Nick Foles looks to build chemistry with Jaguars teammates
By David Levin
Nick Foles told the media on Tuesday he is continuing to get acclimated with his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates in preparation for the 2019 season.
It’s been a common theme since Nick Foles stood at the podium last month inside TIAA Bank Field and told the members of the media and the Jacksonville Jaguars organization he wants to build a solid foundation with his teammates for the upcoming season and beyond.
Those same words were echoed on Tuesday of this week when the Jaguars new quarterback told the media in attendance at his press conference that building chemistry was important for a successful 2019 campaign.
Nick Foles, who signed a 4-year, $88-million deal this offseason with Jacksonville, is still getting acclimated to the Jacksonville way of preparing for the regular season. Armed with a new playbook and teammates he is still getting to know, building trust and unity are vital for everyone in the locker room. After a 5-11 season in 2018, Foles takes the reins of a new offense run by his former quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia, John DiFilippo.
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"“There are a lot of guys that have been here before, so I’m also observing and watching and the different things I’ve learned throughout my career is there will be a time and a place about implanting it or discuss. We’re all here to make things better, to ultimately give us the opportunity to succeed,” Foles explained.“To do that you have to build a foundation and that is trust and getting to know each other. That’s why this part of the year is great because we come to work four days a week. You get an opportunity to get to know the guys and then you can build that trust and go from there.”"
Foles, who is with the team during the first part of the Jaguars voluntary offseason workout program, will have the advantage of DiFilippo’s guidance and familiar faces he has worked with before, namely wide receiver Chris Conley and tight end James O’Shaughnessy. But the work put in with new faces and timing will be the essential reason for success this season. Foles, who has been a backup and part-time starter in Philadelphia and brought the Eagles a Super Bowl in 2017, won’t have the same kind of offensive weapons at his disposal here with the Jaguars.
The transition is one he is looking forward to. So are the fans here in a city that has had to deal with quarterback mediocrity (sometimes less) for years. Trust, as he explained, is a big part of the growth of this offense and franchise.
"“Trust is something you can’t just rush. That’s why you come in here each day. I don’t try to be anything other than myself,” he added. “I think guys respect that. When they step in the huddle with me they’re not going to say, ‘This is the guy on game day, but then this is the guy that is different in the locker room and different outside of the facility.’ My goal is right here to be who I am all the time. That takes time.”"
Nick Foles has played his best football in the biggest moments of the game the past couple of seasons. The Jaguars and DiFilippo must find a way to game plan for his strengths and use the skill players in a way that are complementary to their signal caller.
It’s a change in philosophy that might take some getting used to. Jacksonville has been a run-first type of team the past two seasons. Foles did say regardless of what the situation is, everything starts up front with the offensive line, a disastrous unit for the Jaguars in 2018 due to injuries. Whether that will be the focal point of the Jaguars NFL Draft process is something the 30-year-old said he would leave to the front office and coaching staff to decide.
"“To be honest, the foundation of an offense is always through the [offensive] line. It really is through the O-line. The guys I have played with – it’s really hard to run a successful offense without those guys up front. Not only from a skill perspective up front, but also the mindset,” Foles said."