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Nick Foles: 'I want to excel' as starting QB

PHILADELPHIA -- Nick Foles is preparing for his third NFL preseason, which begins Friday night against the Chicago Bears.

Two years ago, Foles was a rookie whose heart was going “about a million beats per minutes,” Foles said. Last year, Foles was locked in a competition with Michael Vick for the starting quarterback job. This year, for the first time, Foles is the Philadelphia Eagles' No. 1 quarterback going into the preseason.

That gives Foles a little security. He can focus on particular areas he wants to improve. He doesn’t have to look over his shoulder nearly as much -- during the game or afterward. But Foles said his approach to the preseason games won’t change much.

“I want to excel and get better,” Foles said. “Some of the things we talked about -- lessening the sacks, getting the ball out quick when I can. A lot of great quarterbacks do a great job of just taking the short routes early and then attacking deep later. I want to improve on what I did last year.”

Foles threw only two interceptions in 2013, but he was sacked 28 times in the 11 full (or nearly full) games he played. That could mean 35 or 40 sacks over a full 16-game season. If Foles threw the ball away more often, it might mean fewer sacks but more interceptions.

“You obviously don’t want to take sacks,” Foles said. “This year, I really want to try not to take as many sacks, get the ball out faster. If it’s dumping it down to the back earlier, I think that’s most important. That’s something I’ll continue working on into the preseason. That’s something I really want to work on.”

Foles said the Eagles reviewed last season’s games during the spring and through the OTAs in June. Once training camp began, the focus shifts away from 2013 and toward 2014. Instead of looking at last year’s video, the players watch tape of each day’s practice.

“We go over that and we coach from that,” Foles said. “Definitely there’s times when I could get the ball out. I held it too long. There are some times when nobody’s open and you’ve just got to eat (the ball). If you just throw it out there, a guy can take it the other way.”

Sacks are tough, but as Foles said, they aren’t the worst thing that can happen. Interceptions are worse, and Foles did a remarkable job of limiting those last season. It will be tough to improve on the two interceptions he threw last year, but Foles will try. And he’ll get started Friday night in Chicago.