December 24, 2012, 9:00 am
Nick Foles has the intangibles.
Foles in six NFL starts has twice surpassed 300 yards passing. He's had two games in the 200s and two others in the 100s.
He has thrown five touchdowns. But he's also thrown four interceptions and lost three fumbles, including one of each in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Redskins (see Instant Replay).
“I have to eliminate mistakes," Foles said.
He's won one game with the end zone staring him in the face on the game's final play, and now he's lost one.
So far there's not enough evidence to conclude whether he's the Eagles' future franchise quarterback (see story). But based on what we can't see -- and what his teammates can -- Foles has demonstrated one all important thing: That he has those priceless prerequisites to be the successor to Michael Vick. He has toughness, leadership, competitiveness, moxy, poise, optimism ... pick your favorite trait.
After Sunday's game, his teammates did.
"I love him, man. He's a competitor," Riley Cooper said. "He's always super poised in the huddle. He's a natural leader the way he runs our offense, getting people up to the line of scrimmage and understanding what he has to do. I'm really proud of him, and he's playing at a really high level."
Foles completed 32 of 48 passes Sunday for 345 yards with a pretty touchdown pass that floated over two Redskins and into the arms of a streaking Jeremy Maclin for a 27-yard touchdown.
And even after watching a 7-0 lead turn into a 27-13 deficit, Foles engineered one scoring drive and nearly another.
"He stays positive," Maclin said. "He is going to remain poised and always give off the reputation that he is never going to give up."
Even if his throwing hand gets dinged.
"I banged it up a little bit in the first half," Foles said. "It's fine."
Foles in the second half went 18-for-26 passing for 188 yards.
"I think he showed his toughness by battling through [his hand injury]," Maclin said. "That was his throwing hand, so he showed toughness to do that. I think he played all right."
Foles completed passes to six different receivers -- and had it been seven (Evan Moore at the goal line), the Eagles likely walk away with a win (see story). Brent Celek returned from a concussion to catch all three passes thrown his way for 39 yards.
The first catch was a 15-yarder to convert the first of two 4th-and-1s on the Eagles' first drive. Foles spun for three yards to convert the second on the play before Maclin's TD strike.
"You could tell he was hurting, but he was out there fighting, and I'm proud of him for that because he's not going to complain about it," Celek said. "He's not going to say anything about it. But that's what you've got to do, playing football sometimes, especially in the NFL."
Foles' favorite target was Maclin, who was thrown at 14 times and made eight catches for 116 yards.
"I think we will continue to grow," Maclin said. "It's a feeling thing. It's something we have to continue to be a part of and grow together."
LeSean McCoy has seen a lot of growth already. McCoy, who like Celek was also returning from a concussion, had nine receptions for 77 yards.
On his final reception, McCoy took a short pass, snaked through the defense, and gained 12 yards before getting out of bounds to give the Eagles 1st-and-goal at the 5 with 11 seconds left.
"He's so poised man. His attitude in the huddle and his leadership. You really can't tell that he's a rookie," McCoy said. "It's his attitude. Everything is always positive, and he's motivational all the time. I can see in the future he can be an outstanding quarterback. I can definitely see that in the future."
E-mail Andy Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org