Is Nick Foles still the answer to the Jaguars quarterback issues or is he just another player whose time will come and go in Jacksonville?
Foles was injured in his very first start for the Jaguars against the Kansas City Chiefs. A city that waited to see the former Super Bowl MVP lead this team back to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus gasped in despair.
Enter sixth-round draft pick Gardner Minshew, who has since become the starter once again for the Jaguars after a three-game stretch where Foles could not muster any offense to help this franchise.
Minshew played well enough to win some games and has a unique personality that got the attention of fans and the media. Was Minshew the savior? Not really but he exceeded expectations and Jaguars football was fun again.
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Following the game in London, where the Jaguars lost 26-3 to the Houston Texans and the rookie had his worst game of the season, things once again changed in Jacksonville. Foles was medically cleared to play. Jaguars head coach Coach Doug Marrone made the decision to replace Minshew with Foles. The fan base was not happy because they love their trend-setting quarterback, whose trademark aviators, bandana and jorts took the NFL by storm.
The decision appeared to be a logical one but realistically was it?
Foles has been a backup for most of his career. A former third-round pick out by the Philadelphia Eagles, he was a Pro Bowl selections in 2013. In 2014, he was placed on injured reserve and was traded to the L.A. Rams for the 2015 season. He was benched in favor of Case Keenum and even considered retirement.
He moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs as a backup to Alex Smith. In 2017, he returned to the Eagles to back up Carson Wentz and became a starter once again due to Wentz’s season-ending injury. His play led the Eagles to the Super Bowl and a win over the New England Patriots. At the start of the 2018 season, he returned to Philadelphia and started when Wentz was unable to play. He opted to come to the Jaguars for the 2019 season.
Foles is a well travelled journeyman who has had an NFL career of exhilarating highs and devastating lows. The Jaguars were excited to get him, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post wrote.
"“Remember when the Jacksonville Jaguars were only a reliable quarterback away from the Super Bowl? That’s not the problem anymore, with Super Bowl winning quarterback Nick Foles readying for his first season with the team.”"
Fast forward back to this season. Marrone replaced Minshew with Foles after he returned from the broken clavicle that forced him to miss 10 weeks of the season and it just didn’t work. There are a few reasons why this could have happened.
First, he needs talent around him to perform. That hasn’t always happened this season as evidenced by the way the offense has performed. Next, he was cleared medically by the Jaguars staff to play but may not have been ready to resume playing at a high level. Third, he may be looking to move on from the game to pursue other ventures away from the field. He may just be ready to start a new phase in his life.
Foles really only played well when he was with the Eagles with a talented football team. The system in Philadelphia was loaded with better talent. The Jaguars offensive line is not as cohesive, which also leads to him having to move around in the pocket. Foles is not a mobile quarterback like Minshew. This obligates him to create on the fly and he isn’t that kind of quarterback.
He was cleared medically to play and he wanted to get back on the field and prove his worth. But was he ready physically and mentally to perform successfully? I just don’t think so.
My opinion is that he sees the handwriting on the wall once again and is considering his options. The Jaguars have guaranteed him more than $50 million through next season. It will interesting to see how the organization handles the quarterback situation over the offseason. As Jaguars fans, we should stay tuned.