All he has to do is target his top wide receiver. The rest will work itself out in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday (4:35 p.m. ET, NBC).
Foles and Jeffery haven’t had a ton of success together since Foles took over the starting job for the injured Carson Wentz. They’ve connected on 6 of 16 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown in almost two-and-a-half games.
But Foles believes he knows how to make it work better going forward.
“I just have to throw it,” he said. “I do trust him. I’ve seen him play enough. I’ve watched film. We both came in the league at the same time, and obviously, he’s been a tremendous player. So it’s really just me giving him opportunities to make plays because he will make them. He’s a super-talented receiver. It’s on me to give him opportunities to do so.”
Jeffery, 27, finished second on the Eagles with 789 yards on 54 catches. He led the team with nine receiving touchdowns in his first season with Philadelphia.
Jeffery seems to be downplaying the lack of efficiency with his new quarterback. He isn’t panicking heading into the biggest game of their respective careers.
“Me and Nick, we had a great game against the Giants. Oakland didn’t go as well, but it’s part of the game,” Jeffery said. “Some games you’re going to have some good ones, some games [not], but as long as you get the W, that’s all that matters to me.”
Jeffery and Foles should benefit from the bye and the extra week of practice. They said it went well, and the additional work can make a difference.
All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson also noted it takes time for quarterbacks to get into a rhythm. This is Foles’ fourth start. Jeffery seems to be subscribing to that same thinking.
“[The bye] helped out a lot,” he said. “You can study a lot more film, he can work on a few things with us, so it definitely helped out a lot.”
Foles’ job could be a bit trickier than he’s letting on this week. He has admitted to needing to get out of his own head in his second career playoff game. Against the Falcons, he’s being asked to lead an offense that is likely going to need to score points, and two of his top receivers — Jeffery and Nelson Agholor — will be playing in their first career playoff games.
It’s more vital than ever to get them involved early in order for the game to slow down. The Eagles are going to need big plays from their wide receivers, something they haven’t been able to get much with Foles at quarterback.
“With Alshon, getting him involved is huge just because he’s a talented receiver. He can make big plays,” Foles said. “He’s a huge threat against whatever defense we face. Anytime you can threaten a defense with a guy like that, it’s huge. That is where just continue to build that rhythm, build that relationship. It has been great these last few weeks.”
Agholor is also a key offensive piece. He finished third on the Eagles with 768 receiving yards and tied for second with eight touchdowns. He has had more success connecting with Foles than Jeffery. They have connected on 16 of 22 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown since Foles took over as the starter.
The Eagles’ passing game will be counting on much of the same against an experienced Falcons defense that went to the Super Bowl last season and is even better this season. Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant proved again last week that they are one of the better cornerback tandems in the NFL. Plus, they’ve been in this spot before.
“It helps any time you have experience — period,” said Torrey Smith, the only Eagles wide receiver with playoff experience. “You know not to be flustered. You understand you’re going to get punched in the face at some point during the game. You just have to weather the storm and continue to fight back.”
The Eagles desperately need Jeffery and Agholor to respond positively on Saturday to ease the burden on Foles.