The league initially issued the fine after Jarrett was penalized for roughing Foles in the Falcons’ season-opening loss to the Eagles. The much disputed “body weight on the quarterback” came into play, but Jarrett insisted from the beginning it was a legal hit.
“I feel like not power-driving him into the ground is fair,” Jarrett told ESPN after the initial fine. “I feel like not intentionally hitting him in the head is fair. Form tackle — like I asked when the refs came to speak to us — I don’t think that’s fair to call roughing. And we’ve seen that happen a lot. That’s something that we hope they take into more consideration as far as not being so quick to pull it. If they want to do that, they might as well go to two-hand touch.”
Jarrett made his appeal via video last month.
“I didn’t feel like it was a penalty; the team didn’t feel like it was a penalty; my representatives didn’t feel like it was penalty,” Jarrett said after making the appeal.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn sided with Jarrett from the outset, saying his player used the proper technique on the play.
Jarrett having his fine rescinded should not be shocking. Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers was flagged for roughing the passer on three separate occasions this season, two involving body weight on the quarterback, yet never received a fine.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, there have been 50 roughing-the-passer penalties called so far this season, the most through five weeks since 2001. The Packers lead the way with five such calls. The Falcons have two, with Jarrett’s and defensive back Brian Poole getting fined $20,054 for hitting Drew Brees in Week 3.
PHILADELPHIA — Nick Foles is many things to many people — a championship quarterback, a Super Bowl MVP, a feel-good underdog, and a bestselling author to boot. But his near-future might be defined by one thing he most certainly is not:
Wentz is a thoroughbred, an athletic marvel already identified as LeBron James‘ favorite NFL player. Before he blew out his knee in December, Wentz appeared poised to carry the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl title they won instead with Foles, widely regarded as a one-trick pony who would remain in place, under center, only until Wentz was ready to go.
And Thursday night’s 18-12 victory over Atlanta at Lincoln Financial Field did little to disabuse anyone of that notion. Foles won ugly — really, really ugly — completing 19 of 34 passes for a lousy 117 yards and no touchdown passes, carrying his disappointing preseason into the regular-season opener.
But Foles did win. He did survive the $150 million local boy, Matt Ryan, and this matchup between the team that should have beaten the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl and the team that did. In fact, even after Wentz gets the all-clear from his doctors, Foles should continue to start for the Eagles until he proves he can no longer outscore the opposing quarterback on a regular basis.
Until, you know, he loses two out of three.
Assuming good health, Wentz is going to be an imposing force in the NFL; of this there is little doubt. Foles? He isn’t much to look at, and he is the ultimate streak shooter. His highs are ridiculously high and his lows are ridiculously low, and at some point his physical limitations will make it obvious that the ball needs to be in Wentz’s hands.
The Eagles should ride Foles all the way to that point. He has earned that much, anyway, after lighting up Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game before doing the same to the Patriots in Minneapolis, sending the sport’s all-time coach (Bill Belichick) and quarterback (Tom Brady) spiraling into an offseason both would prefer to forget.
Philadelphia honored its Super Bowl LII conquest Thursday night with a weather-delayed pregame ceremony at the Linc, and with a hard jab at the Patriots during the third quarter, when Eagles coach Doug Pederson called for “Philly, Philly,” the fourth-and-goal trick play punctuated by Foles’ touchdown catch against New England in the Super Bowl — with a twist. This time around, Pederson didn’t call for the snap to be sent directly to running back Corey Clement, but to Foles himself, who gave the ball to Clement before the running back pitched it to Nelson Agholor. The receiver threw a third-down strike to Foles near the sideline, effectively replicating the Super Bowl play New England ran when Danny Amendola threw to a wide-open Brady.
Philadelphia breaks out its iconic Super Bowl LII trick playcall, as WR Nelson Agholor throws to QB Nick Foles for a 15-yard gain.
“That’s where we got it from,” Pederson said of getting the play from the Patriots.
With one difference, the Eagles coach said. “They were in 11 personnel [three wide receivers], and we were in 12 (two tight ends).”
Actually, make that two differences. Brady dropped the ball, and Foles did not.
“Honestly,” Foles said of Pederson and the play, “we were both thinking the same thing at the same time. I went over there to talk to him to say this might be a good time and he pointed to the call sheet and it was like, ‘That was what I was coming over here for.’ So it worked again.
“I love having plays like that. Our team loves it. I mean, everyone loves a good trick play.”
