Foles enjoying first Pro Bowl experience

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 25, 2014

HONOLULU - Nick Foles reflected on his breakout season with the Eagles a few yards away from the surf as a winter swell pounded Oahu's west shore.

The backdrop Wednesday afternoon only reinforced how far Foles had come in the last few months.

Ending the season in Hawaii certainly wasn't in the picture for Foles in early October, but he thrived in Chip Kelly's offense after taking over at midseason, ascending from backup to Pro Bowl quarterback with a stunning run of 10 starts.

"You don't think about this when it's all happening. You're just thinking about getting the opportunity to play and helping your teammates," the second-year pro said. "So to be here is a great honor."

Foles is one of four representatives of the Eagles offense who will play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday - although they'll be split by this year's no-conference format.

He went through a relatively leisurely first practice with Team Sanders on Thursday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

"It's a blessing to be here and the fans here today, it's tremendous," Foles said as he inched down the autograph line after practice. "We're here to represent our Philadelphia Eagles teammates, and it's a testament to what everybody did in Philly."

As he soaks up his first Pro Bowl experience and his first trip to Hawaii, Foles said he hasn't had much contact with Kelly about developments back in Philadelphia, where a new quarterbacks coach, Bill Musgrave, is coming in.

"We've been going pretty fast here," Foles said Wednesday after the draft. "When I leave here and have an opportunity to sit back it'll be the time to get to know him and get things moving."

Foles will head into the offseason as an established starter after helping propel the Eagles to the NFC East title and a playoff berth with a 7-1 finish to the regular season.

After taking over for Michael Vick, Foles threw for 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions in 317 attempts and closed the regular season with a league-best 119.2 passer rating.

"Nick is good and he wants to get better," said LeSean McCoy, who will be on the opposite sideline with Team Rice on Sunday. "The best thing about Nick is his attitude. He'll strive for greatness. He had a good year, but he's going to have an even better year next year."

Foles was initially an alternate for the Pro Bowl after leading the league's second-most-productive offense in terms of yardage. He was added in place of Peyton Manning, who's busy preparing for the Super Bowl.

Foles and Kansas City's Alex Smith were the last two players left in the green room at Wednesday's real-life fantasy draft, as the rules for the made-for-TV event mandated that the last two picks of the draft would be quarterbacks. Alumni captain Deion Sanders selected Foles with his final pick, sending Smith to Jerry Rice's roster.

While McCoy and Evan Mathis will line up with Team Rice, Foles will have a familiar target in DeSean Jackson, who was selected three rounds earlier.

"I was just talking to DeSean and Dez [Bryant]," Foles said, referring to the Cowboys receiver. "I've gotten to see Dez play a lot, and DJack and I have good relationship on the field, so it's going to be fun to go out there and play with those guys. Whoever's out there at receiver it'll be fun to just sling it around again."

He'll probably have to wait his turn again before taking the field at Aloha Stadium. Sanders picked quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Cam Newton with his first two picks.

Hanging out with the rest of the all-stars, though, is one of the perks of the trip for Foles.

"Just getting to know them as people is the biggest thing," Foles said.

"Andrew and I have a great relationship since we got to know each other my sophomore year, his freshman year," he said, a reference to their days as Pac-12 rivals at Arizona and Stanford. "He's a tremendous guy, tremendous player, and it's going to be fun being on his team."

As he works some beach time into his island stay, Foles acknowledged that thoughts of the Eagles' playoff loss to New Orleans haven't completely washed away. But he views that experience - and his accomplishments this season - as another step in his development.

"[The playoff loss is] something that'll always be on your mind," Foles said. "It's something you think about, but you don't let it dwell, you don't let it affect you. It's going to make us better, correcting the things we need to correct moving forward.

"You look at the whole [season], you analyze everything and you really just try to get better each day, and right now I'm just going to cherish this time."

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