Eagles Are Ready to ‘Let it Rip’ with Foles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - In the wake of Carson Wentz's season-ending ACL injury, the Eagles have been on message -- nothing changes for an 11-2 team on the precipice of being the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
"Going forward, there's not much we have to do," coach Doug Pederson said when discussing the shift from an MVP candidate in Wentz to a capable backup in Nick Foles. "It's more or less just what is [Nick] comfortable with? What is Nick familiar with? I've known him for a lot of years and we're going to continue to have the same communication that Carson and I had during the weeks. Carson's going to be a big part of helping Nick get ready too. So not much going forward is going to have to change."
On Tuesday it was Foles and offensive coordinator Frank Reich insisting that the offense will essentially remain the same.
"I feel comfortable in this offense," Foles said. "I love this offense. We’re going to run our offense."
Reich turned out to be the most malleable in what is obviously a very difficult circumstance but also downplayed any drastic changes with Foles under center.
"There will be minor, minor tweaks to the offense," he admitted before pivoting. "This is our system. We’re full-steam ahead."
And perhaps none of this is lip service because the most daunting aspect of replacing Wentz isn't what the second-year superstar did in the structured environment of Pederson's offense.
Much like an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson, what you can't duplicate in losing Wentz is the unscripted offense that he often provided by extending plays with his athleticism.
"Some of the things he does are just extra, his freakish athletic abilities," Reich said of Wentz.
That "extra" is now gone without Wentz and perhaps the margin of error becomes smaller for Philadelphia moving forward but no one is feeling sorry for themselves at the NovaCare Complex.
"When I look at what Nick has done in this league, throw seven touchdowns in a game to throwing 27 TDs versus two interceptions in the course of a year, that's pretty freakish as well," Reich said. "So it's good for us that we have a backup QB that's done that. It's crazy and that's why from coach and I's perspective, we didn't blink. It's a setback obviously to lose your starting quarterback but to have a guy like Nick step in is huge."
Foles, meanwhile, remains focused on the short-term and that means beating the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
"The advice I give myself is, literally, focus on the moment,” the confident veteran said.
And what will that moment look like?
"I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip. That's what I'm going to do," Foles said. "I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team. There's no other place I'd rather be. That's why I came back here. ... I'm ready to step up and help this team win."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen