Foles goes right back to work

Eagles QB Nick Foles says he wants to work on his speed to increase scrambling yardage. "Maybe last year, it was 5 to 10 yards. Maybe next year, it's 15 to 20."
Eagles QB Nick Foles says he wants to work on his speed to increase scrambling yardage. "Maybe last year, it was 5 to 10 yards. Maybe next year, it's 15 to 20." (    CLEM MURRAY / Staff)
Posted: January 12, 2014

When Nick Foles returns to his native Austin, Texas, his mother often persuades him into working out with her. The workout classes are arduous, and sometimes nontraditional for NFL quarterbacks. Bikram Yoga is one of the activities on the agenda.

"You all think I get a break - it's not a break," Foles said. "It's really tough."

Foles deserves a break. He threw for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions in 13 regular-season games. He added two more touchdowns in the playoffs. Foles started the season as a backup after losing the quarterback competition to Michael Vick. He ended the season as the team's starter not just in 2013, but also going forward.

Yet Foles is not one who yearns for time off. He awoke at 4 a.m. earlier this week wanting another game to prepare to play. He worked out on Monday morning, which was the day reserved for the team to clean out their lockers and hold final meetings.

"Everybody wants to label this after a good season, but I need to get better," Foles said. "I don't look at this season as, I did good. I got a lot of stuff to work on. I got to do a lot better. We didn't win the last game, and a lot of that goes onto the quarterback."

Foles is the type of player who bears the brunt of the loss. He admitted he has a hard time appreciating the season because the Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints last Saturday. Whenever he had the opportunity to gush about his unexpected emergence, he continued emphasizing the need to improve.

"Just because that happened last year," Foles said, "doesn't mean it's going to happen the next year."

Foles said he would work on his throwing mechanics and continue learning how to read defenses. He will constantly search for different areas to enhance his quarterbacking skills.

"Every little thing I can think of," Foles said. "I will break it up into segments."

One positive of the season is that Foles showed he could run more than his reputation suggested. Foles rushed for 221 yards and 15 first downs. He said defenses must at least respect him when he holds onto the ball in the Eagles offense. During the offseason, Foles wants to work on his speed.

"Maybe last year, it was 5 to 10 yards," he said. "Maybe next year, it's 15 to 20."

ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer said this week that there are ways a quarterback could become more athletic with age. He used New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as an example. Core strength and footwork are two areas that Dilfer identified.

"You can work on transferable, functional football moves in the offseason that will help you in season," Dilfer said. "If there's a hole in his game, it's that it can be methodical at times. If he can get a little bit more twitch, a little more suddenness in his game, it will just help him that much more."

Dilfer has long been a fan of Foles. He thought Foles should have been a first-round pick in 2012, and said Foles would have been a Heisman Trophy candidate in the SEC. He praised the way Foles plays in clutter and effectively moves to make his throws. After watching Foles play for Chip Kelly this season, Dilfer believes the future is bright.

"Absolutely, I can see him being the Eagles' quarterback of the future," Dilfer said. "I don't believe this year was a fluke by any stretch of the imagination. . . ..The biggest misconception of [Kelly's] offense is that his offense needs quick feet. His offense needs a quick mind."

When Foles returns in the spring, it will be different than his first two seasons in Philadelphia. There is now an onus on Foles as the starting quarterback and one of the faces of the franchise.

Foles has not yet thought about organizing the team in workouts away from the facility this offseason, but he knows eyes will be on him as long as he's the team's quarterback.

Foles said the mistake that some players make is they try to act like someone they are not because they think that's how a player in that role should act. He insisted he would not fall into that trap. He said the team would respect his leadership if he maintains the same personality.

"I think the big thing when you're a leader, you don't go out of your norm," Foles said. "I'm just going to be me. I'm always going to be me. I'm not going to try to be anything else."

Noteworthy. The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both requested permission to speak to Eagles vice president of player personnel Tom Gamble about their vacant general manager openings. . . . Cornerback Cary Williams was fined $15,750 for the horse-collar tackle on Darren Sproles in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's playoff loss to the Saints.


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