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The Daily Wildcat

 

Philadelphia a perfect fit for Foles

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat Nick Foles 8 Kyle Quinn 76

Nick Foles was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday. Immediately after Foles was announced as the 88th overall pick, I had numerous friends from New Jersey text me the same exact thing — “Tell me about Nick Foles. Good pick?”

I’m here to tell you exactly what I told them — there is no better fit in the entire National Football League for Foles than in Philadelphia, and he will thrive under Andy Reid.

Let me give you some background.

I go to the UA, but I am from Cherry Hill, N.J., in the Delaware Valley, located about five miles southeast of Philadelphia. I’ve been a diehard Eagles fan my entire life. I’ve witnessed four NFC championship game losses and one in the Super Bowl. I live about 15 minutes from where Terrell Owens sat on his front lawn and infamously did bicep curls and sit-ups for reporters, and 30 minutes from Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play.

Eagles fans booed when Donovan McNabb was the team’s No. 2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, and, myself included, proceeded to boo at every mistake he made in his 10-year career there.

As scary as that might sound for a young quarterback, there still is no better spot for Arizona’s all-time leading passer than in the “city of brotherly love.”

Head coach Reid has developed a reputation around the league as a QB guru. As disappointing as McNabb was in high-pressure situations and in his inability to win big games, in his prime McNabb was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

In his coaching career, Reid made Koy Detmer and A.J. Feeley look like quality NFL starting quarterbacks, rejuvenated an aging Jeff Garcia, coached McNabb to six Pro Bowls, developed Kevin Kolb enough to garner a second pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals, and signed a post-jail Michael Vick when nobody wanted him, transforming Vick into a better passer than he ever was in his six years in Atlanta.

Of all active coaches, Reid has the fifth-most wins, eighth-best winning percentage and has made the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons coaching the Eagles.

His quarterbacks coach is Doug Pederson, a former NFL quarterback who played behind Brett Favre for four years.

On offense, the Eagles bring out two explosive receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and a dynamic Pro Bowl running back in LeSean McCoy.

All the pieces are in place for Foles to succeed, as long as he gets a few years to sit back and learn, a la Kolb.

From a pure football standpoint, all the pieces are in place for Foles to thrive. As for the sometimes-rowdy Philadelphia fan base, it can be a lot to handle for a young quarterback, but Foles will be just fine.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound gunslinger has already experienced his fair share of adversity. From a decommittment to ASU in high school to transferring from Michigan State to the midseason firing of Mike Stoops and getting repeatedly abused behind a young offensive line for the last two years, Foles fought through it all and came out on top as the best quarterback in the UA’s history.

“I think you grow as a leader. It’s tough,” Foles said in his Saturday press conference with the Philadelphia media. “When you lose your head coach, part of that is because of you as a player. It’s not because of the coach. We didn’t do our job. I didn’t do my job as a quarterback. I didn’t win the games. That’s on me and I didn’t get that done and I take that personally.”

While the prospect of playing in front of a drunk, passionate and raucous crowd of nearly 70,000 fans is daunting, to say the least, Foles has the personality and wherewithal to be OK in that environment.

As he admitted on Saturday, Foles will never be a Vick-esque athlete, and he won’t need to be.

At Arizona, Foles was known to stay and watch film as late as 3 a.m. after games, and that hardworking and win-at-all-costs attitude is the exact demeanor needed to succeed in Philadelphia.

“I think just facing adversity and continuing to grind no matter what — always wanting to get better,” Foles said. “That’s how I approach everything and that’s how I saw my team every day.”

Will Foles make mistakes? Sure he will. Even Tom Brady and Peyton Manning make mistakes. But his will to get back up and fight through them and his yearning to learn from his mistakes is why Foles will succeed in the NFL and be welcomed with open arms to Philadelphia.

— Zack Rosenblatt is the assistant sports editor. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatSports .

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