Foles Understands His Role
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Mychal Kendricks described life in the NFL perfectly back in June.
"One thing you’ve got to know about this league is we’re all renting space," the veteran linebacker said.
In the case of Nick Foles, his latest rental is a short-term one: the leader of the 12-2 Philadelphia Eagles as they try to finish what Carson Wentz began.
Doug Pederson, however, wants Foles to get comfortable with the surroundings even if the lease only lasts through early February.
"He's no longer the backup. He's the starter," the Eagles' coach proclaimed when discussing Foles on Wednesday.
Foles himself, however, didn't want to take that baton, at least in the way most starters in this league do.
"This is Carson's team," Foles insisted at his weekly press briefing. "I get 'you're the guy' but that's how I am. I respect Carson Wentz, I love that guy."
And ultimately Foles realizes the day Wentz is medically cleared from his torn ACL, the latter again steps to the top of the depth chart even if the Eagles do finish this and win Super Bowl LII.
"I work with him every day and I'm going to give him that respect because he is the franchise quarterback," Foles asserted. "My job right now as the starting quarterback is to lead those guys on the field, and I'm going to do that. I've been here. I've done that. I know what it entails. I know the responsibility. But this is Carson Wentz's team, and I respect him too much to make that statement [I'm the starter]."
In some ways that's the best of both worlds for Pederson, a veteran placeholder who understands his place in this even if the Eagles catch lightning in a bottle and leave Minneapolis with the Lombardi Trophy.
Foles doesn't need Dwayne Johnson to grab the microphone, raise an eyebrow and tell him to "know your role."
No. 9 already gets it.
"It doesn't change my mentality," Foles said. "My mentality is when I step on the field, let's roll. I don't need to be named the starting quarterback."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen