When a backup quarterback becomes MVP of the Super Bowl, that makes him anything but a typical understudy at the position.
For Nick Foles, however, it goes even deeper.
‘He gets himself ready more mentally than physically’
Doug Pederson, the Philadelphia Eagles’ coach, began noticing special qualities within Foles back in 2012, when Foles was a reserve for the Eagles and Pederson was the quarterbacks coach for then-Philadelphia coach Andy Reid.
“He’s a different type of backup quarterback from the standpoint that he has a starter mentality, so he’s played,” Pederson told Bruce Murray and Brett Favre on the SiriusXM Blitz as he prepares his team to face the New Orleans Saints in Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game. “He’s played several games in this league, so he knows how to prepare. He prepares like a starter, and that’s what your backup has to do. He has to get himself ready more mentally than physically because if something happens to your starter, it’s more of a mental game than it is a physical game.
‘As a play-caller, myself, it gives you confidence going in that he can execute your offense’
“You have to know where to go with the football. You have to know, if a team blitzes you in a certain situation, where to go and just sort of keep the ship kind of steady. And that’s what Nick has done. As a play-caller, myself, it gives you confidence going in that he can execute your offense. You don’t have to change a bunch of stuff or water things down. You can kind of go in with a full complement of plays and just know that he can handle them and your guys can handle them and get into the game and see what happens.”
“His demeanor is just that, it’s a calm demeanor, and it really sort of bleeds over to the rest of the guys.”
Pederson also has a great appreciation for Foles’ even-keeled approach to his job. That isn’t only because of how it allows him to perform, but also because of how it impacts his teammates.
‘Nick doesn’t panic, so the rest of the guys don’t panic’
“It kind of feeds to the rest of the team, because he’s very calm,” the coach said. “His demeanor is just that, it’s a calm demeanor, and it really sort of bleeds over to the rest of the guys. Nick doesn’t panic, so the rest of the guys don’t panic. And it’s sort of my mentality, too. If they don’t see me panic on the sideline or get kind of upended a little bit, then they don’t get upended. They stay calm, the quarterback stays calm, and I think you’ve got to have that type of relationship whether it’s the starter or your backup.
“But that’s who Nick is. He always likes to use the analogy of a point guard in basketball, where he just wants to dish. He wants to give his playmakers the ball. And that’s kind of what a good point guard does and that’s what your backup quarterback needs to be, is that guy that can spread the ball around and execute the offense and take a shot when it’s there. And that’s what he’s done and the guys have really responded well to him, obviously, these last two years.”
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