Nick Foles realizes the clock is running on both his attempt to learn the Bears offense and beat out Mitchell Trubisky for starting quarterback.
It's no time to panic, even in the middle of a pandemic. Foles has seen just about everything before and has a grasp on what needs to be done.
"You know what? It's the situation. You can't say it's tough. It is the situation. My mindset is that I have to embrace it."
-Quarterback Nick Foles on competing with little prep time
If anyone has been through winning without much time to prepare, it's Foles. He won a Super Bowl coming off the bench to replace Carson Wentz in the season's final weeks without much prior work, and took the Eagles into two 2018 playoff games in much the same manner. Getting time to work at something has actually been a luxury in his career.
Still, in this case Foles is taking on a tougher assignment because he had no offseason work with the Bears. Trubisky even has a head start there because he threw with teammates during the offseason while they worked on their own, throwing and running pass routes the team uses.
"Being far away from Chicago and never living in Chicago, I had only been in Chicago a few times, obviously you want to be around your teammates and throw with your teammates but the situation was, that just wasn't the case," Foles said. "I thought we optimized our Zoom meetings to the best of our abilities and then throwing-wise, I was very fortunate to find some young guys who wanted to work.
"I live in California in the offseason. And got a lot of good work in. Obviously, it’s not with your teammates but it's still good work."
Winning the job for Foles is a daily, even second-by-second emphasis. He zeroes in on the next play, how it works, and the why. Thinking about beating out Trubisky serves no purpose on a day-by-day basis. He says he pulls for Trubisky as well.
"I know the quarterback competition, all that, you'll ask me about it, but the big thing is we help each other improve in the quarterback room not only as players but as people and that'll help our team, Foles said. "So I'm focusing on all these little things and the situation is what it is. I'm just doing everything I can, each day in the moment, to do the best I can to enjoy this and be the best player I can be."
He tries to consciously push off the thought it is a competition.
"I think the big thing is just don't focus on winning," Foles said. "I'd say the big thing is focus on getting to be myself out there on the field and when a play is called, playing to the best of my ability."
To get over the handicap caused by a lack of prep time, Foles can fall back on those days in Philadelphia when he had the success, winning a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP. The Bears' offense is similar enough to what he ran in Philadelphia and also in Kansas City to help.
"I feel right at home, which is huge," Foles said.
Foles found coming to Halas Hall and seeing all the coaches he has known throughout his career a bit like the old television show "This Is Your Life." Coach Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and even offensive line coach Juan Castillo all coached on teams Foles played for in the past.
It's part of what made Foles feel right at home.
"I think the relationships were there," Foles said. "It's exciting because those were all at different walks of my NFL journey. Lazor was early on in 2013. Flip was 2017 and 2019, so we were on a Super Bowl team and we had a crazy year last year in Jacksonville. Nagy was quality control in 2012 (Philadelphia) and then was my OC in 2016.
"It's really fun to be with them because now I'm going on my ninth year and every experience you have in life you gain knowledge and wisdom and then you are always trying to seek more. You are always trying to learn."
The one part of this Foles hasn't prepared for is one no one did—the coronavirus.
He said rumors on the Internet the past few days that he would take the opt-out clause were nowhere near true.
"I think myself as well as every other player had conversations with their family, their loved ones, about what to do in this situation," Foles said. "My wife and I both felt strongly about pursuing playing this season. There was never a discussion about opting out, but when that came out, you have those discussions about different things, and I respect everyone who is. I mean, I get it.
"I have a 7-week-old son. My wife and I went through a miscarriage last year. We have a 3-year-old daughter. You have to weigh those different things. But it was one of those things where my wife and I both felt great pursuing being in Chicago."
Seeing the safety precautions the Bears have taken at Halas Hall to avoid an outbreak made him more comfortable.
"Obviously there are going to be different times as athletes that our interactions become closer because of football, but whenever we have an opportunity to separate we are," Foles said. "It's been really impressive to see what the Bears have in place for us."