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Tipsheet: Rams' Hekker not surprised that Foles re-emerged

Tipsheet: Rams' Hekker not surprised that Foles re-emerged

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Yes, Nick Foles fell apart while quarterbacking the Rams. He took a flogging up in Green Bay and he never recovered from that.

Eventually, Case Keenum replaced him at Rams Park. When the team moved to Los Angeles, it moved with Keenum as the No. 1 quarterback. That is not how Foles wanted his Rams chapter to end.

But behind the scenes, Foles earned high marks as a teammate. He handled his demotion with the utmost professionalism.

Punter Johnny Hekker told CBSSports.com that he got to know Foles pretty well while playing cards with him and kicker Greg Zuerlein.

"Whenever you follow success with hard times it's going to be difficult," Hekker said. "You see the real character of a person. Nick never hung his head, he never felt sorry for himself. He never stopped working to make the team better. He's the kind of guy that really doesn't let his situation define him. He's going to keep working and not let an adverse situation keep him down."

Foles finally resurfaced with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he previously enjoyed one remarkable season under then-coach Chip Kelly. This time around he stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz and saved the Eagles season.

"I'm not shocked about his success," Hekker said. "He's had it coming."

Jared Goff eventually became the Quarterback of the Future in Los Angeles, replacing Keenum. From a distance he came to respect Foles' work.

"It's impressive," Goff told CBSSports.com. "It's impressive, especially in the playoffs against really, really good opponents. What they did against the Minnesota defense was unbelievable. We played them earlier in the year, and I thought that was the best defense we played all year. They're a good team and he's a good player." 

MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE

Questions to ponder while wondering how Alex Smith will hold up in the Washington D.C. fishbowl:

How is James Harrison getting fired up for the Super Bowl?

How is Rob Gronkowski getting fired up for the Super Bowl?

Should Bruce Weber get more respect?

THE GRIDIRON CHRONICLES

Here is what folks are writing about the looming Super Bowl:

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report: "Tom Brady looked happy. Brady attended his eighth Super Bowl Opening Night (or Media Day, as the Super Bowl media circus was billed earlier in his career) on Monday, and he did so without the faraway stare of a commuter avoiding eye contact on a crowded subway train—the look that was permanently fixed on his face about four Super Bowls ago. Brady smiled warmly beneath a snug wool cap, trading it out for a fedora that made him look like a Guys and Dolls extra for a brief photo op. He appeared engaged and amused, not at all like someone who wished he could teleport the entire press pool onto the middle of a frozen lake so he could watch film and drink some kale concoction in peace—again, a vibe he has radiated at past Media Days/Opening Nights . . . Wading into the camera thicket surrounding Brady is like climbing into a giant sausage grinder. Opening Night is for the foreign press and entertainment reporters who ask Gisele questions; the rest of us try our luck with players who don't spend an entire hour under siege. Monday was Brady's chance to deflect non-football questions after a year of deflecting football questions. The content is never all that relevant at Opening Night. It was just great to see Brady having fun."

Conor Orr, SI.com: "This is, theoretically, Bill Belichick’s hell. A live press conference from which he cannot escape for an hour. Thousands of sweaty reporters bulling through crowds of other sweaty reporters converging from countless angles at low speeds, each of whom wants to ask him one of five questions that he’s already answered. It is everything—gawking, mindless drivel—he has largely trained the New England press not to be. This should make him want to roll his eyes and spit. Alas, Belichick has made a living surprising his opponents and contemporaries and on Monday, he surprised at least one reporter in attendance. By my count, the Patriots head coach genuinely smiled 33 times over the course of the Super Bowl Opening Night media session Monday. He smiled at a question from former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, he smiled when someone asked what he does for fun (sailing, preparing for grandchildren), and he smiled when someone asked him what the difference between this Super Bowl and the other seven were ('this one is in Minnesota,' he said)."

Rodger Sherman, The Ringer: "Only one thing can apparently guarantee a compelling Super Bowl: the presence of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and their version of the New England Patriots. Twelve of the 48 Super Bowls not featuring the Brady-Belichick Pats have been one-possession games; seven of the seven Super Bowls featuring them have. The average Super Bowl without the Brady-Belichick tandem has been decided by a margin of 16.1 points; the average Super Bowl with it has been decided by a margin of 3.7. This isn’t a New England thing, either: The Pats’ two Super Bowl berths before the Brady and Belichick era were decided by 36 and 14 points, respectively. Five of this group’s seven Super Bowl appearances have been decided on scores in the last two minutes of their respective games. A sixth featured a winning touchdown with two minutes and two seconds to go and a goal-line interception with under 30 seconds left. The Super Bowl has ended on its final play only twice; both instances have come in games that included these Patriots. Brady and Belichick’s Pats took part in the largest and second-largest comebacks in Super Bowl history; they were also victims of the sixth-largest comeback in Super Bowl history. They have played in the only overtime Super Bowl. (This was also the largest comeback and one of the games decided on the final play — sincere apologies to the Atlanta Falcons.)"

MEGAPHONE

“I started seeing more of my teammates. … demented and that are living half a life, don’t know where they are. They’re in institutions and forgotten. And I see these bright, young kids out there, playing their hearts out, and it’s euphoric and they’re making huge money and, bam, I see a hit and I say, ‘Oh, God.’ And we’re in denial, absolute denial.’’

Former quarterback Fran Tarkenton, to USA Today, on the NFL's concussion crisis.

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Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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