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]

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

Instant Replay: Knicks 110, Sixers 109

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- A 17-point game came down to the final possessions. 

The Knicks squeaked out a 110-109 victory, holding on to this one after suffering a buzzer-beating loss to the Sixers on Jan. 11. 

The Knicks squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth as the Sixers slowly chipped away at their lead at the line. The Sixers got within one, 106-105, when T.J. McConnell drained a three after a series of Sixers’ free throws. 

Jahlil Okafor scored a go-ahead basket during a hustling Sixers possession with nine seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 109-108 lead. 

In the end, it was Carmelo Anthony, who had been running up the scoreboard all night (37 points), that nailed the game-winning jumper over Robert Covington. Kyle O’Quinn picked off the Sixers' final inbound attempt. 

Inside the box score
Okafor finished with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in first half, including a coast-to-coast fast break.

Dario Saric continues his strong Rookie of the Year push. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. 

Robert Covington struggled from the field overall (7 of 19, 2 of 11 from three) but filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Anthony did what Anthony does. He scored 37 points on 15 of 25 from the field, including the game-winner.

Anderson debuts
Justin Anderson made his Sixers debut in the first quarter. Anderson is a multi-positional player and the lineup reflected that. He first played with Rodriguez, Stauskas, Covington and Holmes. Anderson played 3:47 and went 0 for 1 from three with a rebound and a foul. 

While Anderson said he had learned about the Sixers by watching his first game from the bench, he will get more on-the-court experience on Sunday when he plans to spend time at the training complex on the team’s off day. 

Bigs Convene
Joel Embiid was with the Sixers in New York. After the second quarter ended, he stayed on the court to talk with Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah. Both Knicks big men also were sidelined on Saturday.

Trust It
T.J. McConnell isn’t the only to #trustthefriendship with Saric. Check out this no-look pass to Robert Covington. 

Up next
The Sixers have a day to bounce back from this loss. The 48-9 Warriors come to town on Monday. 

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

Villanova pushes past Creighton despite exhaustion before off week

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, PA. – Jay Wright finally admitted what we could all see.

The Wildcats are gassed.

No. 2 Villanova beat No. 23 Creighton, 79-63, Saturday at the Pavilion to clinch the Big East Conference regular-season title outright (see Instant Replay).

The Wildcats are 27-3 and 14-3 in the conference, but the last couple weeks their lack of depth has shown.

With Omari Spellman ruled ineligible before the season by the NCAA, Phil Booth out since November with lingering knee pain and Darryl Reynolds out the last five games with a rib injury, Wright has essentially been limited to five starters, freshman Dante DiVincenzo off the bench and a few minutes a night from freshman Dylan Painter.

It's taken a significant toll on the six guys in the rotation. 

Big late leads have dwindled or, in the case of Wednesday’s game against Butler, disappeared. Three-pointers have front-rimmed. Defensive assignments have been missed.

Through it all, Wright refused to admit fatigue was an issue.

Now, with the Wildcats securely the top seed in next month’s conference tournament, Wright is being honest about his team.

They’re exhausted.

“I know you guys have asked a lot, 'Do I think we’re getting worn down with seven guys, 6 1/2 guys,' and I said I don’t think so, I think we can do it,” Wright said Saturday after the Senior Day win over Creighton.

“I gotta answer your question, but it just doesn’t do us any good saying we’re worn out. It’s not an excuse. Other teams have things to deal with. I get we weren’t pretty, we haven’t been pretty, today wasn’t pretty. But I think it just speaks to the leadership of these seniors and I think it speaks to the character of these seniors (that they got through it).

“Are they tired? Yeah. Are they worn down some? Yeah. But it doesn’t matter. Other teams got stuff too. It’s not the reason you lose. It can’t be the reason you lose. Maybe you were tired and you didn’t concentrate or we didn’t defend or we didn’t rebound. That’s what happened and that’s the way we look at it.

“I wasn’t trying to BS you, I was just saying that whether you’re tired or not doesn’t matter, you’ve got to get it done, and we got it done. I’m so proud of them and it’s senior leadership. It’s talented players and senior leadership.”

Villanova now has a week off before an essentially meaningless game next Saturday at Georgetown.

It’ll be the Wildcats’ first extended break since the season began.

“They haven’t had an off week because they played Virginia (two weeks ago in a non-conference game), and now they get it and a chance to get their legs back,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

“It’s a long season and when you don’t really have a chance to catch your breath, especially because he’s riding six or seven guys pretty hard right now? I’m sure this week off will do them some good.”

Sophomore transfer Eric Paschall had a career day Saturday, with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. Josh Hart added 16 points and eight boards, Kris Jenkins overcame another off shooting night from three (1 for 7) to record 15 points, four boards and three assists, and Mikal Bridges had 11 points and eight rebounds. DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson each scored nine points. 

The next meaningful game Villanova plays will be March 9 in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament in New York.

Now it’s time to rest. And heal.

“It’s going to be good for us,” Jenkins said. “We get a couple days off. We’ll still watch film, still learn, still get better, but physically we need a couple days to regroup and get ready for Georgetown and then the Big East tournament.

“Georgetown is first, but we really do need this break.”

On Saturday, Villanova built an 11-point lead, gave it all away, fell behind, traded off seven second-half lead changes, then went on a 16-4 run midway through the second half to finally put away the Bluejays.

With the threes not falling, the Wildcats focused on attacking the rim and scoring in the post in the second half.

Jenkins in particular had an unusual game. He stopped shooting treys and made 5 of 8 shots from inside the arc. That’s the second-most two-pointers he’s ever made and the most he’s ever attempted.

“Just playing off my teammates and adjusting to how teams play me,” said Jenkins, shooting just 30 percent from three the last 10 games.

“They really take away threes and try not to let me get any clean catches so always being aggressive and trying to make the right play.”

For a tired team, backing off the threes was huge.

Villanova outscored Creighton 36-18 over the last 14 minutes after Creighton took its biggest lead – two points at 43-41.

Now comes rest.

“It’s big for these guys,” Wright said. “In my mind, we just had to get to today. We just gotta get through it without getting somebody else hurt and without just being dead.

“Because we’re going to get time off. We’re going to take Sunday off, we’re going to have a light day Monday, and then we’re going to take Tuesday off, because these guys really need the rest. So this is perfect timing for us.”