The Jaguars come out of the bye week with Nick Foles back under center against the Indianapolis Colts.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles stepped back on the practice field on Monday afternoon, entrenched once again as the starter and all the world seemed right again. The team that brought the veteran signal-caller in from Philadelphia this past offseason got their leader back.
With the upcoming games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans in the tight AFC South playoff race, the timing could not have been better.
Foles has proven, even with time off from the game to deal with his injury, that his leadership is an immeasurable commodity for this organization. As offensive coordinator John DeFilippo met with the media on Thursday, he spoke about how Foles the man and Foles the football player who makes this team better as an organization.
"“Nick is one of the most unique personalities I’ve ever met, and it’s genuine. You meet guys along the way that you’re like, ‘Aw, man, that’s not really genuine. He’s kind of faking his way through this thing. Nick is as genuine a person as you’ll be around,” DeFilippo said via Jaguars.com.“When you take onus in other people, they tend to gravitate toward you. There are a bunch of different ways he leads. He can listen and he leads by example. When you equate all of those things into his leadership style, I think people naturally gravitate toward him.”"
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This isn’t something that happened just now when he put the jersey back on and started throwing passes to his receivers in drills. There was a bond between the quarterback and the locker room from the moment he signed his name on the dotted line in the spring. The chance to play with a Super Bowl MVP in an offense that he was familiar with from his days in Philadelphia with DeFilippo is something the Jaguars could not have been happier about.
The base offense was installed long before the injury to Foles took place, which means the basic principles remain the same. Now comes the part about building chemistry once again with wide receivers and tight ends and working with a running game that needs to be able to move the ball in the middle of the offensive line.
"“Nick practiced all offseason and training camp. Obviously with my past with him, I kind of know what he’s good at and things he likes and doesn’t like. That layer of cake is off the table. I think it’s going to be easier maybe than some other transitions, but we’ll see,” DeFilippo added.“It’s all about getting the quarterback comfortable. It’s all about protecting him. Everything starts with protection, especially when you have a guy who has been out with an injury.”"
The Jaguars face a Colts team that surrenders 21.4 points a game while scoring just 19.6 per contest. The offensive figures, which include the ninth-best running game in the league and the 13th best passing game with Gardner Minshew under center, could change because of the effectiveness of Foles in November and December the past two seasons.
Even with numbers that remain middle of the pack in the NFL, it’s a vast improvement over the offense the team ran at this time last season. It’s not just about throwing the football around the yard, as DeFilippo explained. The outside world helps to make him a better player and a better human being.
"“His faith gives him tremendous ease,” DeFilippo explained. “That’s very genuine. His faith gives him a lot of confidence in himself, confidence in the system and the fact that he believes he’s going to go out there and do well. He has a tremendous amount of belief in his teammates. When you have firm belief in yourself and a firm belief in your teammates, you have a chance to go out there and play well.”"