Carson Wentz or Nick Foles? Eagles might have a QB controversy now
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—The Philadelphia Eagles have the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Now, they also might have a quarterback controversy.
Nick Foles, who took over for an injured Carson Wentz with three games left in the regular season, was named Most Valuable Player in Philadelphia's 41-33 victory Sunday night, Feb. 4, over New England in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
On Monday, Feb. 5, Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked if Wentz, a frontrunner for NFL MVP honors until he tore his ACL on Dec. 10, remains his starting quarterback or whether there might be an open competition.
"I knew I couldn't get off this stage (without that question)," Pederson said at the final Super Bowl news conference at the Mall of America. "We're just going to enjoy this moment. ... We're going to celebrate with our fans back in Philly. ... Happy for Nick. I'm happy for the team. It's not about one guy. It's about the team."
Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots. He also caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton on a trick play late in the first half.
Foles had his share of struggles over the final three regular-season games. But he was impressive in all three playoff games, torching the Minnesota Vikings in for 352 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-7 NFC Championship Game rout on Jan. 21.
"I'm staying in the moment," Foles said after being handed his MVP award Monday by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "I'm not worried about my future right now. There will be a time and a place to handle all that. ... I'm excited for Carson Wentz coming back healthy. I get to work with him every day. The dude's a stud."
Foles, a six-year veteran who threw for 27 touchdowns in 2013 with the Eagles before being relegated to a backup role in Kansas City in 2016, has one year left on a two-year deal he signed last spring. He is on the books in 2018 to make $7 million.
Foles became just the third quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after starting three games or fewer during the regular season. Doug Williams started just twice for Washington in 1987 but got the nod over a healthy Jay Schroeder in the playoffs. Jeff Hostetler started twice for the New York Giants in 1990, and was their postseason starter because of an injury to Phil Simms.
Williams and Hostetler were named starters of their team the following season. Wentz, entering his third season out of North Dakota State, seemingly would be a lot harder to replace if he is healthy.
"I had a chance to talk to Carson actually on the field, on the podium (Sunday) night after the game, and just told him to take this in, enjoy this moment," Pederson said. "He's a great quarterback. ... I told him, 'You're a big, big part of why this team won this championship and won this game.' I told him hopefully we'll be back in this game with him leading the way."
Pederson, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo all worked overtime to get Foles ready after Wentz was injured. DeFilippo, expected to be considered for the Vikings' offensive coordinator job, played a big role in Foles' development.
"He's a grinder," Foles said. "Barely sleeps. Just fundamentals, giving us the game plan, giving us all our checks, extremely detailed. I'm grateful for him. He's done an amazing job this year."
Foles threw four touchdown passes in his first start, Dec. 17 on the road against the New York Giants. He then struggled in the final two-regular season games, completing just 23 of 49 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
A bye week before Philadelphia's divisional playoff against Atlanta proved was beneficial for Foles, and he threw for 256 yards in a 15-10 victory over Atlanta.
"We knew in the building that we were going to be OK with (Foles)," Pederson said. "We just needed time."
Foles ended up leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win and first title since they beat Green Bay 17-13 in the 1960 NFL Championship Game.
"Everyone wants to point to one individual, and I'm fortunate to be the MVP of this game," Foles said. "But as you've seen this year, we've had so many MVPs throughout the course of this team, different guys stepping up. It's just a great honor to be up here to accept this on behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles."
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service