Foles takes majority of snaps at Eagles' rookie minicamp

Quarterback Nick Foles, a third-round draft pick, gets instruction from quarterbacks coachDoug Pederson at the Eagles' rookie mini-camp.
Quarterback Nick Foles, a third-round draft pick, gets instruction from quarterbacks coachDoug Pederson at the Eagles' rookie mini-camp. (ALEX BRANDON / Associated Press)
Posted: May 14, 2012

No Eagle had more eyes watching him Saturday than Nick Foles.

As a quarterback, he naturally drew attention from the media and from a trio of coaches - Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson - all of whom make a priority of mentoring signal-callers.

Foles took the vast majority of snaps as rookie minicamp opened, and received a steady stream of instructions, corrections, and advice. A third-round pick from Arizona, Foles spent his first two NFL practices working on the basics: dropping back, his footwork, and going through reads on the handful of plays the team ran this early in the year.

"They've been coaching me a lot already today. I'm just taking a lot in and listening to what they're telling me, doing my best to do it on the field and play fast, and play the way they want me to play," Foles said.

Foles came from a college offense that relied heavily on the shotgun formation, which removed many of the nuances he will need in the NFL. He will have to work on the proper footwork as he pulls back from under center and on planting and throwing when he gets to the end of his drop. He will have to make more complicated reads and even work on taking a snap and turning correctly to make a strong hand-off, NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell said.

"It's the little details that make the great players different from just the good players, so I'm just trying to get every little detail down and learn from some of the best coaches ever to coach this game," Foles said. "You can always get better at the footwork, the reads, just the little things you do with the drops, your arm placement, when you step up in the pocket - just the minor details."

Instead of trying to absorb all of his first NFL playbook, Foles tried to break each play into pieces, learning it bit by bit.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 243 pounds, Foles, 23, moved well in the pocket for one day at least - easing concern about his fluidity. (Of course, it helps that he wasn't facing a live pass rush.)

As might be expected, there were ups and downs on his first day. Some wobbly early passes were replaced later with tight spirals and some deep balls, though it bears repeating that he was working against fellow rookies with no real rush in his face. He threw at least two interceptions while taking on a heavy workload.

Foles almost certainly will be the Eagles' third quarterback this year while Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards compete for the backup job, but the nature of his position dictates that the rookie will face far more scrutiny than any other third-string player.

The Eagles hope to develop Foles into a quarterback who can help or become a trade chip. By using an early pick on him, the Eagles passed on trying to draft someone who could help immediately, but a capable quarterback is one of the most valuable assets in the NFL.

Foles has a long way to go to reach that point. Saturday and the rest of this minicamp are the first steps.

"It's a different level. Everybody is a lot faster, and you just get excited when you're out here," Foles said. "To be out here is a dream come true. . . . I've got a lot of work to do to get my game better and put myself in position to be able to play."

After practice, he and fellow rookie quarterback Jacory Harris stayed to make extra throws. Foles will try to keep learning when practices resume Sunday.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @JonathanTamari.

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