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Offseason Notebook

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Colts Offseason Notebook: How Nick Foles Views Frank Reich, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger And His Fit In Indianapolis

The Colts signed Foles, the MVP of Super Bowl LII and a 10-year veteran, earlier this week. 

The Colts signed Nick Foles this week to back up Matt Ryan, adding a veteran with 10 years of experience and a Super Bowl MVP to his name to a quarterback room that also includes 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger and undrafted rookie Jack Coan.

Indianapolis was where Foles hoped to land after the Chicago Bears released him in early May.

  • "I wasn't just going to settle and just go somewhere this year," Foles said. "I wanted to go somewhere where I really enjoyed the grind, and (have) someone I know schematically I'm going to enjoy playing for. And this was at the top of my list."
  • Foles said his intention was always to continue playing in 2022, but he wasn't going to move his family – he has two kids and he and his wife are expecting a third – to a place where he didn't enjoy his work.
  • So the opportunity to re-unite with Frank Reich, Foles' offensive coordinator with the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, was an ideal fit for him. He has familiarity with a version of the offense, and lauded the Colts' culture in observing it from afar, too. But when the opportunity to come to Indianapolis arose, Foles' wife said to him: "It had to be Frank, didn't it?"
  • "Frank's been a great mentor to me since I was with him in Philadelphia," Foles said. "We've stayed in touch every single year a great bit. And to have him as my head coach is special." 

Foles said he's got to know Ryan "in passing" – a tremendous, if unintentional, pun – over the last decade and is excited to work with and learn from the 14-year veteran.

  • "I've always been a big fan of his from afar, just in how he has represented himself, how he plays the game," Foles said. "So it's exciting to be his teammate and watch him work and how he handles everything in the meeting room and as as human being."
  • Backing up an accomplished veteran in Ryan reminds Foles of his year as Alex Smith's backup with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016. He's otherwise been the backup to a handful of young quarterbacks over the last few years – Carson Wentz, Gardner Minshew, Mitch Trubisky – but being behind the durable, experienced Ryan will not change Foles' approach to being QB2.
  • "You're always preparing to play but your voice is going to be different," Foles said. "You're going to be listening more, you're going to be observing more — it's more so how you handle yourself. And I think the big thing with me, it's always being there to be the biggest fan of who is playing and who the starter is to cheer him on but also when they're playing, I have their back. Like, I'm there for them, I want them to succeed and have great success. I think you can be prepared to play but at the same time, you can want your buddy to succeed so then your team is succeeding. And it's really a team-first mentality is how I approach it." 

While Foles was brought in to back up Ryan, that does not necessarily change how the Colts feel about Ehlinger, who served as Wentz's backup during the majority of the 2021 season. And the same can be said for how Foles views Ehlinger, who like him is a Westlake High School (Austin, Texas) alum.

  • Foles met Ehlinger at a camp when Ehlinger was still in high school – he has an old photo of them together somewhere on his phone – and followed Ehlinger's career from Westlake to Texas to the Colts.
  • "He's really helping me now — he knows this offensive terminology better than I do," Foles said. "So he's been super helpful. And I've told him, anything he needs, I just want to help him grow. And he'll be playing this game long after I'm done."

Highlights from Phase 3 - Day 22 of Colts offseason workouts.

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