Start me up: Foles ready to step in and lead Birds

Nick Foles made 32 passes last week in relief duty. It was a good amount for a rookie quarterback just trying to adjust to the fast pace of the NFL.

The reviews for Foles were varied. He completed 69-percent of his throws, got the ball out quickly, stood tall in the pocket and absorbed big hits. However, he also threw an interception and fumbled in his own end zone. Foles promised to learn from that roller-coaster ride against Dallas.

“You can’t turn over the ball in this league,” Foles said yesterday. “We had two costly turnovers, and you can’t do that. Just play fast and play within myself.”

Foles has the benefit of a full week running the first-team offense in practice. He also has increased responsibilities in the meeting rooms. Normally on Wednesdays, Mike Vick meets with reporters before his 12:30 quarterbacks meeting. Foles was so swamped that he didn’t appear until 3:30. It’s just a part of the transition going from backup to starter.

“You always want to prepare yourself the same because if something does happen, you don’t want to have to change up your routine too much,” Foles said. “There will be different things that come along with it, like I’m doing media right now.”

Sunday’s game will be his first as an NFL starter and could go a long way in determining Vick’s future in 2012 and moving forward.

Foles’ teammates all have the utmost confidence in the rookie. When asked when he began to trust Foles, Jeremy Maclin said the minute he won the backup job.

“He has really good arm strength. He can throw the ball in places and put the ball in certain places that most guys [can’t do] in this league,” said Maclin, who caught a 44-yard touchdown from Foles last week. “And in the preseason the poise that he showed is not what most rookie quarterbacks show. I was impressed with that, too.”

Rookie showdown

It will be a battle between rookie QBs this week in Washington, with Foles taking on Robert Griffin III. The two briefly met at the NFL Combine.

Said RG3: “He’s a really cool guy … all the rookie quarterbacks that I’ve gotten a chance to meet have all been very down to earth guys, seem like they are pretty good leaders.”