JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over the past 20 days, News4Jax counted down the 20 most important figures to the Jaguars' success in the 2019 season. That series wraps up today with a look at the most important figure to Jacksonville's season.
This offseason, the Jaguars No. 1 priority was to sign Nick Foles. On the first day of free agency Jacksonville’s front office landed who they believe will be their franchise quarterback.
2018 stats (With Philadelphia Eagles): 1,413 passing yards, 7 TDs and 4 INTs
2019 rojection: It’s been at least a decade since the Jaguars had anything resembling consistency at the quarterback position. Signing Foles came at a price of just over $50 million in guaranteed money, the highest amount the franchise has ever paid a player.
What are the Jaguars getting for that large of an investment? Foles has a career 4-3 playoff record and has a Super Bowl MVP on his resume. At 30 years old, his best football should still be ahead of him.
During the offseason program, there were a couple of throws Foles made that simply weren’t in the arsenal of Blake Bortles. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye said about practicing against Foles.
“I was talking to some of the younger guys, some of the DBs last week, I was even talking to my coaches frustrated because you have a really good quarterback and there were certain plays that you were making in the past years … You are there and even when you make the right breaks and everything, but the ball is only where the receiver can catch it. You can see that he is a leader out there, the way he carries his offense. The tempo of the offense is different, they are more upbeat, they are attacking us. They are going to give us looks."
Foles can’t do it alone.
Health is the biggest wildcard for every NFL team. What Foles will be asked to do is to elevate the play of the younger unproven guys around him. That’s what true franchise quarterbacks do. The likes of Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and DJ Chark aren’t household names outside of Jacksonville.
If Foles does his job, NFL fans will be rushing to sign those receivers for their fantasy football rosters. In speaking with Westbrook over the summer he expressed that the vibe in the huddle is different with Foles under center. Everybody on the offense and defense respects the fact that he not only won a Super Bowl, but that he was MVP and beat Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
When he speaks, guys listen. That type of impact can’t be measured in numbers. Foles will ultimately be judged by wins and losses. But so far he looks to be exactly who the Jaguars were hoping for.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan on signing Nick Foles: “I can tell you this, categorically, that as soon as the season was over, our dream was to get Nick Foles for all the different reasons that have been elaborated before, and it happened. I think that’s a critical part that we have addressed.”