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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A rough preseason had people doubting Nick Foles again.

The Super Bowl MVP is used to criticism and he’s ready to lead the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Foles was the toast of the town after spectacular performances in the NFC championship game against Minnesota and the Super Bowl victory over New England. But he didn’t lead the offense to any points on 14 drives in two preseason games Lee Roy Selmon Jersey , threw two interceptions, lost two fumbles and got sacked six times, including a safety.

“I went out there and played,” Foles said Tuesday. “I made mistakes. I did good things. I grew as a player. That’s important. I wasn’t trying to play it safe and with that you are going to make mistakes. Obviously, it isn’t fun, but you get to watch film and deal with the emotions of throwing a pick, having a strip-sack, and I dealt with it in the preseason and keep learning from it and move forward.”

Foles replaced Carson Wentz after the franchise quarterback tore two knee ligaments in Week 14 last season. He rallied the Eagles to a victory over the Los Angeles Rams to clinch the NFC East and played well in his first five quarters. He struggled in the next five and some critics suggested Foles should be benched for Nate Sudfeld for the division playoff game against Atlanta. Coach Doug Pederson never lost confidence in Foles, and it paid off when he helped the Eagles win their first NFL title since 1960.

Foles had a 115.7 passer rating Kwon Alexander Jersey , completed 72.6 percent of his passes and threw for 971 yards, six TDs and one interception in the playoffs.

Which version of Foles will show up this week?

“I think everyone tries to figure out sports. Sports, you never know,” Foles said. “You go out there and play, you give everything you have. I think there’s plenty of games that are middle ground that I’ve played.

“Now my middle ground is if I throw one touchdown, no interceptions, it’s a bad game. I’ve set that bar high. I know that because I expect more for myself. What is a middle ground game? We’re going to be analyzed as players but I know as a player, you can be hard on yourself, but you have to learn from your mistakes and for me Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , I know by the week of preparation, but you never really know until you get in the game.”

Foles wasn’t officially named the starter until Monday, though it was obvious Wentz wasn’t going to be ready to play. Wentz still hasn’t been medically cleared.

“The more I play, the more I’ll get in a rhythm,” Foles said.

NOTES: The Eagles signed WR Markus Wheaton and placed TE Richard Rodgers (knee) on injured reserve. Wheaton was released on Saturday but was quickly brought back. LB Joe Walker was signed to the practice squad and LB Asantay Brown was released.

Ian Kennedy was penciled in to start for the Royals on Wednesday night in the series finale against the Cleveland Indians in Kansas City.

The operative word was “penciled.”

“Not in ink,” Kennedy said before playing catch in advance of Tuesday night’s game.

Kennedy won’t be making that start. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 30 with a strained left oblique.

Manager Ned Yost said Kennedy felt a little something while playing catch, so the Royals opted not to have him start.

“It doesn’t make any sense to push him,” Yost said. “We’ll bang him one start. We don’t want to jeopardize it and then he could be out six to eight weeks.”

Yost said Kennedy would probably miss just one start before being plugged back into the rotation.

Kennedy agreed the cautious way was the better way.

“I’ve learned from the past of pitching through things,” he said. “And I’ve learned my lesson that compensating is not always the best thing. It leads to more and more soreness and stuff going on later in the season when you’re trying to compensate and do things. So I’m going to be smart.”

Yost did not reveal who would take Kennedy’s rotation spot Ryan Tannehill Jersey , but the Royals will probably recall right-hander Trevor Oaks from Triple-A Omaha to start. Oaks has not pitched since Friday, so Wednesday would be his normal day to pitch.

Oaks has put up some remarkable numbers with the Royals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate recently. He is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his last seven starts with the Storm Chasers, allowing three earned runs and 29 hits over 42 innings in that span. He has walked 11 and struck out 27.

Oaks, 25, was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a three-team trade on Jan. 4, which sent Joakim Soria to the Chicago White Sox. Oaks was up briefly for the Royals earlier this season, going 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA in three appearances, including one start.

His lone start came on April 28 against the Chicago White Sox as the 26th man on the roster in the second game of a doubleheader. He allowed five earned runs on 12 hits over five innings, while walking one and striking out four.

The Indians used another grand slam O. J. Simpson Jersey , this one by Yan Gomes, to beat the Royals 6-4 on Tuesday night in the middle game of the series. Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam in the Monday victory. The Indians top the American League with eight grand slams this season.

Right-hander Trevor Bauer, who is 7-6 with a 2.45 ERA, will start the series finale for the Indians. This will be his 18th start this season and his 150th career appearance.

Bauer lost his prior start, a 3-1 decision in Oakland. He allowed two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings.

This will be Bauer’s third start this season against the Royals with the first two at Progressive Field. He is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in the two starts.

For his career, Bauer is 2-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts against the Royals. He is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals have lost five straight and 17 of 20. They have dropped to 35 games below .500 for the first time since ending the 2006 season at 62-100. They have scored four or fewer runs in 24 of their past 25 games.

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