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Eagles QB Nick Foles is trying to 'live in the moment'

Zach Berman, Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Football

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Forget about all that Nick Foles experienced that culminated in a Super Bowl start. It doesn't matter what happened when he entered the lineup as a rookie in 2012, about the 2013 Pro Bowl season, about the injury-shortened 2014 campaign, about the unexpected trade to St. Louis in 2015, about contemplating retirement before signing with Kansas City in 2016, about returning to Philadelphia last summer, or even about replacing Carson Wentz as the Eagles' starter last month.

Don't even think about what might come after Sunday. A possible trade? Back to being the Eagles' No. 2?

If you've listened to Foles enough during the two weeks leading to the Super Bowl, you've heard him echo variations of the same phrase: "Stay in the moment." He said it last week in Philadelphia when the enormity of the Super Bowl loomed. He said it in Minnesota when the buildup included pitting Foles against five-time champion Tom Brady and the dynastic New England Patriots. Foles is 60 minutes away from an ending to the season that could turn into a movie and become NFL lore. And the way Foles combats that is not through introspection, but rather by repeating, and adhering to, a phrase that he believes provides the required equilibrium.

"Just live in the moment," Foles said. "Especially since what I've gone through the last few years, what I've seen. My perspective's changed. ... I'm really just enjoying the moment, grateful for the moment."

On Sunday, Foles will start the day as he always does. He'll read the Bible and keep a journal. He said his body will know it's game day -- whether you want to call it butterflies, Foles said the "body definitely knows something's coming." He'll take the first bus to the stadium, gather his bearings, and go through his pre-game stretching and throwing routine. Before the game, he'll take a deep breath. Once the game begins, he believes any nerves will vanish.

"It slows down. You're just in tune," Foles said. "You don't really see the environment around you. It's probably hard to understand unless you've been there."

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Foles is capable of the outstanding and the ugly. Just look at Christmas against the Raiders compared to the NFC championship game against the Vikings. But the Eagles have also taken strides to maximize how they use Foles, which can account for his recent success, too.

It's true that the Eagles didn't reinvent the offense, but they at least custom-fit it. The Eagles allowed Foles to make quicker reads and implemented a quick passing game to try to establish a rhythm.

"Part of the deal is getting the concepts up early that he really feels comfortable with," quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said. "He's very vocal about that to myself, to Frank (Reich), to Coach (Doug) Pederson. He's not afraid to tell us what he likes. He's been great communicating that ... and I think that's why you're seeing a better product on the field the last couple of weeks."

Much has been about how the Eagles use run-pass options -- Pederson was introduced to RPOs when he was the offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's incorporated them in the Eagles offense. During those plays, there is an option to either rush the ball of or pass the ball depending upon the defensive look. Foles downplayed the RPOs' prominence -- "it's just a piece of our offense," he said -- but it shows how the Eagles are trying to highlight Foles and create advantageous matchups.

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