Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles has fond memories of working with Colts head coach Frank Reich in Philadelphia.
When the Jaguars take the field on Sunday and Nick Foles will once again see a familiar face on the Indianapolis Colts sideline. Frank Reich, who is Indianapolis’ head coach stood on the Philadelphia Eagles sideline just two seasons ago in the middle of a Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots with Foles hoisting an MVP and Lombardi Trophy.
As Foles explained on Wednesday when he met with local media at TIAA Bank Field for the first time since he broke his clavicle, missing seven weeks of the season, the reunion will be special. Reich has impacted the Jaguars quarterback both personally and professionally.
"“I think the big thing is it’ll be emotional seeing him because of what he means to me. He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met, so when he went there, I was so excited for him. But I’m going to go out there and play,” Foles told the media on Wednesday as he prepares for the important matchup this Sunday with playoff implications on the line."
The Jaguars are 4-5 this season and look to make a jump in the AFC standings while hoping to gain ground on the other three teams in the AFC South. A loss this week could all but crush the hopes of the organization, which could mean two straight seasons without a postseason berth.
Foles knows the man on the sideline across from him won’t be on the field of play Sunday, but that does not mean he won’t be a major influence on the outcome for both sides.
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"“At the end of the day, Frank’s not going to be the one out there. I know he’ll have something schemed up and everything, but I’m going to go out there, and trust my teammates and play, read and react,” Foles explained.“Frank was a big part of getting that out of me. He was the one who recognized that before the playoff, that the way that we were designing plays for me wasn’t exactly my strength, and he was someone who observed that, and he impacted me because he recognized that in me. So, he knows that about me, but if we’re doing the right thing and executing, we’re going to be alright from a read and react situation.”"
Plenty has changed with the Jaguars since Foles stepped into the game at TIAA Bank Field against the Kansas City Chiefs. The roster is different. The running game is more established. The wide receivers have proven to be better than anticipated. And a rookie quarterback we all wondered about in the preseason showed he can win football games in the NFL.
"“Obviously, my role changes once I’m injured and put on IR. The first couple weeks, you’re with the team for meetings and then go home and rest because you’re not very comfortable, so a lot of sleeping. A lot of sleeping. But then once I was able to really be here, and just be around them, it was great. Just to watch everything, watch Gardner grow and watch him run the offense,” Foles explained.“My role changed, but I wanted to do that role to the best of my ability. So, it was really important to be around them and to continue developing those relationships. And obviously now that I’m back playing, just let whatever’s inside me out and let’s go, but it was really great being around the guys during that time.”"
Now the role changes again and Foles, who has been a maestro of sorts in the second half of the NFL season the past two years, tries to conduct another winning season here in Jacksonville with John DeFilippo, who served as the team’s quarterbacks coach in Reich’s offense in Philadelphia. This could be one of those games where fans see a chess match of sorts between former colleagues. It could also mean the Jaguars offense finds another rhythm in Indianapolis.
Foles is well aware of the team he is facing this weekend.
"“But their team is outstanding. Watching them on film, watching their defense, I focus on their defense. Man, they’re well-coached,” he added.“They play hard, they play to the whistle. They’re stripping the balls, they’re getting turnovers, safeties are making one-handed picks. So, we’re going to have a challenge. That’s not going to be easy going up there, because they’re very well-coached and that’s what I would expect from a Coach Reich team.”"