“Today I couldn’t nap. I tried, but I had too much on my mind. Too many butterflies.” – Foles
“Because Baker (Mayfield) is starved for knowledge.” – Browns OC Freddie Kitchens on why his shotgun marriage with Mayfield has worked
“I will remember that night for the rest of my life.” – Bears HC Matt Nagy on Chicago’s Week 1 loss to Green Bay
“Football Morning in America” Runs Every Monday Exclusively on NBCSports.com
STAMFORD, Conn. – December 17, 2018 – Peter King’s Week 15 edition of “Football Morning in America,” available now exclusively on NBCSports.com, is highlighted by an interview with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to a 30-23 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
This week’s edition also includes an interview with Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens on the development of rookie QB Baker Mayfield; an interview with Chicago head coach Matt Nagy following the Bears’ division-clinching win over the Packers; an in-depth look at this year’s possible Comeback Player of the Year candidates, including an interview with Texans DL J.J. Watt; “What I Learned” with Nagy; awards, quotes, travel notes and more.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of “Football Morning in America”:
FOLES & EAGLES
- Foles on his pre-game schedule prior to Sunday’s game against the Rams: “Today I couldn’t nap. I tried, but I had too much on my mind. Too many butterflies.”
- Foles on being present: “The huddle’s my sanctuary. Today you’ve got phones, Instagram, Twitter. It’s hard to just be in the moment. But I like to be in the moment, be present. Today I was able to block everything about the significance of this—being back in the same place it started last year, playing on a big Sunday night game, playing for our playoffs [hopes]—and just focusing on one moment. One play. Then the next play. I called on my experience on playing in high-pressure games last year and succeeding. I think it helped.”
KITCHENS & BROWNS
- Kitchens on why his shotgun marriage with Mayfield has worked: “Because Baker is starved for knowledge. He loves learning. I’ve told him, ‘Your work in progress is never gonna be complete, ever. There’s always gonna be things you can work on, new things.’ Why limit what he can become? He loves that. You see that every week, how much he loves it.”
- Kitchens on learning from Bill Parcells and Jason Witten during his time in Dallas: “I learned how to manage a team. I wish I had more time to learn from him. Jason Witten taught me, just by seeing him work on the field and in the film room and the meeting room, how to be an NFL coach.”
- Backup QB Drew Stanton on Kitchens’ reaction to the firing of Todd Haley: “When he first took over the offense here, he was absolutely sick about Todd Haley getting fired. That’s who brought him here. But that’s Freddie. In his first meeting with the offense, he said, ‘We’re gonna be as good as everyone in this room is.’ He wanted ideas. He asked the offensive linemen, ‘What runs do you guys like?’ I’d never seen that before.”
- King on Kitchens: “Kitchens sounds exactly like the kind of coach teams in a coaching search should investigate. Everyone’s looking for the next Payton, the next Sean McVay. Could it be the barrel-chested Alabamian who, despite never having been a coordinator before, has turned the Cleveland offense into must-see TV in his seven weeks on the job?”
- Nagy on losing to the Packers in Week 1: “I will remember that night for the rest of my life. I will remember the look in those players’ eyes. I looked at those 50 guys and told them, ‘This is happening for a reason. You’re not gonna trust me right now, but this is a long season, and we’re only at Week 1 right now, and we’ll be okay.’ I wanted them to feel it for six hours, and then, next morning, to walk in with a smile on their faces.”
WATT & COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Watt on what he’s learned the last two years: “I didn’t push [training] as hard as I had before. There are some things that create higher risk than others. I still train with the same intensity. I’m just smarter. It’s been continuous growth the entire way … Really, I just want to move past the ‘comeback’ thing. I just want it to be about football. In late December, these are the things you dream about—playoff football, winning, playing big games. I’m contributing now, and I’m happy about that.”
“WHAT I LEARNED” WITH NAGY
Nagy on getting an entry-level job under Andy Reid: “Once I got the call, I knew I was set. I knew I would make it. I didn’t care about all the long drives, driving 99 miles each way to Philly for a year, waking up every day at 3:30 am, sleeping in the office some nights. I was given an opportunity by one of the greatest coaches in the National Football League. That is all I needed.”
Read the rest of the column here.
A new “Football Morning in America” will post every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.