Jeffery and Foles Try to Get on Same Page
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Alshon Jeffery and Nick Foles haven't exactly prospered as partners in the chemistry lab that is the Philadelphia Eagles post-Carson Wentz.
The lengthy wideout, who signed a lucrative four-year extension just over a week before Wentz went down with a torn ACL in Los Angeles back in Week 14, has managed just five receptions for 58 yards in Foles' three starts with four of those coming against the New York Giants in Week 15.
Over the last two weeks of the regular season in essentially five quarters of action, Philadelphia's WR1 has caught exactly one pass for eight yards.
Jeffery, though, sees a more confident Foles as the divisional round of the playoffs and the Atlanta Falcons loom.
"He's a lot more confident," Jeffery said at his locker following Wednesday's practice at the NovaCare Complex. "He's a lot more relaxed and confident than any other week. He's just going out and making plays. He's really relaxed in the huddle."
Foles has extensive starting experience in his career but was thrust into action after Wentz went down against the Rams and things never slowed for him until the team's bye week, an opportunity Foles used to decompress a bit from both a physical and mental standpoint.
"I think he's more into the game plan and has a feel for what's going on, and seeing guys running the ball, and just throwing the ball," Jeffery explained.
Most assume Jeffery is frustrated with Foles' inability to get him the football but the veteran has never been the cliched diva wideout. In fact, Jeffery is the polar opposite of that, a quiet man who has proven to be a solid teammate in both good times and bad.
"Me and Nick had a great game against the Giants," Jeffery said. "Oakland didn't go so well, but that's part of the game. Some games you're going to have some good ones, sometimes you're not, as long as we get the 'W', that's all that matters."
For the season, Jeffery finished with 57 catches for 789 yards and nine touchdowns, the latter number being the second-best mark of his career and essentially got him the big contract but all but one of those TD throws came from Wentz.
Huge numbers probably aren't in the offing against Atlanta's somewhat conservative Cover-3 philosophy but there should be some opportunities because Dan Quinn trusts his cornerbacks -- Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford -- enough to play some single-high safety on occasion.
At those times it's in Foles' job description to get Jeffery, the rangy receiver with the large catching radius which often makes him "open" even when he doesn't have a lot of separation, the football.
"I do trust him," Foles said when discussing Jeffery on Tuesday. "... It's really just me giving him opportunities to make plays. He will make them. He's a super-talented receiver. I have to give him the opportunity to do so."
The goal from here is to turn that one opportunity into another in the NFC Championship Game.
"We can't wait until Saturday," Jeffery said. "I came here to win a Super Bowl. Whatever it takes. I'm game. It may be one play, it may be more, whatever it takes."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen