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January 27, 2018

What they're saying: So, what if Nick Foles actually leads Eagles to a Super Bowl win?

Eagles NFL
012718_Foles-thumbs-up_usat Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles celebrates as Eagles owner Jeff Lurie looks on after defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game.

For the first time in quite a while, the majority of Eagles headlines on Friday and Saturday had to do with injured starter Carson Wentz, who hadn't spoken to the media since his injury, and when he might be ready to return to action.

While the 25-year-old quarterback with the NFL's most-popular jersey in 2017 acknowledged that his injury was actually worse than expected, he maintained that his goal is to be ready for the 2018 season opener. Whether or not that is actually the case remains to be seen – Wentz even hedged by saying that rehabbing injuries is a fluid process and noting that we're still very early in the process. 

So what does that mean for Nick Foles, the guy who replaced Wentz and has the Eagles one win from their first-ever Super Bowl title? 

As our own Jimmy Kempski pointed out earlier on Saturday, a Week 1 return for Wentz could spell the end of the Nick Foles Era 2.0 in Philly:

Had Wentz's projected timetable for return been somewhere deeper into the 2018 season, Foles' value to the team going forward would be far greater, as he could be the starter early in the season until Wentz is ready to return. However, if the Eagles are indeed confident that Wentz will return on time for Week 1, Foles is probably more valuable to some other team than he is to the Eagles.

And that means a trade. Because, unlike what Eagles nemesis Mike Lombardi would have you believe, Foles is under contract with the Birds for next season. And if you're expecting a QB controversy in Philly, stop with that right now.

In today's edition of What They're Saying, we'll take a look at what the future may hold for Foles if, you know, he actually pulls this thing off and can beat the Patriots next Sunday in Minneapolis. But first, a look at Foles serendipitous journey back to the team that originally drafted him... 

Team of destiny?

Les Bowen | Philadelphia Daily News

Nick Foles' father, Larry, might have always thought his son would be back in midnight green, but even he didn't this coming.

“I really felt like he would be back with the Eagles. I felt that all along,” Larry Foles said. “I felt like Jeffrey [Lurie] thought the world of Nick, and I thought [Howie] Roseman did, and I know [Doug] Pederson did, ‘cause Pederson was the one who came down here [to Austin, Texas, before the 2012 draft] and tried him out on Westlake [High]’s field, with 40 to 50-mph winds Nick was throwing in, so Pederson knew what Nick was.”

Larry Foles said this feeling grew stronger when his son signed with the Chiefs and former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2016; Foles knew Reid and Pederson, who was the Reid’s Eagles QB coach when Nick was drafted, remained close.

But Larry didn’t necessarily see Nick leading the Birds to the Super Bowl.

“I just felt like there would be an opportunity where he could get back there and do whatever, you know? “ he said.”Thank goodness it was, and he’s a happy boy about it.”  [philly.com]

What a difference a year makes

Cody Benjamin | CBSSports.com

Foles almost retired two years ago before opting to sign as a backup with the Chiefs for the 2016 season. This past offseason, Foles was again unable to find a starting job.

But if he wins a Super Bowl? Let's just say Howie Roseman's phone might melt with all the calls from other general managers. 

One thing to consider is that, entering 2017, Foles did not land a starting opportunity despite several teams needing passers, but as the NFL often proves, things can change in a hurry, especially if a Super Bowl run is involved. Rebuilding clubs like the Arizona Cardinals make for some potential suitors, and Roseman's reputation for executing trades -- he's made more deals than any other team since first assuming personnel power in 2010 -- certainly increases the likelihood of a move.

Foles is hardly the type of personality to demand a trade or a chance to start, even if his release from the then-St. Louis Rams in 2016 came at his request in the wake of Jared Goff's arrival. The 29-year-old, long noted for his quiet demeanor, nearly retired from football not too long ago and talked up 2017 as his chance to really sit back, be a team player and support Wentz. Foles never crowned himself the short- or long-term future at his position, even as he was called upon to fill in for No. 11, always deferring to Wentz as the "guy" for the Eagles organization. It's a good bet, then, that if a Super Bowl win leads to another blockbuster Roseman deal, Foles won't necessarily be the guy who forced Philly's hand.  [cbssports.com]

Potential landing spots

Sean Wagner-McGough | CBSSports.com

While they admit that the most-likely scenario is Foles remaining in Philadelphia, CBS Sports offered up nine other potential trade partners, listing why they might (and might not) work. 

And No. 5 on that list was pretty interesting...

5. Washington Redskins

Why it could happen: The Kirk Cousins saga is set to begin again. After franchise tagging him for two straight offseasons, the Redskins clearly don't want to give him the huge contract he's looking for. But they also can't just let him go after paying him nearly $44 over the past two seasons. Another franchise tag seems unlikely, given it would cost more than $34 million in 2018. But the transition tag could be on the table, as La Canfora predicted, which opens up the possibility of Cousins leaving. If Cousins does depart, will the Redskins feel comfortable with Colt McCoy? Maybe they'll prefer to bring in a relatively cheap option like Foles while continuing to build a solid team around the quarterback. 

Why it won't happen: For one, it seems more likely that Cousins will stay than leave. But even if does leave, the Redskins are actually set up to draft their next franchise quarterback at No. 13. In his latest mock draft, our R.J. White has the Redskins taking Baker Mayfield in the first round. Obviously, for that to happen, Mayfield needs to fall to them, which is no sure thing. But the point remains: If Cousins leaves, the Redskins should draft their next franchise quarterback instead of entering another relationship with a so-so quarterback.  [cbssports.com]

Elite company

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia

As always, a gem from Roob:

Mind-Boggling Nick Foles Stat of the Day: Foles has played in three playoff games and has completed at least 69 percent of his passes with no interceptions in all three. In NFL history, the only quarterbacks with more career performances in the postseason completing 69 percent of their passes with no interceptions are Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and Matt Ryan, with four each. Only Foles, Montana and Ryan have done it three games in a row.  [nbcsports.com]

Nothing Foles can do

Scott Kacsmar | FiveThirtyEight

I'm not sure what this has to do with Foles since he didn't make the schedule, but it's not a great stat for Eagles fans to be reading. However, it may not be as big of a deal as it seems – but you'll have to go read more of Scott's story if you want to know why.

The Patriots and Eagles met in Super Bowl XXXIX, but they haven’t faced off now since 2015. And to beat the Patriots in the playoffs, you just may need to have some prior experience with them in the same season. Belichick may be known for making adjustments, but it would appear that opponents make their own adjustments to him when they face the Pats again. While teams tend to have a hard time figuring New England out on the first try, if they were able to learn something valuable from the first matchup, it has often served them well in the second game.

Since 2001, the year that Tom Brady took over as starting quarterback, the Patriots are 15-0 in the playoffs against a new opponent and 12-9 in a rematch from the regular season. Every playoff exit in the Belichick era was a rematch, including season sweeps at the hands of the 2005 Broncos, 2006 Colts, 2011 Giants, 2012 Ravens and 2015 Broncos. The 2010 Jets also beat the Patriots in the playoffs, despite losing 45-3 in Foxborough just six weeks prior.  [fivethirtyeight.com]


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