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Ex-Arizona Wildcat QB Nick Foles will miss Eagles’ finale because of injury

Nick Foles

Nick Foles gets ready to make a throw Sunday against Washington. Photo by Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The season of former Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles has come to an end because of a broken bone in his throwing hand.

Foles, a third-round rookie for the Philadelphia Eagles, suffered the injury late in the first half of Sunday’s home game against Washington. X-rays were negative and he continued to play, despite being in some pain.

A later MRI revealed a hairline fracture.

“His hand was sore,” coach Andy Reid said in a press conference Monday morning.

“But at the same time he played well that second half, made some nice throws. I know at one point he was having a tough time squeezing the ball when we went into halftime. Then when he warmed up (he) started feeling like he had more control. But I’m sure that affected it.

“He’s a tough kid and never said a word about it. I’m sure he wouldn’t say anything to you guys, just like he wouldn’t say it to me. He pushed himself through and did a good job with that part.”

Foles completed 32 of 48 passes for 345 yards, with one touchdown and one interception Sunday. He nearly led the Eagles back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit, but the game ended at the Washington 5-yard-line on his intentional grounding penalty in the final seconds. After a 10-second run-off for the penalty, the game was over.

The Redskins won 27-20.

Foles played in seven games, starting six. He took over the first-string role when Michael Vick suffered a concussion and then was awarded the job through the season.

His performance was a mixed bag; he had two 300-yard games, was intercepted only five times in 265 attempts and had a last-play game-winning throw vs. Tampa Bay. But he did fumble eight times, was sacked 20 times, and the Eagles didn’t require him to make a lot of throws down field.

Foles completed 60.8 percent of his passes (161 of 265) for 1,699 yards and six touchdowns. He had an efficiency rating of 79.1 (almost identical to that of Vick and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, and better than Colts’ rookie Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in the draft).

I talked last week to former Arizona Wildcats quarterback coach Frank Scelfo, who keeps in close contact with Foles.

“The big thing with Nick is how much he’s grown and his better decision-making, especially after not getting the reps as the No. 1 guy through training camp and the first nine games,” Scelfo said.

“But I yell at him on TV, and I send him texts during the course of the game: ‘You should have never made that throw.’ I send him good and bad things. Then he calls me and we go over the game again.

“We used to practice sliding all the time. He had a slide the other day in the game that was one of the worst slides I had ever seen in my life. He texted me later: ‘Now, I know why we practiced that all the time.’”

Vick is expected to start the Eagles’ season-finale this week. After that, who knows? Reid appears to be on his way out as head coach, which means the quarterback position will be in flux, too.

Foles didn’t show he was definitely future of the franchise, but he had enough good moments to indicate he has potential to be a quality NFL starter.

Here are the rest of Reid’s comments about Foles today:

On whether Foles remaining in the game earns him respect in the locker room: “It does. It is (that type of performance).The guys know he’s a tough kid and they felt that way coming out. They’ve never questioned his toughness. But by no means do you want to put a player in a bad position either. So, that’s why we tried to go through the procedure of x-raying it. Obviously, you don’t have enough time to MRI it nor have the facility right there to do it. But the x-rays came up negative, but you also knew he was in quite a little bit of pain. There’s a point where these guys, you don’t want to put them at risk for sure and you don’t want to put them out there with broken bones. That’s not what you do. But it is a physical game and guys end up having bumps and bruises that they have to play through that are pretty sore. You’ve got to alter your game to make it work and do what you have to do to make it work. But there’s a fine line there is I guess what I’m saying.”

On where Foles is following his rookie year compared to where former Eagles QB Kevin Kolb was following his rookie season: “He’s had an opportunity here to play. I’ve seen improvement as he’s gone on. He’s got great control of the game. He’s got a good arm and feet and all that stuff. He just needs to play is what he needs to do. I’m sitting here telling you this, but Kevin (Kolb), there was a little bit of a durability problem there with Kevin. (Foles has) got a broken hand here, so I’m telling you that. Physically, I don’t think he’s ever had a problem with that.”

On whether the final game would have had an impact on the organization’s view of Foles: “Again, there’s two sides to that. You want the rookies to play as much as you can get them to play when they’re given that opportunity. So, would you love to have him play against the Giants and have that opportunity to get one more game under his belt? Absolutely. But you don’t and so you go back and evaluate his games here once you’re done with the season. You evaluate his product there as a whole and then go forward from there. It’s been a valuable experience for him, but yeah, you’d love to have one more game.”

On what part of Foles’ game needs the most work: “He really just needs to play. Just play and have that experience. Every week, I thought the game slowed down for him. He put up pretty good numbers yesterday. You’ve got to go through the different situations. He’s been given some unique situations and you’ve got to be able to work through those, learn from them, move on. Now, he’s the kind of guy that normally doesn’t make the same mistake twice, which is important at this level. So, he learns from his mistakes and get better.”

On whether Foles has the intelligence to succeed: “Yeah, he’s a smart kid. He’s a sharp kid.”

On how much Foles gaining experience this year will help him down the road: “I think it’s invaluable. I think that’s invaluable experience to him. It’ll help him in his future down the road.”

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