INDIANAPOLIS – Going out and acquiring a veteran backup was not high on the Colts priority list this offseason.
But if you are Chris Ballard and the name ‘Nick Foles’ hits the open market, you are going to be hearing from your head coach.
“I wanted Nick to be on this team since I’ve been here, because I think he’s that good of a player,” Frank Reich says.
“I think he’s the perfect backup quarterback. It literally fell into our lap. We didn’t chase it. If it wouldn’t have worked out, we would have been happy with Sam (Ehlinger) but we’re really happy we got Nick.”
Happy would be an understatement if you gave Reich some truth serum.
It’s well-documented the strong relationship Reich and Foles have, both on and off the field.
Football wise, they are best remembered for the Eagles Super Bowl run they had together in the 2017 season.
Away from football, Foles and Reich share many similarities, enough so that Reich wrote the forward for Foles’ book (My Journey of Success, Failure and Overcoming the Odds).
You can point to several moves the Colts made this offseason falling into the ‘win now’ bucket.
This is one of them.
Instead of a team having a young QB, with a high ceiling, immediately behind the 37-year-old Matt Ryan, the Colts opted for more of the short-term approach.
That’s a guy in Foles, who brings 56 career starts, the aforementioned Super Bowl, and a direct relationship with the head coach/play caller.
If you were to make a 2022 list of backup quarterbacks most capable of keeping a team’s ship afloat, Foles would be high on it.
“We believe we have a really good team, and you can appreciate how I value the backup quarterback position all the time, but especially when you feel like you have a really good team because every little game counts along the way,” Reich says.
“You’ve got a guy in Nick Foles who has proven that he can do it at the biggest level and the biggest stage, in any kind of weather, in any kind of moment. I like to think of it that sometimes there are backups that can come in and manage a game and squeak out a win or two, and there are some that can throw for 500 yards and win a game. That’s what Nick has proven he can do. He can win a shootout. He can win the shootout and he can win a close game, make the key plays in a close game. I just think he adds good depth and now you’ve got two experienced guys. We’re incredibly fortunate.”
By all accounts, Foles completely understands the situation he is walking into.
The 33-year-old Foles wanted a multi-year deal for his family to know that Indianapolis will be home for at least two seasons.
He gets that this is Ryan’s job, and his presence is there for emergency duty only.
And it’s clear that Foles is bringing the proper professionalism to handle a role he’s used to.
“When you’re a starter, you’re taking the reins of the team. You’re talking more,” Foles explains. “Obviously, when you’re a backup, you’re always preparing to play, but your voice is going to be different. You’re going to be listening more. You’re going to be observing more.
“With me, it’s always being the biggest fan of whoever’s starting, to cheer (Ryan) on but to also know when they’re playing that I have their back. I think you can be prepared to play, but at the same time, you can want your buddy to succeed because then your team’s succeeding.”