What Nick Foles Learned From Monday Night Nightmare

Nick Foles has been taking first-team reps in the Eagles' walkthroughs this week so it appears he's going to at least start in Sunday's meaningless regular-season finale. 

That's good. 

Because he and the rest of the offense have plenty to work on. 

The offense had a lackluster showing against the Raiders on Christmas night and the Eagles needed five takeaways on defense to pull out a close win. When asked what he learned from rewatching the tape, Foles mentioned staying "inside the chains" and keeping themselves out of 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations. 

The Eagles went into last weekend as the NFL's top third-down offense but went just 1 for 14 on third downs against the Raiders. 

What can Foles do to improve in those situations?

"If stuff's not open downfield, get it to the back right away," Foles said. "If we get three yards, we get three yards. And then it's 2nd-and-7. That's better than 2nd-and-10. It's little things like that, where it's all correctable that I see on film, taking the completions. Obviously, be aggressive downfield, but if it's not there, get to the checkdown right away." 

The thought of Foles opting to check down more than he already does might make some Eagles fans nauseous, but Foles doesn't have Carson Wentz's escapability and his penchant for turning nothing into something. 

And Foles and the Eagles have a point about the bad situations they put themselves in on Monday. They had a total of 16 third-down situations (two were converted by penalty) and faced an average of 7.4 yards to go. Four of 16 were from 10 yards or more! That's not a recipe for success. 

"So whether it's me being smart with the football, keeping the ball in play, giving our guys the opportunity to make plays," Foles said, "that will help us a lot." 

Another thing Foles learned from Monday's game is that he needs to find a way to get Alshon Jeffery more involved. Monday was, statistically speaking, the worst game of Jeffery's six-year career. He had zero catches and was targeted just twice. It was his second-career two-target game and second-career zero-catch game. The others came in his rookie season in 2012. 

Chemistry between quarterback and receiver is especially important for a player like Jeffery, who is known for timing routes and 50-50 balls. Jeffery said he isn't worried about their chemistry (see story), but it takes a certain level of trust for a quarterback to throw the ball to a receiver who is covered. It's hard to build that trust in two games and a few practices.

And it's one thing for Foles to realize during the week that he should give Jeffery a chance at those 50-50 balls. It's another during a game, when bodies are flying and he's going through his progressions, to see Jeffery with a man on him and still pull the trigger. 

"It's hard to cover Alshon and even when he's covered, he's not covered," Foles said. "That's definitely something I took from the last game and I'll move forward with."

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