The situation definitely won’t be the easiest Sunday when Nick Foles makes his St. Louis Rams debut at quarterback at the Edward Jones Dome.
Foles, obtained in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for former Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, will make his first Rams start against the defending NFC champions Seattle Seahawks. Not only does Seattle boast one of the NFL’s top defenses, that defense will be facing an extremely young Rams offensive line with two rookie starters and a new starting center.
“I’m excited to be at home and I’m excited to open at home,” Foles said Wednesday. “That’s always exciting, to be in the dome (and) be ready to go, especially against a team like Seattle.”
Foles, who signed a two-year contract extension last month worth more than $24 million also got a vote of confidence from his teammates when they named his their offensive captain.
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“It’s a great honor to be a captain of the team,” Foles said. “Being voted on by the guys is very humbling. Since I’ve gotten here they’ve welcomed me with open arms and helped me along.
“I’m excited about what we have here.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher has been impressed by Foles’ ability to not only make the team his own, but to make everyone in the locker room feel like they are part of something special.
“It doesn’t always happen that way, but the first day he stepped in the building ... that’s his personality,” Fisher said. “So he captured everybody’s attention, which is good. When he talks, they listen and they look, they turn to him, so I was really happy for him.”
The Seahawks’ defense will be without holdout star safety Kam Chancellor on Sunday, but still is one of the NFL’s finest and stingiest units.
Facing a Rams team that finished 28th in the NFL in offense last season, Seattle also knows the Rams are without rookie running back and first-round draft pick Todd Gurley. Gurley has been cleared for contact while rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, but won’t be ready for the opener and perhaps even longer.
Tre Mason, the Rams’ leading rusher in 2014, is hoping to be cleared from a hamstring strain. If Mason can’t go, that leaves Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead as the top options at running back.
Foles believes in new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti’s system, and also his teammates. The Rams were 0-4 in the preseason and despite the team showing only a portion of its offensive playbook, Foles completed 18-of-26 passes for 264 yards and one TD with two interceptions.
“I get to step in the huddle each and every day and I just know their mentality,” Foles said. “I know that each and every day they want to get better and better. Just how we practice, just how we’re executing, I feel we’re just getting better.
“You’ve got to be confident to go out there and execute and win. It’s going to be a tough game. It’s going to be a tough battle.”
Foles is 14-4 as a starter over the last two seasons. He completed 61.1 percent of his passes while with the Eagles, throwing for 6,753 yards and 46 touchdowns against 17 interceptions.
He also had a magical 2013 season when he threw for 2,891 yards and 27 TDs with only two interceptions.
Foles won’t be asked to do a Kurt Warner “Greatest Show on Turf” imitation in Fisher’s offense by filling the air with footballs. The plan is to create a balanced attack, with emphasis on a strong running game.
How that happens with such an inexperienced offensive line is to be determined, but Foles likes what he sees in rookie linemen Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown.
“Jamon and Rob are awesome, just wise beyond their years, mature beyond their years.,” Foles said. “There’s going to be nerves involved, that’s part of it, but they’ve gone against a great front seven every single day with what we have (the Rams’ heralded defensive front).
“They’re going to be ready to go. Seattle’s got a great defense so it’s going to be a great challenge for them, but I have all the confidence in the world in them.”