From His Most Beautiful Dance to an Uncertain Future, Nick Foles Marches Forward
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There is a chance, albeit a small one, that Nick Foles takes his last snap of 2018 in Cleveland on Thursday night when the veteran quarterback starts for the Eagles in the dress-rehearsal game against the Browns.
Foles' short-term football future is tied to the ongoing health of Carson Wentz. If the face of the Philadelphia franchise is cleared by doctors for Week 1 and everything goes to plan from there, Foles will serve as the most accomplished insurance policy in team history before rejoining the ranks of NFL starter in another city come 2019.
"That's the challenge," Foles said when discussing his job description and the uncertainty of it on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. "That's the challenge for anyone in my situation ... you just don't know. I think that's where, and I told you all during the playoffs, just staying in the moment, really focusing on today and this moment because that's all I can control."
Often that's easier said than done, however.
"It's hard at times," Foles admitted. "There are times when your mind wanders and then you start dealing with it, but that doesn't help you."
Foles called offensive football a "beautiful dance" on Tuesday and explained that the rhythm has been missing from the Eagles offense in the preseason as many projected starters at the skill positions have missed time with injuries.
"It's a rhythm game," Foles said. "There's a rhythm to our drops, there's a rhythm to the pass protection, to routes. Everything is timed up."
In a micro sense Foles was simply clearing up the issues with a talented offense in a meaningless environment but in a macro sense, whether he knew it or not, Foles was also describing just how difficult it can be for a backup QB in the NFL to get any of that rhythm.
And without that, "the beautiful dance" turns into a couple who each have two left feet.
The good news is that Foles has experience coming off the bench to find that rhythm, so much so that a drunken two-step against Oakland on Christmas night ultimately morphed into Cheryl Burke dominating in her "Dancing with the Stars" prime just over a month later in Minneapolis.
"I got to experience being a backup the last several years where I never really knew when I'd play," Foles said. "I have experience with this. So whatever is needed of me, I'll be ready."
Part of the reason Doug Pederson is "Fearless" is because he can sleep soundly at night with the understanding he will face the Falcons in just over two weeks with a potential MVP or the Super Bowl MVP.
"It wasn't always great things," Foles said of his career. "There were a lot of great moments, but there were a lot of moments where I threw interceptions, I didn't have good games, I made mistakes. I was benched. I was released. You sort of used everything you've learned to hone in on that moment and just allow yourself to see the reality of it and handle it the best you can."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen