The last time the Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles was on a football field, it went much, much better than Thursday night.
Foles tossed for 373 yards and won a Super Bowl MVP against the New England Patriots six months ago. The Patriots seemed to take that personally, even in a preseason game. On Thursday night, Foles struggled badly in his quarter-plus of work as the Patriots had him under regular pressure.
Foles’ night ended with a strained shoulder, which is concerning because Carson Wentz isn’t yet back to full practices.
While Foles’ struggles in a little more than a quarter of a preseason game might not matter in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t ideal considering Foles might start the regular season for the Eagles. Assuming he’s healthy.
Nick Foles looked uncomfortable vs. Patriots
Foles was pretty much the opposite of the quarterback he was in Super Bowl LII.
He misfired on passes. His timing seemed off, which led to a few sacks. His night ended when he was sacked from behind by new Patriots end Adrian Clayborn, and Foles’ fumble was returned 54 yards by linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley for a touchdown. After that play, Nate Sudfeld came in the game.
The Eagles announced Foles had a strained shoulder. It’s possible Foles’ injury isn’t too bad and the Eagles pulled him as a precaution.
Foles started the game 1-of-7 for 8 yards before completing a checkdown on the final play of the first quarter. His best throw of the night came early in the second quarter, when he hit Zach Ertz over the middle for 20 yards. But his final line (3-of-6 for 44 yards) wasn’t pretty.
That performance was worrisome because Wentz might not make it back from ACL surgery for Week 1, and Foles has been inconsistent his whole career.
Foles has been an inconsistent quarterback
No matter what happens to Foles the rest of his career, his football legacy is just fine. He’ll be a hero in Philadelphia forever.
He has shown he can get white hot for stretches, but it’s worth remembering that the Eagles were underdogs through the playoffs in large part because Foles struggled in Philly’s final two regular-season games and didn’t do much in the divisional round playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons either. He came alive in the NFC championship game, carried that on through the Super Bowl and for that he’ll be remembered as long as we talk about football.
But when we’re discussing the Eagles for this season, it’s worth wondering which Foles we’ll get if he has to start regular-season games while Wentz makes his way back. Again, that’s assuming Foles’ shoulder injury doesn’t keep him out of Week 1 too.
Foles’ shoulder injury isn’t great news for the Eagles
There were reasons for Foles’ struggles against the Patriots. It was his first action of the year, as he missed the preseason opener with spasms in his neck and shoulder area. The offensive line didn’t block well; left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai got torched on the edge by Clayborn on the hit that led to the fumble recovery touchdown. Foles wasn’t working with all his normal receivers. And it’s the preseason, so it doesn’t matter anyway.
Yet, it’s a reminder that while Foles had two games for the ages at the end of last postseason, he’s not a sure thing week to week. Add in Foles’ shoulder issue, and it might not be so easy for the Eagles to keep preaching patience with Wentz’s return.
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