At least the trick plays that work. Jay Ajayi scored the game’s first touchdown at the end of that drive, then scored again in the final minutes before the Philly defense made the same kind of goal-line stop it made against Atlanta and Ryan to win its playoff game last winter. Truth is, the Eagles survived more than they advanced. They didn’t gain a single offensive yard in the first quarter, the worst start for any NFL offense in a season opener in 13 years. Pederson said the game was decided by his offensive and defensive lines, but in reality, it was probably decided by the Eagles’ resilience.
They’re clearly better than the Falcons at closing out tight games like these, and Foles is a chief reason why. The backup quarterback and part-time receiver is 6-1 under Pederson. Foles became the first winning starter to throw at least 30 times with an average yards per attempt as low as his (3.44) since Josh McCown pulled it off for the 2005 Cardinals, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Doug Pederson describes why they called “Philly Philly” and where they got it from.
But he caught a pass like he caught in the Super Bowl, a pass that Brady dropped, to give the lifeless Eagles a spark.
“I was just looking for a big play,” Pederson said. “I just felt like it was the right time to make that call.”
Pederson will know when it’s the right time to make the call for Wentz, too. That will be a challenge among the many he will have to meet in his bid to make Philly the first repeat champion since the 2003-04 Patriots, who were led by a coach who was so moved by his 2001 team’s failure to repeat that he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times about the burden of trying to go back to back.
“Remember,” Belichick wrote to the next yet-to-be-determined Super Bowl champ, “the Smart Coach/Moron Coach Meter, which is currently way off the charts in the right direction, can be very moody.”
Pederson will know when that meter is pointing toward using his franchise player. Foles will be looking like the guy who considered retirement in 2016, the Eagles will be losers of two of their last three, and Wentz will be acting light and confident on his feet.
But until that time comes, Pederson should give Foles a chance to see if there is a little opportunistic magic left in his right arm. There is no point in rushing the transition. Philly should stick with “Philly Philly,” and with the bestselling author who might still have a chapter or two to write.
PHILADELPHIA — Nick Foles is expected to be the Eagles‘ starter in their season opener Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons, sources who have weighed in on Philadelphia’s quarterback situation told ESPN.
The decision gives Carson Wentz more time to rehab from the torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.
The Eagles have not officially named a starting quarterback for Thursday night’s game. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wouldn’t confirm that Foles would start in Week 1 when asked by reporters on Saturday.
“No, I’m not going to talk about any play-time decision or any starter decisions,” he said. “That’s not my dojo. And I certainly don’t feel like we’re in a position to give any answers to any tests here about any position on our football team. I appreciate the question.”
Coach Doug Pederson told reporters earlier in the week that he would likely know who was starting by Friday, but the public announcement could come as late as “90 minutes before kickoff.”
The prevailing thought from those who have privately weighed in on the Eagles quarterback situation in recent days is that the team is maintaining the long view when it comes to Wentz and will let him heal a bit longer before exposing him to game action.
Wentz, the former No. 2 pick out of North Dakota State, has looked increasingly like his old self in recent weeks. His mobility is returning, and his throwing velocity is up compared to last year. He has been splitting first-team reps with Foles during practice of late.
He is still on the early side of a traditional timetable for return from this type of injury, however. ACL tears typically take nine to 12 months to recover. The Atlanta game comes a few days shy of that nine-month mark. Wentz tore his LCL as well, which delayed the rehab process and made for a more complicated surgery and recovery.
Given all those factors, bringing Wentz back before he hits that nine-month mark is viewed by some as a gamble. The belief is that if owner Jeffrey Lurie sees any unnecessary risk, they’ll opt to let their star QB heal another week or two before exposing him to game action.
“It should be a cautious approach,” Dr. James Bradley, who performed Wentz’s knee surgery, said to NBC 10 in Philadelphia. “What’s a few [missed] games over 12 to 15 years?”
As far as the eye test goes, teammates agree that Wentz is passing with flying colors. On Thursday, right tackle Lane Johnson said that he would be a bit surprised if Wentz weren’t the starter against Atlanta, based on what he has seen.
“It’s pretty remarkable how he’s progressed,” tight end Zach Ertz said recently. “You would never expect, just looking at him, that he would have had such a big surgery just eight-and-a-half months ago. He looks great. He looks like he always does. He’s moving well — surprisingly well, honestly. I don’t know if anyone expected him to be this far along, but he looks really good.”
Wentz has been champing at the bit to get back out on the field, as you might expect, but has reluctantly accepted that this decision is largely a medical one and is out of his hands. Given all that’s on the line, the expectation is the Eagles will play it conservatively.
Nick Foles has learned not to be too hard on himself when his play ebbs, noting that “if you’re too hard on yourself all the time, you’re going to crumble.”
He’s gained plenty of perspective over his roller-coaster of a six-year career, and has his Super Bowl MVP performance right in his rearview mirror if he ever needs another dose of it.
