Staying in Nick Foles’ Moment
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Nick Foles talks about "staying in the moment" so much you might call it his mantra.
It's also a philosophy that has helped the veteran quarterback turn from the brink of retirement to the Super Bowl MVP while trying to generate a sequel with another late-season run due to a Carson Wentz injury.
And it all starts with a daily checklist to help clear the mind from the messiness life can throw at you.
For Foles, focusing on the task immediately in front of him and then moving on to the next has been the secret to his success and he cemented it with a Bible verse at his Thursday press conference in advance of a must-win game at Washington on Sunday.
"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.” -- Matthew 6:34
The larger picture of the current Eagles' path could certainly be viewed as overwhelming, beating Washington while watching the scoreboard to hope Chicago can handle its business in Minnesota. The reward for all that falling into place would then likely be visiting those Bears where Foles would have to deal with Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Chicago's top-five defense.
If you tackle the first obstacle, which was actually the game in Los Angeles in Week 16, the next appears [Houston]. Taken one at a time what seems like a Herculean task turns into a more manageable one for Foles and his teammates who all seem to believe in the QB.
“A lot of the times the best team on Sunday – obviously preparation, execution, all the things you hear about – but the thing that’s going to win is the brotherhood, being able to fight through adversity," Foles explained. "Because it will happen."
The typical Eagles fan hears that and wants to run through a wall for Foles, who has turned into a local icon after leading the franchise to something Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb could never do.
“There will be mistakes made. I might throw a pick. I might fumble. But what are we going to do?" Foles asked rhetorically. "That’s where we need to react and be confident and be positive, as opposed to, ‘Oh man, we’re in trouble.’ And that’s what you see with this team. Happened last game [against Houston]. There were a lot of missed assignments. There was a couple [of] turnovers. We didn’t play our cleanest ball. But we played well.”
For Foles playing well meant a franchise-record 471 passing yards with four touchdowns, while standing in against Jadeveon Clowney and taking a vicious hit during the game-winning drive en route to earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
All from staying in that moment, something Foles learned the hard way through his earlier stint with Philadelphia as well as stops with the Rams and Kansas City.
“I realized I needed to hone in, and when I did just focus on the simple things in the day and everything should be overwhelming me, it wasn’t,” Foles told 973espn.com. “And it was actually peaceful. Playing in the Super Bowl, it was a big-stage scenario – it’s a really big stage -- but I remember staying in the moment, not worrying about the clock, not worrying about the score. When the play was called, just getting in the huddle. Just reminding myself that, it was peaceful. Which it shouldn’t be. But it was."
Early this season Foles strayed from the mantra, however.
“I’ve made a mistake of not doing that, and then getting back into it," he said. "So it was very recent that I have understood that. It took me a long time to realize that. And I still haven’t figured it out. I still get overwhelmed.”
We should all be overwhelmed.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen