second on the team with 15 receptions. Avant, who averages 11.9 yards per catch, has 179 receiving yards and a touchdown. “With Mike and Nick, it’s a little bit different. For example, you can expect the ball three steps out of your break instead of two steps. All of those things prepare you for knowing how much time you have on a route.”