Nick Foles will start for Eagles vs Falcons in season opener

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              FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2018, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland. Eagles coach Doug Pederson says Nick Foles will start against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. Pederson made the announcement on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, one day after a testy exchange with reporters in which he insisted he wanted to wait. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane, Fle)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Super Bowl MVP gets the first start of the season.

Nick Foles will be under center when the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Coach Doug Pederson made the announcement on Monday, one day after a testy exchange with reporters in which he insisted he wanted to wait before ruling out Carson Wentz.

“In the best interest of everything about the football team and this decision, Nick Foles is the starter Week 1,” said Pederson, who wasn’t scheduled to speak to the media and plans to answer questions at his regular news conference on Tuesday.

Foles wasn’t available Monday and will speak on Tuesday.

Wentz still hasn’t been medically cleared for contact as he comes back from surgery last December to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee. Foles was spectacular in the playoffs and helped Philadelphia defeat New England 41-33 to win the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960.

“We’ve had a lot of success with Nick,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence and faith in Nick and the way that he’s going to play and the way that guys are going to play with him.”

Wentz didn’t play in the preseason and only recently returned to full practice. Foles struggled in two preseason games, had several turnovers and didn’t lead the offense to any points on 14 drives.

“I have really very positive feelings about Nick and the way that he’s played,” Groh said. “I can only relate it to my experience and being with him on the same team as Nick is on. And again, a lot of confidence in Nick and the way that he studies and prepares himself to play and to play at a high level. …. We’re very fortunate to have Nick Foles on this team.”

NOTES: WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), WR Mack Hollins (groin) and TE Richard Rodgers (knee) didn’t practice Monday. Wentz (knee) and RB Jay Ajayi (foot) were limited.