Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles has not exactly given his team much reason to feel warm and fuzzy heading into their playoff matchup against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.
So the way to rectify that, the Eagles decided, is by letting him be more aggressive.
Since taking over for injured starter Carson Wentz, Foles has been topsy-turvy as ever in terms of performance, certainly emblematic of his career as a whole.
As a result, coaches and Foles went through quite literally years worth of the sixth-year pro’s game film to see what worked best for him. And in their eyes, aggressiveness is the answer, according to ESPN’s Tim McManus.
“Coach Doug Pederson wants Foles to get back to being aggressive and letting it rip,” wrote McManus. “He does not attribute the recent downturn to a confidence issue. But there is, if nothing else, a hesitation issue. Foles has been deliberate post-snap, like someone who isn’t trusting what he sees.”
Since tossing four touchdowns with no interceptions in his first start since Wentz went down, Foles instead has struggled to complete passes. That was underscored in a Week 17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, when he completed four of his 11 passes for 39 yards passing with an interception, getting benched in the second quarter for third-stringer Nate Sudfeld.
The 28-year-old sounds encouraged, however, after the film session.
“I think having this time to self-scout … you realize, ‘Hey, just go out there and play,’ Maybe I wasn’t doing that as much those games. It’s just as simple as that,” Foles said, via ESPN. “Sometimes the hardest things are just the simple things, like basically get out of your own head and go play the game you know how to play.”
A lot of faith is being put into Foles to keep the top-seeded Eagles’ playoff hopes alive, but at the same time, Pederson already has said he will again bench Foles for Sudfeld if need be.
But if Foles is looking for a chance to right the proverbial ship that has been his tumultuous career, he will get that opportunity Saturday.