By: Hays Carlyon
The Jaguars are now the firm of Coughlin-Caldwell-Marrone … and Foles.
At least, that’s how they should operate.
The Jaguars completed the first step in their quarterback upgrade project by agreeing to a deal with Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles on the first day of the legal-tampering window of free agency on Monday. The deal is reported to be four years, $88 million with $50.1 million guaranteed and can’t be formally announced until Wednesday afternoon when the new league year begins.
So, what now for personnel chief Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone?
The process has really just started. Marrone hired a new offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, who served as Foles’ quarterbacks coach with the Eagles during their Super Bowl triumph after the 2017 season.
Marrone said at the NFL Scouting Combine two weeks ago that the offense wouldn’t be DeFilippo’s, but would be a blend of all the offensive minds (including Marrone’s).
That’s fine, but when building the new playbook there’s a new voice that should be heard above all: Foles.
The Jaguars made a large investment in Foles. The kind of investment that tells you they believe the 30-year-old Foles is a long-term solution.
Foles’ main asset is his knowledge. He’s learned through playing for three different franchises and four different coaching staffs in his career what he can do and what he can’t.
The Jaguars must use that.
Foles isn’t another employee. He should be treated behind closed doors more as a coach.
Now, leadership is also one of Foles’ strengths. That leadership might be compromised if the locker room perceives Foles is above them. He must always be held accountable by Marrone.
However, Foles should be given massive input on all offensive decisions — from the playbook to personnel decisions to game-planning. More importantly, the Jaguars must listen and act on that input.
This has to be a partnership between the front office, coaching staff and Foles.
The way Marrone spoke at the combine of wanting a veteran quarterback tells me he will be open to giving Foles a substantial voice.
“The perfect scenario for me is I like it when the quarterback knows more and everyone else has to catch up to the quarterback,” Marrone said. “I think that’s what keeps people on their toes.”
The Jaguars were smart to make this deal. The days of consistent eight-men boxes should be over.
The last two years tell us Foles will be an accurate, winning passer compared to what the Jaguars are used to having at quarterback with Blake Bortles.
Foles was technically 10-3 as a starter over the last two years. However, that counts a loss against Dallas in Week 17 during the Super-Bowl season when Foles played 19 snaps before the starters were pulled as the Eagles already had home-field advantage clinched.
Foles really started a dozen meaningful games over the past two seasons. He went 10-2, including 4-1 in the playoffs. He faced quality defenses in eight of those games: Atlanta (twice), Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, Houston, the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago. Six of the 12 were road games, five were at home and one was neutral (Super Bowl).
The numbers speak for themselves over that 12-game span.
Foles completed 67.8 percent of his passes, averaging 271 passing yards a game with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He scored two other touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) while losing two fumbles. Foles was sacked 15 times, something he deserves credit for as well.
Foles completed over 70 percent of his passes in six of those games. He posted a passer rating of 100 or better in six of those games. He achieved one of these two marks in eight of the 12 games.
No longer will you see an opposing defense utilize a goal-line defense WHEN THE JAGUARS ARE AT MIDFIELD.
Foles should certainly be an upgrade over Bortles. But it’s up to Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone to maximize that upgrade. Including Foles on all offensive decisions to build the best scheme that suits him should be top priority.
Welcome to Jacksonville, Nick.
Welcome to the firm, partner.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)