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Growing pains for Foles four days after first win

reuben frank csnphilly

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:18 AM

Frank

Growing pains for Foles four days after first win

December 14, 2012, 11:01 am

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A few days ago, Nick Foles was the savior. Now, the kid has a rag arm.

This is life for a rookie quarterback. There are going to be highs and lows, and Foles has now experienced both in the span of five days.

After a record-setting 381-yard, two-touchdown comeback win in Tampa on Sunday that kindled hope that Foles could be the answer to the Eagles’ quarterback question, Foles took a big step backward Thursday night, as rookies often do.

Foles completed 16 of 33 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Eagles’ 34-13 loss to the Bengals at the Linc, and in the second half, when the Eagles were outscored 24-0 and committed four of their five turnovers, he was 4-for-9 for 37 yards and the one INT, a drastically underthrown deep ball that changed the course of the game.

A few days ago, he was the next Joe Montana. Now he can’t throw the deep ball.

This is life as a rookie QB.

The reality is we didn’t know coming out of Sunday’s game and we don’t know coming out of Thursday night’s game what kind of quarterback Foles will be.

He’s made four NFL starts, and he’ll make two more this year. Sunday was a very good one. And Thursday night was a very bad one.

“At the quarterback position, I take pride in putting points on the board and we didn’t put on more points than the other team, so that’s on the quarterback, that’s on me,” Foles said.

“You have to go back to the film, have to keep grinding, keep getting better, and that’s why one week you win and the next week it’s tough. So you just have to keep running. Just have to be critical on myself. There’s a lot of things to improve on, but I’m going to work hard at it. I’m going to work hard to improve on all them.”

The Eagles led 13-10 and were driving when Foles was picked off for the first time in 169 pass attempts. His deep ball to Maclin down the left sideline came up way short, and Leon Hall picked it off at the 16-yard-line and returned it 44 yards.

By the time Foles threw another incomplete pass, the score was 34-13.

So even if this obviously wasn’t all Foles’ fault, there’s a lot of focus on the one deep ball he threw Thursday night.

Is his arm strong enough to make that throw?

“He’s got a real strong arm,” head coach Andy Reid said. “You can put his arm up against anybody in this league. You just have to make sure that he’s taking time to look people off, and you have to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing that.

“You have to make sure you get your feet around and that you have enough momentum to get your body and legs into the throw.”

Foles has been accountable since he started playing in place of injured Michael Vick in mid-November, and he was again after the game.

“It was just a vertical throw, just trying to take a shot and if I’m being honest, I just made a horrible throw,” he said. “The ball came out bad and it had a little bit of wobble to it. You have to really cut it and I didn’t do that. I just have to spin it and it started fluttering towards the end.

“I underthrew Jeremy, and the guy came back and made a play. So it’s a bad throw, it’s one that I can’t have. But it happened, and I just have to, next time it happens, just really throw it out there.

“Anytime I’ve got one of our receivers on a guy one-on-one going vertical, I feel really good about it. So I just have to get the ball out there and make a better throw.”

In four starts and most of a fifth game, Foles has completed 59 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,356 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

How much do we really know about him with two games left? Not enough to know whether he’s the guy but enough to know he deserves a longer look.

“There’s always stuff you can take away from games,” he said. “Each game, you learn more and more throughout it. And I learned a lot throughout this game.

“It doesn’t feel good right now ... but I’m going to use this game moving forward. And that’s all you can do.”

The Eagles, now 4-10, finish the season at home a week from Sunday against the Redskins and a week later at the Meadowlands against the Giants.

“I just take it a day at a time,” Foles said. “Just get better. There is a lot to learn from this film. I saw the guys’ eyes after the game and everyone is still going to be there working. Everybody is still going to fight. We’re going to stick together as a team. I know the coaches are still sticking together and we’re going to move forward. That’s the only thing I know to do is move forward no matter what. Win, lose, no matter what. I’m going to keep pushing, keep working.

“I’m going to learn. I’m going to grind. I want to win these games. I know all of us want to win these games, but it’s going to take the proper steps. We need to look at the film, see what we need to do better, protect the ball and keep staying together, keep pushing on and get something going.”

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com