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Flip talks Foles: "People gravitate toward him…"

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles (7) and center Brandon Linder (65) shake hands prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 in Jacksonville,Fla. (Logan Bowles via AP)

JACKSONVILLE – He'll do what he can early to help the quarterback.

That won't make the beginning of Sunday's game overly unusual for Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, but his decisions may be more noticed than normal.

Nick Foles, after all, is returning.

And DeFilippo said that will give the early drives, plays and calls a sense of added importance.

"You never know with a guy coming back who's been out for so long," DeFilippo said Thursday as the Jaguars (4-5) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (5-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Your goal early-on in the game especially, whether a quarterback's been playing a long time or it's his first game back, is to gain confidence early. We're going to do some things he's comfortable with and try to get some things going early we think he can have success with.

"He's human. He's going to be anxious to get back out there and play as well. We have to make sure we control those emotions and take it one play at a time."

Foles has been a primary topic around the Jaguars this week, with Sunday marking his first start since sustaining a broken clavicle in a Week 1 loss to Kansas City. He signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, so his 11 snaps against Kansas City mark his lone meaningful Jaguars plays.

DeFilippo, the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterbacks coach during the 2017 season in which Foles quarterbacked that franchise to a Super Bowl victory, therefore knows as much about Foles as anyone around the Jaguars.

As such, his media availability Thursday was decidedly Foles-centric – and DeFilippo said he expects his experience with Foles to at least somewhat ease the transition to Foles after eight games with rookie Gardner Minshew II starting at quarterback.

"Our base system is in," DeFilippo said. "Nick practiced all offseason and training camp. Obviously with my past with him, I kind of know what he's good at and things he likes and doesn't like. That layer of cake is off the table. I think it's going to be easier maybe than some other transitions, but we'll see.

"It's all about getting the quarterback comfortable. It's all about protecting him. Everything starts with protection, especially when you have a guy who has been out with an injury."

A look at some of DeFilippo's other thoughts on Foles:

*On his ability to forge relationships with teammates: "Nick is one of the most unique personalities I've ever met, and it's genuine. You meet guys along the way that you're like, 'Aw, man, that's not really genuine. He's kind of faking his way through this thing. Nick is as genuine a person as you'll be around. When you take onus in other people, they tend to gravitate toward you. There are a bunch of different ways he leads. He can listen and he leads by example. When you equate all of those things into his leadership style, I think people naturally gravitate toward him."

*Foles' ability to play well in late-season, pressurized situations: "His faith gives him tremendous ease. That's very genuine. His faith gives him a lot of confidence in himself, confidence in the system and the fact that he believes he's going to go out there and do well. He has a tremendous amount of belief in his teammates. When you have firm belief in yourself and a firm belief in your teammates, you have a chance to go out there and play well."

*More on Foles' ability in pressure situations: "He is in the moment all the time. You talk to guys about taking it one play at a time. He literally takes it one play at a time. He defines short-term memory. If he goes out and has a bad play, he says, 'We're going to move on and get better from that.'''

*On Foles' ability as a deep passer: "No. 1, his God-given arm talent is fantastic. Guys have knack for judging and speeds of receivers. Nick has a great judge of that and that's not easy to do. A lot of times on deep balls, the receiver or tight end is getting knocked around a little bit, so you have to see the second-level release on a defender. Being 6-feet-5-½ or 6-6 helps a little bit, too – to be able to see that. But he does a great job of judging angles and speeds of his targets."

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