But this preseason has not gone as hoped.
Foles followed up a rocky debut against the New England Patriots with an even rockier outing against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was touched down for a safety after tripping in the end zone in a 5-0 loss. He finishes exhibition play 16-of-26 for 171 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles lost while being sacked six times.
“I’m just making mistakes,” Foles said. “I have to go look at the film. For me, it is just getting back in rhythm, playing ball. We had an opportunity to win [Thursday], that’s on me. I made too many mistakes at critical times that hurts us as a team. I clean that up we win this game.”
Foles has made some uncharacteristic miscues, including in the red zone late in the second quarter when his throw in the direction of tight end Zach Ertz was easily picked by an awaiting Jamie Collins.
Coach Doug Pederson chalked some of that up to Foles potentially putting a little too much pressure on himself to make a play to get a struggling offense going. He also pointed out that they are still keeping it vanilla schematically and aren’t utilizing the run-pass option plays that Foles thrives at. Pederson made it clear that his frustration is not with Foles alone.
“First of all, I’m disappointed in the offense, not one player,” he said. “So don’t put this all on Nick. I’m disappointed in the offense. It’s not what you want, obviously, in the third preseason week.
“When you don’t score and you play the way you played on offense, being an offensive guy, I’m not very jovial in [the locker room]. I’m not patting guys on the back.”
While Foles is rightly drawing the most attention, the offense as a whole has been lackluster all preseason. In three games, the first unit failed to score a single point. That group will not see action again until the regular-season opener on Sept. 6.
Granted, the personnel could look much different by then. Plenty of veterans have been held out because of injury or for rest, including running backs Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement, receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor and left tackle Jason Peters. (Peters’ replacement, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has really struggled.) The bulk of that group is likely to return for the opener and will provide a shot in the arm. If there’s a concern, it’s that it could take some time for this unit to establish a rhythm given how much time key players have missed this summer.
Then there’s Carson Wentz. He looked very good in a pre-game warm-up Thursday night and continues to aim for a Week 1 return. He has still not been cleared for contact by the medical staff, however, and the sand is nearly through the hourglass. This time next week, the team will kick preparations for the Falcons into overdrive and will want to know definitively which QB will be under center.
Foles is widely considered the best backup in the league, and could be called on early to get the Eagles’ title defense off on the right foot. He’ll need to snap out of this funk to do so.
“Obviously, I haven’t been myself. And I expect a lot of myself,” he said. “I’ve got to keep looking at it, keep learning. I’ve played this game a long time, so I know how to address this and keep moving forward, keeping that positive outlook.”
It’s the NFL’s annual dress rehearsal, Week 3 of the preseason. For most of the league, this is our only extended look at first-team units for both offense and defense. Who’s standing out? Who’s struggling? Who’s making the team? Here’s the biggest takeaway for each team.
Nick Foles turns the ball over three times and stumbles in the end zone for a safety in Philadelphia’s rough first half.
Coach Doug Pederson entered Thursday’s preseason game hoping quarterback Nick Foles and the first-team offense would get going. He did not get his wish. Foles’ rocky preseason continued. He is 16-of-26 for 171 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles lost over parts of two games. He has been sacked six times. The defending champs have some things to iron out on offense between now and the opener against the Falcons on Sept. 6. — Tim McManus
The Browns have reason to feel good about their quarterback situation exiting Thursday’s preseason game against the Eagles. Tyrod Taylor was able to return after sustaining a left hand injury in the first quarter and showed no ill effects. Rookie QB Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, made a number of quality NFL throws, including a dart through traffic to C.J. Board for 19 yards. His interception aside, Mayfield had an encouraging night overall. — Tim McManus
Brady relayed that he was never trying to avoid Foles after the heartbreaking Super Bowl defeat.
“That was kind of made up to me because that was never my intention that I would be a bad sport,” he said after the Patriots’ 37-20 win in the rematch. “But, I have a lot of respect for Nick and Carson [Wentz], all those quarterbacks, and that team and the way they played. They’re a great team.
“I know how hard it is to win that last game, and they did it and congrats to them. But, we’re on to 2018. We’ve got our goals ahead of us. We’re going to try to go out and put together a great year.”
Brady had visited the field before the game, which he seldom does before the full-team warm-up. He might have been looking for Foles at that point, but Foles was still back in the Eagles’ locker room. Brady spoke with Carson Wentz for a brief period.
As for the postgame meeting between Foles and Brady, the Super Bowl MVP said, “I think everyone’s made a big deal about it. There’s a lot of craziness. I’ve always respected Tom, I met Tom several times and it was great to see him.
