Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —The blonde curly locks he wore his rookie season are gone. Nick Foles has streamlined his head with a more mature, close-cropped look. That’s not all. Foles is looking for career maturation in his second season with the Eagles, aiming to be the Birds’ starting quarterback in 2013.
He holds the utmost respect for Michael Vick and fourth-round draft pick Matt Barkley. But the two better watch out, because Foles has a different gleam in his eye this season. It’s not the starry-eyed look of a rookie out of Arizona just happy to take reps.
“At the end of the day, I’m not here to be a backup,” admitted Foles, who threw for 1,699 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions last season. “I’m here to be the guy. I don’t think we play this game to sit on the bench. We play it to play, and I’m here to play.”
This open optimism wasn’t meant to disparage Vick. To the contrary, Foles said “I have all the respect in the world for Mike. I’m going to go out there every day and prove myself and work hard. I’m just going to approach it like I’ve done since I was a kid. I’m just going to go out there and demand the best of myself and push myself to get better.”
Foles comes into this training camp with a legitimate shot at unseating Vick as the Eagles’ starting quarterback, since Kelly is opening up the spot for everyone.
Foles couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.
“I have all the confidence in the world in my ability,” Foles said. “But I still respect the players around me and I know what they’re capable of doing. But at the end of the day, I’m not here to be a backup. I’m here to be the guy. I don’t think we play this game to sit on the bench. We play it to play, and I’m here to play.”
In Foles’ opinion, no one has a clear-cut edge over the other. “I feel like we’re still competing and there is no lead. There’s never a lead,” he said. “We’ve got to go out there. I feel like I had a solid spring. There’s a lot of stuff I need to correct throughout the spring. I looked at it as a work in progress. This camp is another opportunity to get better and improve on the things I didn’t think I did well in the last camp and to get even better at the things I thought I did do well. So there is no lead.”
Nor is there any issue with the mercurial DeSean Jackson, who said last week on a national TV show uttered that he thought Vick should be the starter.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Foles said. “I love DeSean. I don’t worry about it. I just go out there and play. I’m going to play to the best of my ability and I know DeSean, no matter what, is going to play his butt off for whoever the quarterback is.”