JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sunday, Nick Foles will take the 12th snap of his Jaguars career, 10 weeks after he took 11 snaps in the regular season opener. What kind of a difference will the former Super Bowl MVP make for the Jaguars? That's the $88 million question as the Jaguars face a must-win game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Head coach Doug Marrone believes that one place Foles can improve the Jaguars' offense is in the red zone. Under Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars ranked 30th in the NFL in scoring touchdowns from inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Foles' grasp of the offense and experience could change that.
"We're banking on that," Marrone said. "I think that his experience down there, and the things that he can do, hopefully, that will be able to give us a bump there. But I don't think it's going to just be one player. I think obviously the quarterback's an important part of it, but I think everyone else has to increase their play down in there also."
Foles' leadership also figures to be a factor. Typically, it is difficult to lead in the NFL if you are not playing, yet Foles gathered the team together after the loss to Houston in London and delivered a message to his teammates about how important the bye week would be for the team.
"Telling guys that if you think your identity is as a football player, you need to take a step back and realize you are more than a football player," Foles said. "So take this time to enjoy family time and take a breath. Step away from the game. Clear your mind. And then come back refreshed a ready to grow."
Has practice been different with Foles on the field? It certainly seems to have instilled plenty of confidence in his teammates on offense.
"I feel like offensively, Nick knows the system and he knows the call, but I feel like with Nick being that leader and knowing what's going on, I feel like communications can only get better, because of who he is and how he knows the offense," said right guard A.J. Cann. "Any team coming off a loss is looking to rebound, but having Nick, with his track record, a lot of guys are confident."
The increased confidence will last as long as Foles lives up to expectations. Those expectations include taking care of the football, making good decisions in the passing game and leading the Jaguars to wins. After all, it's what he has done before in the cold months of the NFL season.