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Mornhinweg likes Eagles rookie Foles more and more

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Posted Aug. 24, 2012 @ 4:44 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The Eagles’ drafting of QB Nick Foles in Round Three this spring was met with some confusion in league circles. One, it was deemed a bit too high for Foles, who was rated as a lower-round prospect by many. Two, style-wise, Foles was a drastic change from starter Michael Vick. And three, scouts labeled Foles’ footwork as being quite poor for a prospective NFL quarterback, especially after what was deemed to be a subpar Senior Bowl performance.

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he can vouch for the last point wholeheartedly as being a falsehood.

“I like his feet,” Mornhinweg told PFW. “I thought maybe, in evaluating him (at University of Arizona), he didn’t always use them correctly. But he has good feet and has used them well here.”

Part of the problem, Mornhinweg speculates, was protection. The Wildcats’ offensive line had combined for one start heading into Foles’ senior season, and it took its toll.

“He got killed back there,” Mornhinweg said, “but that answered questions about his toughness. He’s a tough kid, and you could see it.”

That also is a good trait to have considering the Eagles’ current QB situation. Starter Michael Vick has bruised ribs, having been knocked out twice in his four preseason series this year, and Mike Kafka currently is out with a broken left (non-throwing) hand.

On the one hand, it works to Foles’ benefit in that he will play a lot in the final two preseason games, earning invaluable experience in the process. But on the other, it leaves the position in serious doubt.

Vick’s health has been a question nearly his entire career — he has one 16-game season to his name (back in 2006) — and remains a pivotal concern in what might be a flashpoint season in Philadelphia. The team carries massive expectations, with many people talking Super Bowl, and yet Vick's contract has an out that would allow the Eagles to release him from his $100 million contract and minimize the damage to the salary cap.

Kafka’s status with the team is unknown at this point, and the other QB on the roster, Trent Edwards, hasn’t been special in the preseason.

The Eagles have yet to name a second or third quarterback, and they aren’t likely to do so until cutdown day to the 53-man roster on Aug. 31. Foles has locked up a spot on the team with an excellent preseason so far, and there is a strong likelihood that he could be backing up Vick when the team opens in Week One at Cleveland.

And, as we’ve seen with Vick on the field, that means Foles will have to be on ready alert and almost certainly would be called upon at some point this season, just as Kafka was more than once in 2011.

If that’s the case, Mornhinweg appears happy with where the rookie QB is at.

“I liked him coming out,” he said, “and when I saw him in minicamps, I liked him a little more. And when I saw him here in training camp, I liked him even more than that.

“It has been a steady progression with him. He has made some plays, and this isn’t too big for him. He fits right in. We haven’t named (a QB pecking order) yet, but he’s right there in it.”

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