“But like I said, I think everyone made a bigger deal, because at the end of the day, he’s a great dude. He’s a heck of a player, one of the greatest of all time, and you know, to say hi, that’s what quarterbacks do after games. I know everyone made a big deal of the Super Bowl, but the Super Bowl’s chaos after. But he was nice, as he always is, so I wished him the best of luck this season.”
Foles grabbed his throwing arm as he went to the turf. He was evaluated inside the trainers tent before returning the sideline.
“It was just the shoulder. It just sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through,” Foles said. “But it feels good. We’ll check it out tomorrow more thoroughly.”
Coach Doug Pederson indicated Foles would have played one more series had he not been hurt.
Foles said he would get treatment on the shoulder Friday in Philadelphia. He is “optimistic” about how things will play out.
“I’m going to do everything I can to get back on the field and hopefully practice the first day we get back practicing [Sunday],” he said, “and be ready to roll.”
Carson Wentz is on the mend from a torn ACL and LCL. He still needs to be cleared for contact by the medical staff and said “it’s going to be close” when it comes to his availability for Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. The uncertainty surrounding Wentz’s status makes Foles’ health all the more important.
“I’ll go in tomorrow and get treatment on it and sort of go from there,” Foles said. “It feels all right, it feels pretty good. Hopefully there’s no issues.”
Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, finished 3-of-9 for 44 yards and was sacked three times in the 37-20 loss to New England. Third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld replaced him the lineup and threw for 312 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Following the Eagles 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, quarterback Tom Brady and Foles never connected for the customary postgame handshake between quarterbacks. And, per Foles, he has not heard from Brady in the months since.
“No, I haven’t,” Foles said. “We both have a lot going on in our lives so, you know, in time.” Asked if he’d like Brady to engage him on Thursday, Foles made it clear that he does not view this as any kind of unresolved issue.
“It will happen when it happens. We practiced with the Patriots several years ago and I got to stand there and talk to Tom for quite a bit. He’s a great guy. I have all the respect in the world for him,” said Foles.
“I think everyone’s making a really big deal out of this and it’s not a big deal at all. I’ve already talked to him before, he’s a guy I’ve always looked up to. You’ve got to admire someone who is probably the greatest ever and still going strong. I mean, even at his age he seems to get better and better. I’ve already had a conversation with him before when we practiced, so if we have one in the future, we’ll have one and it will be cool.”
Foles and Brady went blow for blow in a back-and-forth thriller, combining for the most passing yards in a single game in NFL postseason history. Brady set a new playoff record with 505 passing yards and threw three touchdowns with no picks compared to 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for Foles, who connected with tight end Zach Ertz late in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead score. Brady was strip-sacked by Brandon Graham on the ensuing drive to help secure the win for Philly.
Brady has never spoken about the handshake that wasn’t, nor has he been asked about it by reporters. It’s unclear whether it was an intentional gesture or simply a matter of not being able to find Foles in the postgame madness.
Regardless, Foles has moved on and says his attention is on what’s in front of him, not in the rearview, as the team heads to Foxboro.
“This is a new season, new people, new players,” he said. “Obviously we wear the same logos as last year but we both have a new identity. This is the time of year where we grow together as teams, so that’s all I’m really focusing on.”
Nick Foles remains on a roll. As if winning MVP honors in the Super Bowl wasn’t enough, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is now a best-selling author.
Tyndale House, which published “Believe It,” Foles’ autobiography, announced via Twitter that the book will debut at No. 5 on the New York Times Hardcover, Nonfiction list on Sunday, July 15. In addition, Tyndale said the book will also be on the best seller lists of Publishers Weekly and USA Today.
Written with Joshua Cooley, a minister in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the book chronicles Foles’ career and the role his faith played in his career, which underwent a late-season resurgence last year after Philadelphia lost starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending knee injury in December.
Foles had returned to the Eagles prior to the 2017 season, following stints with the Rams in 2015 and Kansas City in 2016. But before signing with Kansas City, Foles contemplated retirement, after the Rams granted his request to be released.
“The big thing is you’ve got to know where your heart is, why you’re doing it,” Foles said in January, prior to the NFC Championship Game. “I think that’s what you have to ask yourself whenever you play this game. I know I did several years ago when I had to take a step back and say, ‘Am I doing this for the right reason?’ Because if I can’t do it with my heart, I can’t do it.
“I had to take a week off when I was a free agent just to think about it, and it was the best thing that ever happened because I think people are fearful of feeling that way because they feel like they’re the only ones that feel that way, but everyone, we’re professional athletes and we have moments where we step back and think and assess everything in our life.”
Foles says prayer and discussions with his wife led him to the decision to keep playing.