It’s all systems go for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
He will start Sunday’s wild-card playoff game in Chicago against the NFC North champion Bears, despite a scare in the Eagles’ 24-0 domination of the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Foles could not finish the game after being sacked by Ryan Kerrigan with most of the fourth quarter still to play. He held his postgame news conference, though, which was a good sign because the team probably would not have made him available had the injury been sever enough to keep him from playing in the postseason. As it was, Foles said he was sore.
Head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Monday that Foles’ x-rays were clean. The reward is that now he gets to face a Khalil Mack-fueled defense.
“Wednesday, again, will be a walk-through, so there is nothing real taxing there,” said Pederson about Foles’ week of preparation. “It's more mental reps. Thursday – as the week goes, we'll, I don't want to say cut him loose, but yeah, we'll take care of him and make sure he's ready for Sunday.”
Interestingly, Pederson had no update on Carson Wentz.
Pederson isn’t committing to Foles for anything beyond Sunday.
“There is no guarantee we're going to win this game,” said Pederson.
And if the Eagles win and get ready to visit No. 1 seed New Orleans the following weekend?
“I'll evaluate (the QB situation) next Monday,” the coach said.
Pederson added that “as of right now” Nate Sudfeld is Foles’ backup.
Still going strong
The seven-member head-coaching class of 2016 is down to one member, and it is Doug Pederson. The Eagles’ hiring of Pederson in January of 2016 to replace Chip Kelly was widely panned as a disaster.
Mike Lombardi, who likes to tout himself as having won three Super Bowls as a front office executive, said of the hiring at the time: “Everybody knows Pederson isn't a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I've seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL. Pederson was barely a coordinator before he became a head coach.”
That crunching sound you hear is Lombardi eating his words – again.
Lombardi wasn’t alone in his belief that Pederson wasn’t ready to be a head coach.
All he has done, though, is lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII title in February. As amazing as that accomplishment was, Pederson’s coaching job after the team slipped to 6-7 after an overtime loss to Dallas was a whole other kind of amazing.
The Eagles stayed alive by beating the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams in L.A. then toppling the Houston Texans in back-to-back weeks after that controversial loss in Dallas. The Rams and Texans were a combined 21-6 when the Eagles played them, and they won them both.
When informed that he was the only coach hired in 2016 to still have a job, Pederson wiped his brow and jokingly said, “Whew, all I can remember is I think I was seventh of seven that year. That’s all I remember. No.”
He then added: “Listen, you have to have confidence in your ability, and obviously I'm not going to speak for the other guys, but I had a lot of confidence in myself. I feel like you have to surround yourself with really, really good assistant coaches, good coordinators, and guys that love ball and love to teach. That's obviously something I learned from (former NFL head coach and executive) Mike Holmgren and Andy (Reid).
“Again, I can't speak for the others, but that's just what I know. Then having the ability and confidence in myself to lead and teach and get guys to play. I feel like if that's good enough, it's good enough.”
NOTES: Undrafted rookie running back Josh Adams led the team in rushing this season with 511 yards on 120 carries. The rushing yards are the 8th most for a rookie in team history…
Second-year cornerback Rasul Douglas has led the Eagles in tackles for three straight games. He also finished as the team’s interception leader this season with three…
For the second straight year, Malcolm Jenkins led the Eagles in tackles. This year he had 136. Last year he had 119. In 2016, he was second in tackles with 114, three behind leader Rodney McLeod…
Alshon Jeffery ended the season with the most receiving yards in a single season (843) since 2014 with the Chicago Bears when he had 1,133…
Nelson Agholor finished the year with a career-high 64 catches…
Michael Bennett recorded nine sacks in his first year with the Eagles, which is the most he has had in a year since 2015 when he had 10 with the Seahawks…
The Eagles took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter following a 19-play, 87-yard drive that lasted 11:49 and resulted in a 2-yard TD pass from Foles to Alshon Jeffery. The scoring drive marked the NFL’s first 19-play TD drive since the New York Giants on Nov. 20, 2014 at Jacksonville. It was the Eagles’ longest drive by plays since Sept. 7, 1997 vs. Green Bay (also 19 plays).